ESE625 Advanced Classroom Management Strategies
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Module Two

Reading Three: TV says kids are:

Another View of Human Nature

Some concepts from Eric Berne the author of Transactional Analysis and a popular view of human nature

There is a form of psychology that describes each of us as an adult, parent and child. It is called Transactional Analysis. You may find it interesting to look up some of the information or read about the popular psychology. It applies to this module as a way of looking at what you believe and your expectations of adults and children.

Transactional analysis (T-A) is a theory of personality and a systematic psychotherapy
for personal growth and personal change. As a theory of personality, transactional analysis provides a picture of how people are structured psychologically using the three-part ego-state model. Transactional analysis also provides a theory of communication that can be extended to analyze systems and organizations.

Transactional analysis also offers a theory of child development. The concept of life script explains how our present life patterns originated in childhood. Transactional analysis develops explanations of how we may continue to replay childhood strategies in grown-up life, even when these produce results that are self-defeating or painful.

T-A can be used to help us look at everyday living problems and recognize the internal messages - the things we tell ourselves that allow us to act in certain ways. It is also used in educational settings to help teachers and learners stay in clear communication and avoid setting up unproductive confrontation or mixes roles. It is a useful tool when working to empower students, providing words to discuss changes in power and control.

Key Ideas in Transactional Analysis

1. Ego State Model (PAC Model): An ego state is a set of related behaviors, thoughts, and feelings, a way in which we manifest a part of our personality at a given time. Transactional analysis portrays three ego states: When we use the ego-state model to understand personality, we are employing structural analysis.

Parent - behaving, thinking, feeling in ways that are a copy of one of parents or parent figures
Adult - behaving, thinking, feeling in response to what is going on around me here and now
Child - behaving, thinking, feeling as I used to when I was a child

2. Transactions, Strokes, Time Structuring: I can address you from any of my ego states, and you can reply in turn. This exchange is a transaction. The use of the ego-state model to analyze sequences of transactions is transactional analysis proper. When you and I transact, I signal recognition of you and you return that recognition; any act of recognition is a stroke. People need strokes to maintain their psychical and psychological well-being. When people transact in groups or pairs, they use time in various specific ways which can be listed and analyzed; this is the analysis of time structuring.

3. Life Script: Each of us in childhood writes a life story for himself or herself; most of it has been written by the age of seven, although we may revise it further during adolescence. As grown-ups we are usually no longer aware of the life story we have written, yet we are likely to live it out faithfully. This is our life script. In script analysis we understand how people may set up problems for themselves out of awareness and how they may set about solving those problems.

4. Discounting, Redefining, Symbiosis: Sometimes we distort our perception of reality so that it fits our script; this is redefining. One way to ensure that the world seems to fit our script is to selectively ignore information without conscious intention; this is discounting. As grown-ups we may get into relationships without awareness that replay relationships we had as children with parents. When this happens and the two people function as though they had only three ego states between them instead of six, we refer to it as a symbiosis.

5. Rackets, Stamps, and Games: As children we may notice certain feelings are encouraged while others are prohibited. To get our strokes we may decide without conscious awareness to feel only permitted feelings. When as grown-ups we continue to cover our authentic feelings with the feelings that were permitted to us a children, these substitute feelings are known as racket feelings. If we experience a racket feeling and store it up instead of expressing it at the time, we are said to be saving a stamp. A game is a repetitive sequence of transactions in which both parties end up experiencing racket feelings.

6. Autonomy: To realize our full potential we need to update the strategies for dealing with life that we decided upon as infants. We need to move out of script and gain autonomy. The tools of transactional analysis are designed to help people achieve that autonomy, the components of which are awareness, spontaneity, and the capacity for intimacy.

The Philosophy of Transactional Analysis

People are OK.

Everyone has the capacity to think.

People decide their own destiny, and these decisions can be changed.

- Ian Stewart & Vann Jones
Copyright © 1996

Links to additional T-A information on the web:

Books you may want to peruse:

Games People Play by Eric Berne

Signmates: Understanding the games people play by Bernie Ashman

I'm O.K., You're O. K. By Thomas Harris

T. A. For Tots (and other Prinzes) by Alvyn M. Freed

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