The Classroom De-Gamer

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


A man sitting at a table in front of a computer.


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.

  1. I think the De-Gamer caused me to prepare more for this course than I would have had the De-Gamer not been used.ӬYes_____ No____
  2. I think the De-Gamer caused me to learn more than would have been the case had the De-Gamer not been used.ӬYes____ No_____
  3. 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.ӬYes_____ No______
  4. I believe the De-Gamer reduced psychological Game playing in this class.

Yes____ No_____

I taught Small Business Management and Production Management I in winter 1978 and Business Policy and Production Management II in spring 1978. There were 24 students in Small Business Management, 26 in Production Management I, 35 in Business Policy, and 19 in Production Management II.

Taking the 111 students as a group, regarding question 1, 94 percent said the De-Gamer caused them to prepare more for class than they would have had the De-Gamer not been used. Regarding question 2, 80 percent said the De-Gamer caused them to learn more than they would have had the De-Gamer not been used. Regarding question 3, 82 percent said they believed the De-Gamer caused the learning process to be more fair and just than would have been the case had the De-Gamer not been used. On question 4, 72 percent said they thought the De-Gamer reduced psychological Game playing.

Analysis of the Findings

The questionnaires were anonymous and were placed in an envelope when I was not in the room. The students merely checked the appropriate blanks. There is no Adult reason that the students should not have been straight and Game-free in their transactions in filling out the questionnaire. There is some chance that bias entered into their responses, but it is minimal.

I think the findings from the above samples are valid and reliable. I believe the findings indicate that the De-Gamer does cause students to prepare more for homework assignments and learn more. I believe the findings indicate that the De-Gamer reduces Game playing in class and creates a more fair and just situation.

I think I can make two additional valid and reliable generalizations from an analysis of the findings by course. One is that the De-Gamer works better in “hard” courses than in “soft” courses. The other is that the smaller the class, the greater the De-Gamer’s effects.

Small-business-management and business-policy courses are “softer” than Production courses. By hard and soft, I do not mean easier or less valuable. I see a soft course as one in which there is little that can be proved with hard data, where most of the generalizations or concepts are of the synthetic, inductive-opinion type. A hard course, on the other hand, is one in which many of the ideas, generalizations, and so on can be demonstrated by deductive logic and mathematics, based on the analysis of concrete facts and data.

Small business and business policy courses are, to a large extent, concerned with setting goals and objectives for businesses and determining basic purposes. This activity, a significant part of the business process, necessarily involves primarily intuitive abilities. It is easier for students to just make something up to say in class without reading the case beforehand in these courses than in the more mathematical courses. This is not to say that “just making something up” (i.e., creating something) is not a valuable part of a learning process, and some people are definitely better at doing it than others.

This opens a Pandora’s box of suboptimal OKness in schools. Much Game playing goes on regarding whose and which courses are hard, easy, interesting, boring, useful, and worthless. Some teachers deliberately attempt to make inherently soft courses into hard ones so they won’t be considered easy Santa Clauses. There are hundreds of combinations of hard, soft, easy, hard-to-learn, useful, interesting, and worthless courses. Just because a course is hard, this doesn’t mean it is valuable, and just because a course is easy, this does not mean it is not valuable. I am sure a course in Egyptian hieroglyphics would be hard, but it would be next to worthless for most students.

The De-Gamer and Other Matters in My Human Relations Course

The smaller the course, the higher the probability the arrow will land on a particular student on a given day, and, therefore, there is more pressure on students to do their homework in small classes than in large ones.

The main reason the De-Gamer works is that students know their fellow students know they had an Adult contract to read and study the assigned material and they will lose points and face if caught unprepared. Even the most negative Parent and Child ego states in the room feel there is a positive reason to read and discuss homework under these conditions.

I have evidence the De- Gamer works based on true-false/multiple-choice tests.

During summer quarter 1978, using a standard textbook, I taught a human-relations course for junior-year business majors. There were about forty students in the course. The author placed some short cases in the course textbook to embellish his text material, which consisted primarily of research findings. The cases were too short to facilitate any real analytical work, so we used essentially a Learning-the-Textbook Method.

As it turns out, practically nothing is always true regarding human behavior in the field of business. Most textbook authors in the field present the disjointed findings of behavior researchers from various areas that are qualified almost into nothingness. The author of the summer human relations course textbook, like all textbook writers, also wrote an instructor’s manual telling teachers how to teach using his book. The instructor’s manual, like all good instructor’s manuals, also contained hundreds of true-false/multiple-choice/fill-in-the-blank/matching test questions, complete with answers for the teacher showing on which page of the textbook the answer was found. Since human behavior research studies have not found any answers that apply in all cases, the “answers” to the test questions in the instructor’s manual were of the order that so-and-so found that such and such was almost an answer and that so-and-so said such and such, regardless of whether what he or she said was true or relevant. Various numbers were found in the book from place to place, and lots of declarative sentences were used, which could be turned into test questions.

Since the students and I decided to use the Learning-the-Textbook Method in this course, with true-false and multiple-choice test questions prepared by the author for tests, the students would have to learn what was in the book. It took me some doing to get them to agree to honor this learning contract, especially after the first test.

Most students in the course did poorly on the first test. They got 40 or 50 percent of the textbook author’s questions wrong. Correcting the test in class, I had my instructor’s manual and the textbook page numbers for answers in front of me so that I could look up the answers when students complained that they got points taken off that shouldn’t have been taken off. Many points were taken off that shouldn’t have been, because our management department’s secretary left an answer off my answer key sheet. Consequently when I marked the Xs in the circles on the students’ answer sheets, most of the Xs were for questions the students really got right. To say the least, this set loose a hornet’s nest of Parent indignation and Child anguish in the students. Needless to say, I took all the tests back and corrected the error.

Some students were already disgusted with me in class, and the above incident added more fuel to the fire. I had said very little in class up to that point. I had come in every day and set the De-Gamer up in the center of the room. I used the Orbit Layout. I had made a few comments from time to time. On one or two days, I didn’t say a single word. A student would spin the arrow of the Classroom De-Gamer at the beginning of the period, and the selected student would start a discussion of the assigned material; if I thought the students understood what was talked about in the chapter, I said nothing.

The first test was taken about three weeks into the quarter. By this time, many of the students were beginning to criticize the course in class. They didn’t like the book. The author wasn’t clear, they said. The test questions weren’t fair. They wanted to use some other book or learning method. I replied, “We’ve got an Adult learning contract to do it this way. It may not be any good or fair, but we all agreed to it, so let’s keep it up.”

Any student who disagreed with the learning contract could have dropped the course and gotten another teacher using other methods after the first day of class. We had alternative teachers and methods for the course. At the same time, any student taking severe umbrage to the course could drop it with no prejudice up until midquarter. I told them I thought they were doing pretty well, given the handicaps and unfairness they were exposed to in this course.

They did better on the second test. Two or three students made A’s on this test. They had learned how to answer 90 percent or more of the textbook author’s questions right, according to the answer key taken from the instructor’s manual.

During this interlude, after several invitations for me to lecture by various members of the class, I took a vote on whether I should lecture to them, and the almost-unanimous wish was that I would lecture. I then began to do some lecturing, which consisted of drawing some transactional analysis models on the chalkboard and adding my opinions on human behavior to those the textbook author gave.

I used true-false, multiple-choice questions taken from the instructor’s manual for the third test. My TA and personal-opinion lectures on human behavior were freebies, I said. I told them I hoped they found my lectures interesting and useful. I was amazed at how well the students did on the third test. There were four or five A’s and no grades lower than C. I gave them several positive strokes for their achievement.

I told them that some of them did better on the test than I probably could or would have, and here I was an expert on human behavior. I became a little concerned when I found out how much time some of the A students spent cramming for the test–something like eight hours. It was obvious that many of the students were doing their best to memorize the book for the test.

In the meantime, I had assigned the students the task of writing some cases of their own, taken from their work experience or current field research, which they distributed to each class member. They then discussed these cases using the De-Gamer in the normal manner, i.e., spinning the De-Gamer to start the discussion of each case. After five or so weeks into the ten-week course, they began to discuss their cases along with the textbook.

At the first of the quarter, the students were covering a chapter a day in the book and had to have more material to fill out the quarter. They could discuss one of the textbook chapters in the Adult mode using the De-Gaming process in about fifteen minutes. The textbook, a normal-sized textbook of about five hundred pages, had only about twenty chapters, and we had fifty class sessions of fifty minutes each for the course. The remaining class time was devoted to their written cases and my occasional lectures. Rarely were they turned out early.

Final grades were determined 50 percent by scores on the true-false/ multiple-choice tests and 50 percent by class participation. I always place a heavy weight on class participation–normally 80 percent of the final grade. Most (95 percent or so) of my courses entail the Case Method and no memorization for tests. I normally use case write-ups for tests. Students know–once you tell them what Games are–that playing Games will hurt their class participation grades. This procedure alone precludes a lot of Games.

I use peer ratings on a scale of 0-4 (4 being equivalent to an A) to give students feedback regarding how the class as a whole saw each student. I think it is important that students know what students think about their performance. This teaches students how others perceive them in communication episodes similar to those of the class. This gives students potent Adult feedback that they can use to make decisions about how to communicate.

I have all students write down on a form a 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4 for each class member, corresponding to whether they think the student deserves an F, a D, a C, a B, or an A for class participation. I sum these numbers for each student and write them on the inside of a folded slip of paper with the student’s name on the outside and pass them out in class. Students dividing their scores by the number of evaluators provides them a class grade point average, which is usually valid, in my opinion. Some students are irresponsible, poor evaluators, but most are not. In my courses, it is obvious to the Adults of most students what grades most students deserve for class participation.

I consider it my responsibility to ultimately determine the class-participation grade. I use various criteria. The most important criteria are how well informed the student is; how accurate are his or her observations, analyses, and recommendations are; and what sort of an impact has the student had on the class. Was the student a leader of the class? Did the student motivate the class to learn or have fun or play Games? Was the motivation positive or negative? Did the student listen well? Or did he or she habitually discount the class by sleeping, yawning, slouching down in his or her desk or chair, or whispering covertly to other students?

I tell students at the beginning of the quarter they will be evaluated on the basis of their total participation in class, which includes not only what and how much they say but how well they motivate others by how well they listen. It comes as a surprise to most people that they can learn listening skills, but once they see what these skills are, they are not difficult to learn. A certain amount of effort is required to maintain an effective body posture and control ego states in such a way as to be congruent with what is going on. Since students are supposed to do some work in classes, it is not unreasonable to teach them to control their verbal and nonverbal transactions in order to contribute to the class.

Grading the active listening skills of students causes helping behavior to exist in the classroom among students, which increases learning. Students are graded not only on the basis of what they selfishly learn for themselves to further their own success in life–they are also graded on the basis of how they help their fellow class members learn and grow and be successful, which is, after all, the best way to get successful and make it big in life anyway. This is what successful leaders and managers do in the business world.

Students, trainees, and employees have to be taught (sometimes with much repetition) that being smart and selfishly learning or memorizing material to further one’s own ends is not necessarily excellent. I had some students in the above human relations course who had A averages on the tests but C averages for class participation, and they thus received B’s in the course. There were some students who made C’s on the tests but who had A’s for class participation, who also received B’s.

Students in the human relations course proved that students could memorize material for tests quite well when the Classroom De-Gamer is used and when the teacher does no emphasizing of the material in the text.

One of the most interesting things I learned in that course had to do with how students normally study for tests. The consensus of the class was that in most courses, they did not have to read the book word for word. They felt that most teachers who use the Lecture Method tell students, in one way or another, what will be on the tests. They do this by what they emphasize and spend extra time on and through the body language they use when lecturing about certain things. Thus, students don’t have to pay much attention to the book. They mainly memorize their notes from the teacher’s lectures, which, according to the students in the above class, did not require as much time or work as my classroom structure configuration.

All too often, students’ attitude is “just tell me what’s going to be on the test.”

Another interesting thing about this human relations class is that it was generally too Critical Parent and Adapted Child. There was not enough Natural Child and Nurturing Parent energy in the room. About midway through the course, it became apparent that most of the students had decided to do a good job of memorizing the material for the tests from Critical Parent and Adapted Child, but the class was boring and stiff.

One day, I told them I thought they were a dull group, which they were, relative to most of my classes. From quarter to quarter, semester-to-semester, or year-to-year, most classes will be populated with generally the same percentages of all ego states, but it will sometimes happen that some classes are overdeveloped or underdeveloped in various ego states, depending on the type of early conditioning the students in the class had. In this human relations class, it appeared that 80 percent or so of the students must have been reared in families almost devoid of Natural Child fun and Nurturing Parent helping behavior. It seemed the only thing they cared about in class was their grade. There was little laughter or fun, and almost no one asked for or received any help or support.

A no-stroke economy had been set up, as they had apparently decided that the only thing that counted was memorizing the material for the tests. Another problem in this class was that the natural leaders were these Critical Parent/Adapted Child types. If there had been three or four leaders in the class who were better endowed with Nurturing Parent/Natural Child, the culture of the class would have been less dull.

When I told them they were dull, several of the Critical Parents were concerned. What Critical Parent wants their Adapted Child to be dull? I explained they needed to use more Natural Child and Nurturing Parent during class.

I also explained what Natural Child–Natural Child transactions were, and after I finished this, one shocked, indignant student from Critical Parent blurted out, “What do you want us to do, just sit here and bullshit”

I explained that I didn’t think it would be a good idea for them to spend all their time bullshooting but that it would be a good idea to spend some time bullshooting.

“Not in the classroom!” the Critical Parent snapped back.

“Why not in the classroom?” I replied. I explained that in business school, we were training people to be business managers and salespeople and that out in the real world, if you don’t know how to bullshoot, you won’t get very far. I explained that bullshooting is a valuable skill for managers and salespeople.

Although some of the Critical Parents never bought this idea, most of the Adults got the point. The class began to spend more time in Natural Child pastiming. They started out spending maybe five minutes a day at it; by the end of the course, they spent fifteen or twenty minutes a day at it some days.

Telling the class they were a dull group caused them to be less dull. Near the end of the course, one student said from Adapted Child to my Critical Parent, “Dr. Stapleton, do you still think we’re a dull group?”

“Not as dull as you were,” I replied from my Adult to the student’s Adult.

Some of the students, including the student who asked if I still thought they were a dull group, were pleased that I thought they had made some progress in becoming less dull.

The problem is that if you are trying to be not dull from Adapted Child to get your Critical Parent off your back, because a teacher thinks you are dull (when your Critical Parent wanted you to be dull in the first place), you are still operating from Adapted Child and are not spontaneously and joyfully saying and doing things from Natural Child. Therefore, a certain amount of dullness is still involved. While this class had become more lively than they were, they were still duller than most of my classes.

This lesson about being dull turned out to be very interesting to the students. It seemed to intensify their efforts to memorize the book. Apparently, they decided if they couldn’t be not dull in their communicating in class, then they would at least be good scholars.

An exceptionally intense contest had somehow been set up among the students to see who could score highest on the tests, regardless of how unfair they thought the tests were. It seemed to me that even the least interested students in the class were drawn into this contest. It seems to me this indicates students will work to gain achievement strokes when they are denied Game strokes.

All in all, it was an interesting learning experience. I learned something from the course, and I think the students got something valuable from it. It wound up a generally OK class. Some of the students thought various students in the class and I were not OK, but most of us came out of the course in a winner position, i.e., I’m OK–you’re OK. Some of the students told me they thought the course was one of the best they had had. One student had a 4.0 grade point average going into the course, having made a point to let me know about it during the course. She made a low A on the tests, but had a high C or low B in class participation, and, therefore, she got a B in the course. I haven’t seen her since the course. I had some concerns about how she would react when she received the B and what effect this would have on her OKness, but my job is to enforce the Adult learning contract. I do not have a contract to see to it that 4.0 students keep a perfect average.

What Kind of Teacher Am I?

I don’t show up well on numerical-average faculty evaluations filled out by undergraduates. I am highly appreciated by some students and highly criticized by others.

I appeal to tough-minded students with good Adult ego states. Students who like to play Games don’t like me. I am a competent teacher in the eyes of my colleagues, as evidenced by my promotion to full professor at age thirty-five. I develop good relationships with some students. Each year, I sent twenty or so graduates out into the world who essentially majored in me. These are students who have taken courses with me for most or all of their free electives, from four to six courses, because they like the Classroom De-Gamer and the case method.

One of these students came by to see me four days before graduation. Since he was about to graduate, he decided to tell me how he saw the lay of the land at Georgia Southern. He was convinced I had the right approach to teaching. He wanted to know why more teachers don’t use the case method. “That De-Gamer really works. In a lot of the courses you take, you don’t learn anything,” he said.

He had flunked some sort of exit exam and was in jeopardy of not gradu- ating. He had retaken the exam but didn’t know whether he had passed it the second time. I think this exam had to do with the constitution. At any rate, he thought it was ridiculous that he even had to take the exam. He was down on the test administrator and generally all college administrators. “Here I am, the customer,” he said, “and they act like they’re doing you a favor to let you out of here.”

He was switching back and forth from Victim to Persecutor and was inviting me to Rescue him and join in the Persecution his Parent wanted to inflict on some administrators. This was a good student–with a 2.8 or so gradepoint–and I personally liked him. He was a well-motivated, generally positive, go-getter type. I had observed him in class for five or six courses, and he generally stayed in an OK position, was well prepared, and had good things to say when he talked about the material. I decided to play some first-degree “ain’t it awful” and “let’s you and him fight” (Berne 1964) with him.

I pointed out he could go talk to the college president about the poor administrative performance he had seen, and that regarding the exit exam he had retaken, it might be a good idea to go talk to the “punk” administrator who would grade the thing and see if he passed it the second time.

“I just might do that,” he said. “Just walk right in the president’s office and talk to him like an Adult. You don’t have to come on Child to these administrators, even the president, do you?”

“Not if you’ve graduated,” I said.

“Yeah, well, I think I’ll just go talk to the president.”

I told him I thought that students had an Adult right to evaluate teachers and administrators, that no one was exempt from evaluation, that it goes on all the time everywhere.

“It sure is nice to have some teachers you can talk to,” he said. “There aren’t many teachers around here you can talk to.”

This led him into wondering why I wasn’t more popular with students. “You know,” he said, “these freshmen and sophomores ask me, ‘What’s Stapleton like? Is he hard?’ I tell them, ‘No, he’s not hard, but it’s like having a test every day.'”

This student and I talked for thirty or so minutes in my office. We played some first-degree Games, did some pastiming and some Adult problem solving, exchanged positive strokes, and achieved a higher degree of intimacy than normally exists between students and teachers. We ended our encounter in an I’m OK–You’re OK position.

The student was coming from a position of I’m OK–You’re OK, but some of the administrators and other teachers are not OK. From an Adult standpoint, he was correct and accurately perceptive regarding some of the not OKness he had seen, but his Parent and Child had set up some Games around it. Before he talked to me, he had been more interested in enjoying the drama of the situation than taking some Adult action steps to correct the problem.

Despite his playing some Games, this was still a good student. I told him that I thought he was a good student and that I thought he would do well in his career. He told me about the job he already had lined up in first-level management at a good salary. Everything was rosy except the problem of getting out of the place. Most likely this student will wind up more successful than most graduates. He will make it and be successful and powerful.

Many of my graduates report back that they have made it and are powerful and successful. Rightly or wrongly, they say my teaching helped them. I enjoy teaching and generally find it satisfying. I enjoy engaging in Adult-Adult discussions with students in a relatively Game-free atmosphere. This happens frequently in my classes. What is most satisfying about teaching to me is watching students figure things out and decide to become more capable.


Games vary in degrees of seriousness. As pointed out in a previous chapter, there are first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree Games. First-degree Games are relatively innocuous, and third-degree Games are dangerous. I have encountered only one student whom I consider a potential third-degree Game player. In class, this student glared and glowered and absolutely refused to positively participate throughout the whole course. I gave him the D in the course he earned, giving him credit for his written work and the fact he was there in body. He then unleashed his full arsenal of Games, playing them not only with me but with my department head, the dean, and anyone else he thought could or would help Persecute me. He stopped me in the hall one day and escalated to the second degree. The white-hot anger showing in his face indicated he could have gone on to the third degree. The student did poorly not only in my course but also in several others. He flunked out of school and faded off into the sunset. I haven’t seen the student for several years, but I have some scare whenever I think of him. I hope has he found a niche where he can be productive and has not been a menace to people around him.

Encountering one potential third-degree Game player is not bad. This indicates that the majority of college students are reasonably well-off in an OKness, Game-playing sense. I estimate that 80–90 percent of all college students play first-degree Games in classrooms and offices with teachers. Most students “brownnose” to a certain extent. This reduces the efficiency and effectiveness of learning activities, but it does not result in serious harm. I estimate that 30–40 percent of all college students play some second-degree Games outside of the classroom with friends, family members, and so on, but this still will not put anyone in a hospital. I think college teachers and organizational trainers encounter fewer second and third degree Games among students and trainees than elementary, junior high, or high school teachers. Most of the heavy Game players drop out of the learning process before college and cannot function in most organizations that reward participants on the basis of outward, positive contributions and merit. On the other hand, based on my experience with public school learning situations, third-degree Games are rare in these situations. In general, teachers and trainers don’t need to worry about third-degree Game players in ordinary learning situations. What teachers and trainers need to primarily do about Games is reduce first-degree Games so more learning can take place.




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