“Don’t go for swimming today.” “Why not?” my ten-year-old retorted back. I didn’t have any response, so I meekly agreed for him to go swimming. Was he right in questioning my decision. Was I right in giving up rather than standing my ground or explaining him my decision.

Eric Berne, in his popular book on psychology of human relations: Games People Play, explains the three ego states, Parent, Adult and Child. Every human interaction and conversation can be classified based on these three ego states. When I told my son not to go swimming, I was deciding what my son should be doing, in my parent ego state. My son questioned me in his adult ego. I agreed to his request as I thought it was best for both of us, shifting to my adult ego. The transactional analysis of dissecting social interactions and understanding human behaviour is a favourite pass time for me and my son.

Observations in clinical learning environment was more parent-child interactions between lecturers and learners. I didn’t find any arguments, let alone healthy ones on the clinic floor. “Dr, what do you think, GIC or composite should be good for this tooth?” “I don’t know, both might be good. But which do you think is good for patient’s oral health and the tooth, and why?”. Every conversation should be adult-adult when we practice adult learning in higher education. Such conversation should be the norm for all learners.

Learners in any educational institution are the most important with no powers or authority vested in them. They must carefully navigate through the various power corridors and reach their academic goals. Can adult-adult (AA) interaction occur, especially when the powers don’t have the power to listen. Learners can influence and make an AA interaction.

The adult ego can be cultivated, nurtured, and practiced always bringing it out, in school or home. Awareness, of self, others and surroundings, is the first step. When you know what affects you and how you react, try to explain, and see if your reasoning is valid. Learn good communication skills where you learn to influence and empathize. Reflect on what has happened, especially to you, and learn through active feedback. Assertive and empathic goes to being an adult, needs awareness and practice. Practice and build your muscle.

What type of interaction di you have today with your lecturer?  

I write blogs on Academic Coaching, topics that empower students in their learning journey. If you want to subscribe to email alerts for new content, click here. All blog posts available here.







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