Finally Published!

This is a fun way to teach communication skills to students and to let them learn how to be O.K. for a lifetime!

Let me know how I can assist you in putting What’s in Your Back Pack? to good use!


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Answer these in any order you choose!

Follow up questions for observers of the What’s in Your Back Pack? program for students.

As you were observing the presentation to students (if you were in a different training session or have any other input please answer the questions with relevance to your experience):

Who, in general terms, were the students (or you, include your title) involved in the presentation?

What did you hear or notice that the students (or you) reacted to or learned?

Where were the students (or your training) located?

When (school year, time of day, class hours, etc.) did you observe the presentation?

Why do you think this material is (or is not) important for students to learn?

How do you think you could use this material in your own educational setting?

Thank you for your time!

The Results are in for What’s in Your Back Pack?!

Key Findings:

The key findings for the What’s in Your Back Pack? intervention program are reflective of the fact that there has been no empirical evidence or data collected on the study up to this point. The 108 pre and post surveys that were analyzed using ANOVA statistical measurements revealed the results for the research questions.

In regards to Research Question 1: Is there evidence that students who were exposed to What’s in Your Back Pack? training were able to learn and understand the basic principles of transactional analysis that form the foundation of the program? Specifically, do these students show statistically significant (α < .05) improvement on a measure of understanding from a pretest to posttest assessment of that understanding? 

The findings supported the alternative hypothesis, with p=.042, for the first research question that students exposed to What’s in Your Back Pack? training would acquire the principles of Transactional Analysis upon which the program is based. Therefore the null hypothesis is rejected which states:

H0: There will be no change in levels of conceptual understanding from pretest to posttest among experimental group participants who receive What’s in Your Back Pack? training.

The alternative hypothesis is accepted which states:

H1: The experimental group will show a statistically significant improvement in conceptual understanding from pretest to posttest.

In regards to Research Question 2: Does the What’s in Your Back Pack? program facilitate significantly (α < .05) enhanced social skills, positive pro-social attitudes, and a willingness to change behavior in a sample of high school students?, which refers to the analysis of scores on the 12-item Adaptive Communication Scale (ACS) as the dependent variable being weak, but statistically significant at p=.042. The control group surveyed showed a pronounced decline on the ACS and the experimental group, while showing a decline from pretest to posttest, was less pronounced. The decline in both groups may be attributed to limiting factors such as mood, lack of interest, or negative attitudes towards the What’s in Your Back Pack? program. Though weak, the alternative hypothesis is accepted which states:

H1:  The experimental treatment group will show significantly improved self-reported levels of social skill, positive pro-social attitudes, and willingness to change behavior from pretest to posttest, while the control group’s self-reported levels of these characteristics will remain unchanged from pretest to posttest.

The null hypothesis is rejected, which states:

H0: The control and experimental treatment groups will not differ in self-reported social skill, positive pro-social attitudes, or willingness to change behavior.

Scores on the ACS could go as high as 60 and the experimental group was at 48.7 at pretest and dropped to 48.1 at posttest. It is possible that students got fatigued and maybe a little annoyed at taking the same survey twice and they wanted to “take it out” on someone by expressing more negative attitudes at posttest.  It appears though, that the experimental group had a better, more cooperative attitude about it than did the control group, which showed less decline. The What’s in Your Back Pack? training may have contributed to this atmosphere of tolerance and patience. The control group, with ACS scores of 50.7 at pretest to 48 at posttest, in contrast, shows students may have expressed their emotions by giving significantly lower responses to the ACS at posttest than they had given at pretest. However, the experimental group did indicate that they valued the What’s in Your Back Pack? handouts and might use these as a future resource. There was a majority of the experimental group student participants, 55% who strongly agreed, that they would keep and possibly refer to the materials again in the future. Another 30% of student participants somewhat agreed that that would use the resource again. This evidence provided strong endorsement for the perceived value and significance of the What’s in Your Back Pack? program. This in turn, lends validity to the What’s in Your Back Pack? program with empirical research, as a purposeful study for secondary students who are learning to transition into college and careers.

Implications for policy and practice are that secondary educational systems are currently looking for secondary school programs with curriculum or interventions that fulfill directives for the conative development of students from federal, state, and district initiatives (Snow, Jackson, & National Center for Research on Evaluation, 1992). Conative constructs are those ideas that students can act upon, obtain by learning, use as intended positive responses, and can be reflected upon for future motivation and controlling oneself (Marzano & Heflebower, 2011). The policies of school districts and the practices of teachers in the educational environment can use the What’s in Your Back Pack? intervention program as a viable, affordable resource for educators and students to benefit from the use and practice of transactional analysis theory based on the findings that interventions that are timely, easily implemented, measureable, and cost effective for school systems can benefit the overall school culture (Kravas & Kravas, 1974), thus the impetus for developing and implementing a program like What’s in Your Back Pack?.

Professional Developments and Student Presentations Available!

What’s in Your Back Pack? is a prevention and intervention program created over the past 15 years while being employed as a prevention specialist, substance abuse counselor, and secondary education teacher. What’s in Your Back Pack? has been presented at a master teacher seminar, suicide prevention conferences, and is used as a classroom management tool by the researcher. As a prevention specialist, I saw students struggling with conflicts in relationships, glorifying drugs, and lacking the overall communication skills that would help them achieve success in school and in postsecondary settings. As a high school teacher, I currently witness first-hand, the self-discipline issues that students struggle with in the classroom and their difficulty in changing their actions, behaviors, and attitudes to consistently become academically and socially acceptable in their educational environment. I am currently a doctoral student on the last part of the journey to draw data!

What’s in Your Back Pack?

Education and intervention programs for students, teachers, administrators, parents and other stakeholders in school communities are imperatives to curb negative social communications, including cyber-bullying. Why not promote a useful program for all and a tool for teacher’s toolkit for classroom management?

What’s in Your Back Pack? is an intervention program created to assist secondary education students in developing their communication skills and abilities to make changes in their views, if they choose, and transactional analysis (TA) can help them choose well. Professional developments for administrators, teachers, and student presentations are available. The theory behind the WIYBP intervention program is based on transactional analysis, specifically using the basic tenets of the three ego states of personality Parent-Adult-Child (Berne, 1961), the I’m OK; You’re OK (Harris, 1969) model, and how students can effectively make changes in their attitudes, speech, and behavior to affect their underlying values (Clarke, 1984). If secondary education students experience the benefits of transactional analysis as a protective factor that they will improve their communications skills leading them to building positive relationships. This in turn could help them make better decisions and reduce negative risk factors in their life journeys.