Good Behavior Game
Good Behavior Game (GBG) is a classroom-based behavior management strategy for elementary school that teachers use along with a school's standard instructional curricula. GBG uses a classroom-wide game format with teams and rewards to socialize children to the role of student and reduce aggressive, disruptive classroom behavior, which is a risk factor for adolescent and adult illicit drug abuse, alcohol abuse, cigarette smoking, antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), and violent and criminal behavior. GBG is structured around four core elements: classroom rules, team membership, self- and team-behavior monitoring, and positive reinforcement of individual team members and the team as a whole.
In each 1st-grade classroom, the teacher assigns all children to one of three teams with an equal number of girls and boys; aggressive, disruptive children; and shy, socially isolated children. The assignments are made on the basis of an initial 10-week observation period at the start of the school year. Basic classroom rules of student behavior are posted, and the whole team is rewarded if team members commit a total of four or fewer infractions of the classroom rules during game periods. For the first 3 weeks, GBG is played three times a week for 10 minutes each time during periods of the day when the classroom environment is less structured and the students are working independently of the teacher. Game periods are increased in length and frequency at regular intervals; by mid-year the game is played every day. Initially, the teacher announces the start of a game period and gives rewards at the conclusion of the game. Later, the teacher initiates game periods without announcement and defers rewards until the end of the school day or week. Over time, GBG is played at different times of the day and during different classroom tasks, so the game evolves from being highly predictable in timing and occurrence with immediate reinforcement to being unpredictable with delayed reinforcement. The children continue to participate in GBG through 2nd grade, where they are assigned to new classrooms and new teams. Training is required for the teachers who implement the intervention as well as for their coaches, who work with, support, and supervise them.
Schools that implement the program may choose to extend GBG beyond 2nd grade. In the study reviewed for this summary, children received GBG over 2 years, in 1st and 2nd grade, and their class assignments in 1st grade remained the same in 2nd grade.
Please note that the versions of the Good Behavior Game administered by American Institutes for Research (AIR) and PAXIS Institute are each considered Evidence-based Programs for DBHR Prevention Grantees.