I’m OK – You’re OK: An Update on TA in Schools

by Giles Barrow

TA: Education; Schools

I’m OK – You’re OK is arguably the most enduring touchstone of Transactional Analysis (TA).

Founded by Eric Berne in the 1960s, popularised during the 1970s, many readers may recall a distant reference to TA in their professional training or a personal awareness course. Some readers might have come across references to TA more recently, and most readers may be surprised to discover that children and young people around the country are discovering about TA in classrooms. This article provides an account of how TA is experiencing a renaissance in the UK and that the central arena for this resurgence is in education.

For those readers unfamiliar with TA, it is a humanistic psychological framework that, like many such perspectives, offers ways of understanding;

  • how people grow up
  • how people communicate
  • how people see the world

The distinctive features of TA are the core beliefs underpinning the theoretical concepts. To summarise these are:

  • that people are essentially OK, hence the ‘I’m OK – You’re OK’ catch-phrase
  • that everyone can think; make sense of information, consider options and make choices
  • that anyone can change, learn and grow

For the most part TA has been practised in the context of psychotherapy and counselling. Most practitioners in the UK work in a clinical/talking therapy context. However, there have always been practitioners utilising TA in organisational and educational contexts. Over the past five years there has been a noticeable increase in the rate and range of education professionals using TA concepts in their work.

Over the past couple of years I have been involved in sharing TA ideas with hundreds of educators around the country. As a qualified Transactional Analyst in the field of education I am often invited to contribute to professional development both in terms of formal training events, as well as on-going mentoring and team teaching arrangements. Importantly this work has been in both mainstream and specialist contexts. Some examples of TA being used in special schools and units include the following:

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Other articles on TA in education:

     Introducing a Meta-Metaphor for Developmental TA

Introducing a Meta-Metaphor for Developmental TA

by Giles Barrow

TA: Education; Schools; Staff development

This article presents, for the first time, some thoughts and ideas about the nature of developmental TA. I think that they are intriguing and I welcome other’s views about them.

BACKGROUND

I have been a member of a training group for the past couple of years. The group comprises practitioners working in the field of education and specifically behaviour support work. A recurring theme in our discussions has been to positively re-frame core TA concepts. In other words, as part of our work we routinely set about using TA ideas to account for
individual/organisational potential, promote growth and, importantly, to make TA widely accessible.

An integral dimension of our approach has been to consider how best TA ideas can be applied in non-problem-focussed ways. In other words, to seek out means of ‘mainstreaming’ TA as an approach for schools to use in developing policy and practice.  This maybe quite different from other, more familiar applications of TA. For example, common practice has been to use TA concepts in interacting with children and families identified as vulnerable. Whilst the work of the group includes this type of application, making TA a tool accessible to all remains the priority. In practice, this has led to a range of activities involving directly teaching TA to whole class groups, training staff teams in schools and nurseries and running general parent workshops based on TA.

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Other articles on TA in education:

     I’m OK-You’re OK: An Update on TA in Schools

Yeastings: Postmodern TA

by James R. Allen

TA: Postmodern TA; Postmodernism; Philosophy

In the right atmosphere, dough quietly begins to rise. Eventually, it becomes recognizable as bread. As a young child in my grandmother’s kitchen, I found this process magical. As a young adolescent, I discovered the even more magical delights of fermentation.

Something similar is happening in the world of transactional analysis. There are a number of quiet but amazing pockets of transformation. In this article, I wish to highlight three:

     Multiplicity and Unity

     Science and Hermeneutics

     Reflexivity and Detached Reflexion

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