- I think the De-Gamer caused me to prepare more for this course than I would have had the De-Gamer not been used. Yes_____ No____
- I think the De-Gamer caused me to learn more than would have been the case had the De-Gamer not been used. Yes____ No_____
- I believe the De-Gamer made the learning process in this class more fair and just than would have been the case had the De-Gamer not been used. Yes_____ No______
- I believe the De-Gamer reduced psychological Game playing in this class.
By Richard John Stapleton Here is a way to make students more responsible in class and citizens more responsible for elections, by teaching leadership and democratic skills, through learning by doing, by giving everyone a chance to study facts, think, make decisions, and be leader. What follows is a revised reprint of Chapter Eight of my book Born to Learn: A Transactional Analysis of Human Learning, as shown at https://www.amazon.com/Born-Learn-Transactional-Analysis-Learning/dp/0692584331. The Classroom De-Gamer is a “roulette” device I developed that enables teachers to get feedback from students regarding homework assignments without giving written tests every day and without setting up the Drama Triangle by calling on students to answer specific questions using a nonrandom selection process. The Classroom De-Gamer is constructed of a three-quarter-inch-thick circular board that is twelve inches in diameter, with numbers affixed to allow for varying class sizes. I have published articles describing the device in Research in Education (1978), the Transactional Analysis Journal (1979), and The Organizational Behavior Teaching Review (1990). To use the De-Gamer, I like to have students position their desks in an Orbit Layout. I place the De-Gamer in the center of the room. I spin the arrow the first time myself. This is only time I will spin the arrow, barring absences of students. All students have a contract to read before class whatever has been assigned for the day. Most days in my classes the assigned reading is a business case laden with facts and numbers. If the De-Gamer catches a student unprepared s/he loses a whole letter grade from the final course grade. I spin the arrow the first time myself. This is only time I will spin the arrow, barring absences of students. The student the arrow lands on has the responsibility of talking about the assigned material. If specific questions are asked of De-Gamer-selected students, the questions are announced to the class as a whole before the spinning takes place. The student initially pointed out spins the arrow next, and so it goes throughout the course. The last person pointed out spins the De-Gamer next. If the room must be set up in the sometimes-unavoidable row-and-column layout, each student is assigned a number corresponding to numbers on the De-Gamer, and whoever’s number the arrow lands on has the responsibility of saying what’s what. Advantages of the De-Gamer The primary advantage of the De-Gamer is that it enables a teacher to get concrete feedback regarding material learned as part of the Adult learning contract without setting up the Drama Triangle. In a classroom in which the De-Gamer is used properly, all ego states in students can see and feel that the teacher is not manipulating who gets called on for ulterior reasons. All ego states in students can see and feel that they are not being Persecuted or Rescued by a teacher playing a Game when they are called on to respond to classroom requirements and challenges. Perhaps the major advantage of a De-Gamer is that it cathects Adult ego states, especially if group members are instructed to answer the following Adult Questions if randomly selected: What is/are the problem/s? What are the alternatives? What do you recommend? While no one should be taught to use the Adult ego state all the time, teaching business students to use the Adult ego state is especially appropriate, since, in the long run, being able to see current reality for what it is and assess and predict probabilities of recommended actions happening relatively accurately is a major determinant of satisfaction in competitive business environments. Another advantage of the De-Gamer is that it brings about a more efficient utilization of class time. Less time is spent rehashing what the students know by emphasizing already-learned points. Another advantage is that the De-Gamer focuses the attention of the class upon the Adult learning contract. Since less energy is now being spent playing Games, more energy is available for learning what is actually supposed to be learned. I find that the De-Gamer also reduces the amount of time I spend on rituals and pastimes. Disadvantages of the Classroom De-Gamer The De-Gamer is at first threatening to many students. Ironically, while actual Persecuting or Rescuing has been banished from the classroom, some students psychologically view the probabilistic selection process facilitated by the De- Gamer as Persecuting or Rescuing. Some students are apparently so used to partiality of some sort (i.e. Games) being shown by teachers when they are called on in class that they are threatened when singled out by the obviously impartial De-Gamer. I have participated with students as a student when the De-Gamer was used. When the De-Gamer landed on me, even though I was the teacher and should have known the material, I had an uneasy feeling. I felt as though some metaphysical force had caused the arrow to land on me. Students tell me they feel some fear when the De-Gamer is spinning at the start of the class. When asked “what do you feel when the De-Gamer is being spun?” the almost-unanimous answer was “anxiety.” Some of the students thought the anxiety (or “adrenalin,” as one of them put it) helped them learn. I teach college students. The reactions of high school, junior high, or grade school students (or learners anywhere, in homes, businesses, organizations, etc.) may be different to some degree. I doubt the difference is extensive. Based on my experience, I believe the De-Gamer will work at any level. Due to the adrenalin factor, perhaps the De-Gamer should be used less frequently at lower educational levels. There are a number of creative approaches that innovative teachers can use in conjunction with the De-Gamer at all educational levels to alleviate anxiety. Evidence the De-Gamer Works I have acquired data indicating the effectiveness of the Classroom De-Gamer. At the end of the winter quarter 1978 and spring quarter 1978, I passed out the following questionnaire to my students.