The classroom-management approach known as the Good Behavior Game had “a moderate to large effect” on reducing a wide range of challenging classroom behaviors, including aggression, talking out of turn, and straying from the task at hand, according to aof 22 studies on the program.
Though multiple approaches and variations of the approach exist, the game basically works like this: The class is divided into two teams of even size. Teams get debits for breaking classroom rules and credits for behaving well. At the end of the week or day, the group with the best behavior and/or fewest infractions gets a reward, such as a chance to line up first for lunch or candy.
“The [Good Behavior Game] allows teachers to engage in several behavior management strategies including acknowledging appropriate behavior, teaching classroom rules, providing feedback about inappropriate behavior, verbal praise, and providing rewards as reinforcement,” writes Andrea Flower, an assistant professor of education at the University of Texas at Austin and her co-authors in an article published last month by the Review of Educational Research, a peer-refereed journal.
Flower and her colleagues found that the game was equally effective in elementary and secondary schools. It tended to work best when teachers let students choose rewards and was especially good at improving the behavior of students who had problems staying on task or controlling aggression.
A version of this article appeared in the July 10, 2014 edition of Education Week as Classroom Management