Use of the Good Behavior Game in classrooms dates back to the late 1960s and early 1970s. Since then, it has been used with great success in a variety of settings, across different ages, and with different types of students. Most recently, it was identified as an evidence-based strategy for educators. Thus, it is one that can and should be used by teachers to help manage classroom behaviors.
In the Good Behavior Game, students work together to obtain reinforcers. This is different from some reinforcement systems where each child receives reinforcers for his or her own behavior. In the Good Behavior Game, the teacher divides the class in to teams. After reminding the teams about the rules, the teacher then proceeds to count the number of challenging behaviors in the class. The goal is to have the lowest number of behaviors at the end of the day. Each day, the team with the lowest points wins a reward. At the end of the week, the team with the most daily wins is eligible for a special award.
At the start of any good behavioral program, reinforcement rates are high and reinforcers are often tangible. Over time, these are faded to lower rates of reinforcement and intangible reinforcers such as social attention (e.g., displaying winning team members’ names on the bulletin board or in the parent newsletter). Teachers can supplement the Good Behavior Game with other types of learning such as direct instruction regarding positive behaviors, negative behaviors, and social problem solving.
For additional information, readers may turn to:
- Elswick, S. & Casey, L. B. (2011). The good behavior game is no longer just an effective intervention for students: An examination of the reciprocal effects on teacher behaviors. Beyond Behavior, 21, page 36-46.
- Sweizy, N. B., Matson, J. L., & Box, P. (1992). The good behavior game: A token reinforcement system for preschoolers. Child and Family Behavior Therapy, 14, 21-32.
- Lannie, A. L., & cCurdy, B. L. (2007). Preventing disruptive behavior in the urban classroom: Effects of the good behavior game on student and teacher behavior. Education and Treatment of Children, 30, 85-98.
We hope this has helped our readers. If you would like a copy of the Good Behavior Game manual, you will find it here.
Teachers, have any of you utilized this approach in your classroom? Behavior analysts, have you taught teachers to use it? Parents, do your kids mention playing this game at school? How do their teachers manage classroom behaviors?