The Good Behaviour Game (GBG) is classroom management strategy that encourages good behaviour and co-operation in children in primary school classrooms. Teachers initiate Good Behaviour Games by dividing children into small teams that are balanced for gender and child temperament. Teams are rewarded with points for good behaviour in short games that take place several times a week.
GBG has initial evidence of improving children’s behaviour, reducing substance misuse and sexual risk taking.
How it works (Theory of change)
- GBG assumes that success in school is supported by good behaviour such as sitting still, paying attention and obeying classroom rules.
- Appropriate classroom behaviours can be encouraged through incentives that are made explicit through the Good Behaviour Game.
- In the short term, children behave better in their classroom.
- In the longer term, children learn more at school, demonstrate more prosocial behaviour and engage in less antisocial behaviour, including substance misuse.
What happens during delivery?
How is it delivered?
GBG is delivered by teachers in the classroom setting to a class of children.
It consists of a game based on a set of classroom-wide rules encouraging good behaviour and discouraging aggressive or disruptive behaviour
The Good Behaviour Game is implemented in three distinct phases:
- Phase 1. Children and teachers become familiar with the basics of the game by playing it intermittently within the classroom for 10-20 minute periods.
- Phase 2. The teacher introduces to settings beyond the classroom and children may play it for longer periods to target key behaviours.
- Phase 3. Children are encouraged to generalise GBG’s principles outside of the context of the game. Teachers accomplish this by beginning the game with no warning and at different times, so students are constantly monitoring behaviour and complying with classroom rules.
What happens during the intervention?
GBG is not a curriculum, but a strategy that can be applied to a variety of classroom activities (e.g. writing a story, drawing a picture, doing maths). The teacher divides the classroom into teams of four to seven pupils and introduces the game with the following four rules:
- We will work quietly
- We will be polite to others
- We will get out of seats with permission
- We will follow directions.
The teacher then monitors the teams for rule breaking. Good behaviour and team co-operation is also rewarded with praise, stickers and badges. The winning team(s) is announced at the end of the game with a high amount of praise.
What are the implementation requirements?
Who can deliver it?
- Practitioners of the programme should be teachers of children aged six to ten.
What are the training requirements?
- Training in GBG consists of a two-day initial on-site course, followed by a one and a half day readiness visit by a GBG trainer.
- During delivery, technical assistance provided by phone and email with GBG trainer. Implementation materials and training manual assist delivery of programme.
How are the practitioners supervised?
- Practitioners are supervised by licenced GBG supervisors who provide three afternoons of training and ten classroom supervisions per year.
- Supervisors feedback to practitioners with plans for improvements when required.
What are the systems for maintaining fidelity?
- Practitioner supervision
- Fidelity scoring.
Projected Costs and Benefits
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GBG has initial evidence from a randomised controlled trial conducted in the United States, Holland and Belgium. The US trial demonstrated significant long term improvements in children’s behaviour.
Dolan, L. J., Kellam, S. G., Brown, C. H., Werthamer-Larsson, L., Rebok, G. W., Mayer, L. S., Laudolff, J., Turkkan, J. S., Ford, C., & Wheeler, L. (1993). The short-term impact of two classroom-based preventive interventions on aggressive and shy behaviours and poor achievement. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 14, 317-345.
- Reduced aggressive and shy behaviour among boy and girl first graders (teacher and student rated).
Kellam, Sheppard G., George W. Rebok, Nicholas S. Ialongo, and Lawrence S. Mayer. 1994. “The Course and Malleability of Aggressive Behaviour From Early First Grade Into Middle School: Results of a Developmental Epidemiologically Based Preventive Trial.” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 35,259–81.
- Continued improvements for the most aggressive boys in the original study (teacher reported).
Kellam, S. G., Brown, C. H., Poduska, J., Ialongo, N., Wang, W., Toyinbo, P., Petras, H., Ford, C., Windham, A., & Wilcox, H. (2008). Effects of a universal classroom behaviour management program in first and second grades on young adult behavioural, psychiatric, and social outcomes. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 95, 5-28.14 year follow-up.
- Reductions in alcohol misuse (self-report)
- Reductions in antisocial behaviour (self-report)
- Reductions in smoking and illicit drug use (self-report, males only).
Kellam, S. G., Wang, W., Mackenzie, A. C. L., Brown, C. H., Ompad, D. C., Or, F., Ialongo, N. S., Poduska, J. M., Windham, A. (2014). The impact of the Good behaviour Game, a universal classroom based preventive intervention in first and second grades, on high risk sexual behaviours and drug abuse and dependence disorders in young adulthood. Prevention Science, 15(Suppl 1), S6-S18.
- Reductions in risky sexual behaviour reported at ages 19-21 (self-report, males only).