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Crown Buildings, Bancyfelin, Carmarthen, SA33 5ND,
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Stephen Bigger

Stephen Bigger PhD began his career as a secondary teacher and from 1981 was a lecturer in education in teacher training institutes, in Scarborough, Oxford and Worcester, ending as head of department and head of research in education.

Over that period he produced three books in collaboration with colleagues, made chapter contributions to others and wrote many articles and book reviews.

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Publications by Stephen Bigger

Living Contradiction

Describes how one teacher lost himself in his rigid commitment…

Author Blog

Why Our Coercive System of Schooling Should Topple

December 26 2017

Why Our Coercive System of Schooling Should Topple by Peter Gray click here asan application of John Holt's view of children's learning.

1. Denial of liberty on the basis of age.
Education now intrudes on time with family and friends when reallearning takes place, for example through hobbies.
2. Fostering of shame, on the one hand, and hubris, on the other.
We rely on a system of incessant testing, grading, and ranking of children compared with their peers. We thereby tap into and distort the human emotional systems of shame and pride to motivate children to do the work. Children are made to feel ashamed if they perform worse than their peers and pride if they perform better. Shame leads some to drop out, psychologically, from the educational endeavor and to become class clowns (not too bad), or bullies (bad), or drug abusers and dealers (very bad). Those made to feel excessive pride from the shallow accomplishments that earn them A's and honors may become arrogant, disdainful of the common lot who don't do so well on tests; disdainful, therefore, of democratic values and processes (and this may be the worst effect of all).

3. Interference with the development of cooperation and nurturance.
Restricts teamwork and discussion.

4. Interference with the development of personal responsibility and self-direction.
The above restricts opportunities for young people to become active and responsible members of the community and also leads to ....

5. Linking of learning with fear, loathing, and drudgery.

6. Inhibition of critical thinking.

7. Reduction in diversity of skills, knowledge, and ways of thinking.

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The Joy and Sorrow of re-reading John Holt's How Children Learn

December 26 2017

The Joy and Sorrow of re-reading John Holt's How Children Learn, by Peter Gray, click here

•  Children don’t choose to learn in order to do things in the future.  They choose to do right now what others in their world do, and through doing they learn.

•  Children go from whole to parts in their learning, not from parts to whole.

•  Children learn by making mistakes and then noticing and correcting their own mistakes.

• Children may learn better by watching older children than by watching adults.

• Fantasy provides children the means to do and learn from activities that they can’t yet do in reality.

• Children make sense of the world by creating mental models and assimilating new information to those models

Inserted into 1983 edition (p.126): “The spirit of independence in learning is one of the most valuable assets a learner can have, and we who want to help children’s learning at home or in school, must learn to respect and encourage it.”

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