TA is a theory of relationship, communication, personality and human behaviour developed by Dr. Eric Burne in 1950s. This awareness program helps people make positive changes in the patterns of interactions and communication to reach the potential growth and maximum personal development. This therapy is designed to help people overcome the obstacles that do not allow achieving the life aspirations. TA consists of many concepts that help students, counsellors, social workers, therapists, educators, psychiatrists, organisational consultants and other people to bring the required positive change and make personal growth.

Transactional Analysis offers teachers a way of understanding what is happening on a social level within the classroom and within themselves. It provides a map, a framework to start hanging experiences on.

Here’s a list of a few features of transactional analysis and how they can be used by teachers;

  • Ego States – once understood, teachers can figure out what’s going on with their thinking, feeling and behaviour in the classroom and choose to respond rather than react.
  • Transactional Analysis Proper – teachers can use their knowledge of TA proper to keep irate children (and parents!) placated, cut dead unproductive conversations and make their points seem clear during lessons.
  • Strokes – the understanding of the stroke economy makes the poor behaviour of some children more comprehendible and encourages teachers to be positive in their classrooms as a method of behaviour management. I’ve done a lot of work with students explicitly discussing strokes and the stroke economy, they find it fascinating too!
  • Games – there are many games played out in the classroom including “Do Me Something”, Wooden Leg”, “If It Wasn’t For You” and “Now I’ve Got You, You S.O.B”. If teachers understand them they can avoid them or at least be aware when they enter into them and avoid the negative payoff for themselves (for example, that common feeling of hopelessness that teachers can feel, or feelings of anger) and for the students.
  • Scripts – understanding our own script helps us language why we wanted to be a teacher in the first place and gives us permission to pursue our vocation from a positive place.

By learning Transactional Analysis a teacher can gain more insight to how human relationships tick. They can make more sense of the behaviour they see around them and put it into a wider context. Transactional Analysis provides a language to explain why certain classroom management techniques are going to be more effective than others and gives permission for the teacher to retain humanness in the face of adversity.

Transactional Analysis brings greater awareness into the classroom and with this comes options and the possibility of doing things differently.

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