An internationally proven innovative classroom behaviour game – tested in Irish Primary Schools – has reported a 43% reduction in children’s off task classroom behaviours.
29% of the pupils scoring with the most challenging behaviours before the programme moved into normal range after the 12 week delivery period. All children benefited, but the children with more difficulties benefited the most.
The results are from the piloting of a highly regarded international programme called the PAX Good Behaviour Game which was trialed for the first time this year in Irish schools.
It was delivered among first and second class children in Dublin and the Midlands last Spring through Preparing for Life (Northside Partnership) and the Midlands Area Partnership.
Many teachers said it was the most effective intervention that they had ever used in the classroom.
To deliver the programme, teachers are trained in the approach and then apply it within the ongoing classroom work with support from a coach who visits them in the classrooms.
The Good Behaviour Game is based on promoting desirable behaviours with proven games and fun activities which improve classroom behaviours. Children are divided into teams which are rewarded for delivering positive behaviours which support the classroom activity. All teams are competing against themselves and all teams can win.
Behaviours are described in a novel language and the pupils are rewarded in ways which are imaginative and appealing. The games take place while the students are engaged in regular school work. They can last from a couple of minutes up to 45 minutes, are played at least three times a day, and increase in duration over time.
Extra hour of quality classtime gained
Internationally the programme has been shown to gain an extra hour of quality teaching and learning classroom time each day that is otherwise lost to minor disruptions and distractions.
The Good Behaviour Game has been developed internationally using 30 years of research and evidence on supporting children’s behaviour and learning.
Preparing for Life Programme Manager, Noel Kelly described the findings as highly significant for Irish schools: “It’s very exciting that this programme has proven so successful in Irish schools. The classrooms became calmer, children took positive control of their behaviour and teacher / pupil relationships were positively impacted.”
Denise Carter, a Teacher at Our Lady Immaculate Junior National School in Darndale, Dublin said she went from having a challenging class to having highly motivated children: “Every single child in the room got the PAX programme and was engaged. We started to get much more done in the classroom with far less disruption and time wasting. Class line ups can be done in seconds rather than minutes by using the Good Behaviour Game.”
Encouraged by the positive results Preparing for Life and the Midlands Area Partnership are training a further 40 teachers this autumn and another 40 next January. This will enable the programme to be delivered in 100 classrooms benefitting over 2,000 pupils annually.
The Founder of the PAXIS Institute in Arizona Dr. Dennis Embry, who helped bring the Game to Ireland, highlighted the strength of financial return of the intervention: “The most recent cost benefit analysis on the Good Behaviour Game by the Washington Institute for Public Policy has shown a social return of $57 for every $1 invested, making it possibly the highest return on investment for any schools based programme worldwide.”
Midlands Area Partnership Manager Conor Owens reflected on how well the game fitted into Irish schools: “The high impact achieved in this research shows that the programme is a very good fit for Irish classrooms. I would encourage its use for the benefit of as many children and families as possible. It is beneficial for all children, not just those with behaviour challenges.”
The initiative is funded under the Area Based Childhood (ABC) Programme by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Atlantic Philanthropies.
To download the full research report, click here: Evalution of the PAX GBG Pilot Study in Ireland – Final Report
To download the shorter Summary Briefing Document, click here: PAX GBG – Summary Briefing Document