Managing the classroom is an important part of efficient teaching. This research study aims to introduce the Good Behavior Game in the classroom to assess its effectiveness in the promotion of positive behavior and curtailing disruptive behavior among students. The strategy is an empirically-based group behavior management technique. Many studies have shown the usefulness of the Good Behavior Game in discouraging disturbing and disruptive behavior in students in a variety of school settings.
The objective of this study is not solely to reinforce ‘good behavior’, instead it aims to reinforce voluntary control over attention and reduce the susceptibility to accidental negative reinforcement from peers in the classroom. Implementation of Good Behavior Game on the Students of First Standard Introduction Class room management is one of the most important aspects of Educational psychology and is closely related to motivation, respect and discipline.
This term is used by teachers and psychologists to describe the process of running a classroom without disruption despite of disruptive behavior by the students. It also implies the prevention of behaviors that are disruptive in nature. Disruptive behavior is linked with subordinate or lesser scores on high stakes tests and low academic success overall (Wentzel, 1993). Brophy elucidates the term classroom management as a teacher’s efforts to create and uphold the classroom environment as an efficient place for teaching and learning (Brophy, 1986).
Maintaining the classroom environment involves teacher’s efforts to provide activities for students that are both inside and outside of the classroom setting. This might include academic instruction, management of student interactions and supervision of student behavior (Wright, 2008). A study conducted by Merret and Wheldall advocated the point that for some teachers controlling behaviors of multiple students at the same time proves to be a difficult task.
The study showed that teachers were unhappy and concerned about the level of disruptive behavior in their classrooms, because they were unaware of the knowledge of behavioral classroom management theories and strategies to address behavior in order to put into practice specific behavior modification strategies (Merrett & Wheldall, 1978). The research conducted by Wesley and Vocke showed that less than half of teacher pre-professional education programs (37%) necessitate students to complete a course designed to formally address classroom management approaches, techniques, and assessment of the methods (Jones, 1996), (Wright, 2008).
Disruptive behavior projected by students is seen as a major concern while providing optimal learning and teaching environment. Many strategies and interventions have been used in order to tackle this issue and provide better class environment that is well managed. Effectiveness of behavior modification has been proven through research and behavior analytic approaches have been employed in many settings (Bellack & Hersen, 1990). These approaches address various target behaviors that include verbal, motor and combination of both motor and verbal behaviors.
These approaches have been implemented in classrooms by teachers as they are the ones maintaining the environment of the class. Our research study focuses on how effective such strategies can be, when used by the teachers, to manage disruptive behaviors and maintain the protocol of the class. The stress is on the teacher as he or she is the constant variable in the classroom (teachers do not change or alter their behavior everyday) and can act as an effective behavior change agent.
There is a growing need for efficient interventions that effectively deal with the behaviors of multiple students at the same time. Doing so is necessary because it ensures optimal learning and teaching environment that ultimately results in a more developed and aware students with better capability to make sense of the world around them. The Good Behavior Game The Good Behavior Game is a strategy used to manage behaviors in the classrooms that employs giving rewards to children for avoiding disruptive behaviors during instructional times. The class is divided into two teams
and a point is given to a team for any inappropriate behavior shown by one of its members. The team with the lowest number of points at the Game’s end each day wins a group reward. If both teams keep their points below a predetermined level, then both teams share in the reward. The program was first used by Barrish, Saunders, and Wolf in 1969. Since then several research articles have confirmed that the Good Behavior Game is an efficient means of increasing the rate of desired behaviors while decreasing disruptive behaviors in the classroom.
The Good Behavior Game sees the classroom as a community. The teacher is essential to the Good Behavior Game, because he or she determines the rules for becoming a successful student and member of the community and also sets whether each child succeeds or fails. The Good Behavior Game improves the accuracy with which the teacher delivers and the student receives these rules, and by doing so improves the teacher-student interaction and the child’s chances for success.
Initiation of Good Behavior Game in classroom settings shows that the better behaved children were observed to influence and socially integrate the children who behaved less appropriately thus promoting healthy competition inside the class among students. Rationale This research aims to introduce the Good Behavior Game in the classroom to assess its effectiveness in the promotion of positive behavior and curtailing disruptive behavior among students. The strategy is an empirically-based group behavior management technique.
Many studies have shown the usefulness of the Good Behavior Game in discouraging disturbing and disruptive behavior in students in a variety of school settings. The objective of initiating the Good Behavior Game is not solely to reinforce ‘good behavior’, instead it aims to reinforce voluntary control over attention and reduce the susceptibility to accidental negative reinforcement from peers in the classroom in order to develop an atmosphere of positive peer pressure, reduced inattentiveness and prevention of disruptive, disturbing and destructive behaviors in the class.
Type of Experiment The study conducted includes elements of an observational study and a quasi experiment. Initially the students were observed and the frequency of desirable and undesirable behaviors occurring in the class was noted down. After the initial assessment, once the rules of the game were employed in the classrooms, the study was continued as a quasi experiment where we gauged whether the implementation of the game has any effects on the students’ behavior. Work Plan The experiment was conducted over a one month time period.
The breakdown and time schedule is given below: For the first three days the classrooms were visited and the children and the teachers were observed; how the teacher deals with disruptive behavior in general, how often the students indulge in undesirable behavior, how other students react to the misbehaving students etc. For the next three weeks, the Good Behavior Game was employed in class after initial assessment with the help of the teacher. It was essential for the success of our study that the game continued at all times.
Although we were not present in the school the whole time during the three week period, we visited the classes thrice a week to check up on the implementation and to observe if the game was having the hypothesized effects. We allocated two days at the end of the study to meet with the teachers and head of the school to debrief them about the study and get feedback as to how they received it and whether they, as professionals, saw any merit to implementing the game full time in their school.
Good Behavior Game: Our use of the technique on First graders The school chosen to implement the study on was The City School, Kindergarten III, Gulshan Branch. The school comprised of students of the first standard. The technique was implemented in five steps. We modified the certain aspects of the Good Behavior Game: we had four groups in a class instead of two groups, the reward was given after every two weeks instead of every day and the game was played continuously through the school time instead of certain specific periods.
There were two major reasons to implement the study on the first grade: First being that the first grade is a major transition for both the students and their families, that is, the first grade is generally the first place where all the children interact and that at this level behavior problem can be easily identified. Secondly, the first-grade classroom is well-suited for interventions, like the Good Behavior Game, that focuses on inculcating the role of students in classrooms. First grade is the first setting outside the home where many children learn the social and behavioral skills they will
need to succeed in school. The first grade is also a good setting in which teachers can be provided with certain techniques to manage the class efficiently. Before the steps were employed in the classes a detailed observation of three days was carried out inside the classes in order to gauge the following aspects: The level and the amount of disruptive behavior; What is considered as bad or disruptive behavior; General time duration of the class; The time wasted in dealing with the disruptive behavior; Total time spent teaching every day; Attitude of the teachers and the level of student-teacher interaction.
After the observation was made, the steps to incorporate the Good Behavior Game were put into action. The steps are as follow: Step One We discussed with the class teachers of the five sections if they were comfortable with employing Good Behavior Game inside their classes. The whole purpose of the study was explained to them and they were asked to decide whether the game should be played in certain periods or at all times. We explained to them that to see the hypothesized effects it should continue at all times so they agreed to implement the game full-time in their classes.
The teachers were also asked how they defined disruptive behavior and what behaviors they would want to decrease in their students. Then the views of teachers and our observation were incorporated together in order to decide what behaviors are to be labeled as bad or disruptive. The list of behavior that we decided upon is: Leaving one’s seat without permission; Talking out loud during study time; Name calling; Fits of uncontrolled laughter; Speaking without raising one’s hand; Step Two The other step was to decide upon proper rewards that would be given to the winning teams.
This was time consuming because the rewards should effectively motivate students to take part in the game. Thus six students from every class were interviewed about what would motivate them or push them to study harder and to avoid bad behaviors. This was an interesting part of the study as we got to know the perception of children about what they considered a gift or a reward and that how very important is it for them to win it. There were two rewards that were finally decided with the help of the teachers, students and our observation. The rewards that were decided are: Movie day Longer recess
Step Three The third step was to introduce the Good Behavior Game to the class. A day before the game was to start it was announced in the assembly that a game would be starting in every section of the school. The students were told that they would be judged on the basis of their behaviors. The rules of the game were explained to the students which was and the identified bad behaviors were asked to be curtailed in order to win the rewards. The teachers were then asked to divide the class into four groups. For the sake of building camaraderie among students they were allowed to name their groups.
The students were told the rules of the Good Behavior Game which were: The teams that would engage in bad or disruptive behaviors would earn a black star; In order to win the teams had to earn as few black stars as possible; If the number of stars for all the teams stays below six then they would all share the reward with the winning team. Step Four The fourth step was to put the game into effect. During those times that the game was in effect in the classroom, the teachers were asked to continue their usual instructional practices.
The only change in the routine for them was to note and publicly record any black star earned by either of the teams. Teachers were given a chart to put stars on. The teachers were also asked to praise the students when they tried to avoid bad behaviors and tried to exhibit appropriate behaviors. Step Five The final step of our study was to observe the classrooms during the course of the game. Detailed observations were again made. We visited the school five times during the two weeks in which the Good Behavior Game was in
action. Observations about the following were made: The level and the amount of disruptive behavior; General time duration of the class; The time wasted in dealing with the disruptive behavior; Total time spent teaching every day; Attitude of the teachers and the level of student-teacher interaction; Level of students’ interest in the game. Observations and Findings There was a noticeable drop in the level of disruptive behavior in the classroom as many students associated bad behavior with a black star, which was undesirable.
While on the other hand, many students started behaving nicely to earn a golden star. Both positive and negative reinforcement was in action. The students learnt how to function as a member of a team. Level of cooperation was observed to rise within the students. It was observed that the teachers were less stressed and their moods were more pleasant when compared to before. Few children were scolded on the basis of disruptive behavior. Better academic attainment was seen, especially because teachers used the time made available for instruction and learning.
Female students had much lower rates of disturbing and disruptive behaviors when compared to male students. The reward at the end of the game was seen as a major factor motivating the students to avoid engaging in disruptive behavior. The total teaching time per day in the classes increased around a good 20-30 minutes when compared to before. This happened because the time wasted in dealing with various disruptive behaviors decreased, resulting in more time available for the teacher to teach. It was observed that the age of the teacher also played a key role in the level of disruptive behavior in the classroom.
The younger the teacher, the more the level of bad or undesired behavior in the class. The protocol for the discipline set by the school management was enhanced as more students tried to avoid those behaviors that were not allowed in the school rules. It was observed that after the initiation of the Good Behavior Game the environment of the class became more cheerful and students were more excited to learn. This meant that Good Behavior Game enhances the learning environment. It ensures maximum student-teacher interaction to provide better opportunities for the students
to learn more openly. Good Behavior Game is more effective when compared to punishment in order to reduce undesirable or disruptive behavior in the class. Promoted healthy competition inside the classroom. Better behaved children were seen to influence and integrate the children who engaged in disruptive or inappropriate behavior. It was noticed that such classroom management technique enhances the teacher-child relationship. A student more easily identifies with his or her teacher and is less afraid to express what they think.
The level of class participation increased. Students were actively engaged in learning and receptive to what their teachers taught them. Benefits of Good Behavior Game The Good Behavior Game is easy to implement and can benefit every student in the classroom. It cuts down on classroom distraction and benefits everyone and can help to create a positive and comfortable learning environment. To base the behavioral expectations for the Good Behavior Game on the school-wide expectations may facilitate students to generalize their appropriate behaviors across other settings.
The Good Behavior Game is affordable and easy to put into practice. It does not involve extra class time to play. It is ideal for use in individual classrooms, throughout the school, or even throughout entire school districts. Its implementation is so easy that it can be brought into play effectively in almost every setting in the school, and even on the bus. The Good Behavior Game engages parents and caregivers in classroom activities too, so as to make sure that the effect of the game is not limited to the classroom but also other places where the children go.
The Good Behavior Game works well with children whose first language is not English, which means that it can be implemented almost everywhere and that the scope of Good Behavior Game is not limited to only those children who are fluent in English. Also, the behavioral strategies in the Good Behavior Game support group based reinforcement for self-consciousness of disruption and aggression. Not only is the scope of this game limited to troublesome children but the game also extends as an effective resource for youth with special needs.
Limitations Current developments in educational and psychological fields encourage positive approaches to improve children’s behavior. The Good Behavior Game remains an important tool for teachers struggling to manage classroom behavior yet the limitations remain. The study that was carried out had several limitations. The results that came out from our current observation showed that the students could have been at a good behavior because of the presence of outside observers in the classroom instead of the Good Behavior Game.
Examination of the data suggested that this effect, if present, remained at a consistent level whenever observers were present in the classroom during the examination periods. However, this effect might not be present when observers were not present in the classroom, hence this effect might not be consistent throughout the study. To rectify this, future research should be implemented in a way that observations could be conducted in a less obvious method so as to give a natural and consistent result throughout the examination period.
The teacher of the class thought that the preparation and involvement in the Good Behavior Game would require extra time and ingenuity and that extra burden would be placed on her, since she had also to prepare regular lessons. Due to this, the teacher was quite reluctant in helping and assisting us in the observation. Another problem, that was perhaps not as serious, concerned teacher observation of behaviors. No signaling system was used. The teacher had to become alert and talk about the behaviors in addition to continuing to conduct regular classroom activities.
Spotting the target behaviors did not appear to be difficult for the teacher except when she faced the blackboard or talked to individual students. However, it should also be noted that since the teacher knew the students for a couple of months, for her, some behaviors would be quite normal and she might not have been able to identify them in an unbiased manner. Another problem that was faced was the time constraint. The observations were only carried out for six days which are inadequate to reach proper results in Good Behavior Game.
Because the Good Behavior Game is typically played during instructional time, there is a decrease in disruptive behavior during this time, that is, the class is quieter so the teacher can be heard so the results might not be the ones if the game is played in another setting. Also it can be argued that classroom environment focuses on appropriate skill development rather than reductions of troublesome behavioral excesses. Conclusion Over all the Good Behavior Game is an excellent approach towards classroom management. It enables the teacher to control the level of disruptions inside the class and to engage the students in a healthy activity.
During the course of our research we analyzed that the early years in childhood education matter a lot and if proper attention at this stage is not given then these behavioral problems might become ingrained in the children and result in pathology as they grow up. GBG uses the concept of reward instead of punishment which is a more efficient approach to reinforce behavior. Through this the students not only learn to avoid disruptive behavior but in the mean time also learn appropriate manners and the art of functioning in a group. References