The first ever pilot of the PAX Good Behaviour Game in Irish classrooms took place from January to May 2015. It was brought to Ireland by Preparing for Life, Northside Partnership and the Midlands Area Partnership (HSE Midlands Area, Athlone, Portlaoise & Carrick-on-Shannon Education Centres) under the expert guidance of programme designer Dr Dennis Embry from the PAXIS Institute, Arizona. The initiative is funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies and The Department of Children and Youth Affairs under the Area Based Childhood Programme (ABC).

21 teachers from DEIS schools in Dublin and the Midlands took part in the 12-week pilot programme which was evaluated by Professor Mark Morgan and Dr Margaret O’Donnell from St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra.

Following training with Dr Embry in January 2015, each of the teachers implemented the programme in their classes with the support of a mentor who visited on 4/5 occasions during the 12 week pilot period. Teachers were also provided with a resource pack to support high quality implementation.

  • The evaluation results from this pilot were impressive with the researchers finding:
  • An average reduction of 43% in off task behaviours across the 21 classrooms
  • Highly significant reductions in the incidence of hyperactivity
  • Highly significant reduction in emotional symptoms
  • Highly significant increase in pro-social behaviours
  • Highly significant reduction in total problem scores
  • Almost one third of the children reported by teachers as displaying challenging behaviours at the start of the study were reported as showing behaviour within normal ranges.

Qualitative feedback from teachers was also hugely positive noting reduced disruptive behaviour incidences – even for the most challenging pupils, increased pupil focus and attentiveness, a happier classroom learning environment, more positive relationships between teachers and pupils with many teachers experiencing a new focus and enthusiasm for teaching.

To read more about the pilot evaluation, please click here.