PAX Good Behaviour Game

NSW Department of Education has introduced the internationally-recognised PAX Good Behaviour Game (PAX GBG) to our students, families and school communities.

PAX Good Behaviour Game

PAX means peace, productivity, health and happiness, and is what the PAX Good Behaviour Game helps create and strengthen in each classroom.

PAX GBG consists of proven behavioural strategies used daily by teachers with students. The 10 evidence-based and trauma informed strategies build self-regulation in children, strengthen peer networks, reduce impulsivity and teach prosocial decision-making in children. The ‘peaceful’ classroom environment supports learning, wellbeing, participation and confidence.

PAX GBG develops students who can be fully attentive and engaged in learning so teachers can use their time and resources to teach. Schools using PAX GBG report:

  • Increased time for teaching and learning
  • Increased attention to and completion of academic tasks
  • Engaged learners
  • Improved learning outcomes including reading scores
  • Reduction in off-task and disruptive behaviours.

Schools can register their interest to use PAX GBG in their classroom, at any time.

Northlakes Public Schools has found this trauma-informed program is making a difference for students across the school

A case study with Nortlakes Public School

Bethany Harvey– Year 1 Teacher

I was finding that my students were showing a range of different difficulties in the classroom and the playground. We heard about the PAX Good Behaviour Game and determined that it would be the perfect program for our school. And I have been absolutely shocked at how well they have adapted and learnt through the PAX Good Behaviour Game.

Wellbeing is critical in the classroom.

Belinda Talbot – Special Education Teacher

It’s really important that students do feel like they are known, valued and cared for, which is the whole crux of the wellbeing framework, if you can get that right then the kids will engage with their learning.

Larry Micevski – Principal

We were acutely aware of anxiety and behaviour escalating…

Kelly Wootten – Kindergarten Teacher

…And now the introduction of PAX is really going to support those kids. Implementing the PAX Good Behaviour Game is extremely easy.

Bethany Harvey– Year 1 Teacher

It worked perfectly with the programs and the strategies we already had at our school, it just blended in perfectly with what we already doing.

Larry Micevski – Principal

The PAX Good Behaviour Game, it seemed to be a natural transition to the next step but also an easy way to introduce a trauma informed practice based in research.

Kelly Wootten – Kindergarten Teacher

We introduced beat the timer because we were really unorganised in the morning. If we would beat the timer, get our bag unpacked and get on the floor before the timer went off. Straight away we would get a wacky prize.

Bethany Harvey– Year 1 Teacher

Today’s wacky prize is drumming on your desks.

Belinda Talbot – Special Education Teacher

It created a lot of space for our students to be able to then focus on their learning because they walked into a room knowing what to expect.

Larry Micevski – Principal

There was a year 4 student we just could not engage, constantly leaving the room, walking around, no effort independently to do any written work whatsoever. And as the teacher started telling him about the game, that particular boy piped up and said, well what this game? When do we get to play it?

Belinda Talbot – Special Education Teacher

The strategies that you use are pretty simple, its just a way of bringing it all together, have fun, smile, laugh and then be sitting back down ready to continue on with our learning. The vision poster it sets the children up for the expectations of what you are looking for, so we did that out as a class and it gave every child the opportunity to have their own voice.

Larry Micevski – Principal

We are catering to the individual child’s needs much better than we ever have in the past.

Bethany Harvey– Year 1 Teacher

I am finding that the students behaviour is much better than its ever been before. The PAX Good Behaviour Game has created a really supportive environment in my classroom. When we ae actively playing the Good Behaviour Game I am looking out to see which students are showing spleems, which is a made-up word for negative behaviours, so instead of embarrassing the student or pointing out that there is negative behaviour, I can simply just say I can see a spleem.

Larry Micevski – Principal

What we’re working towards is that self-regulation, children valuing their learning, knowing that its something important that will hold them in good stead in the future.

Bethany Harvey– Year 1 Teacher

I am finding that students are being able to self-regulate their emotions, they are more resilient and persistent.

Kelly Wootten – Kindergarten Teacher

The PAX Good Behaviour Game just compliments my style of teaching, I feel that I am more in tune with what my students are feeling and thinking and as a result it has led to a happier classroom.

Belinda Talbot – Special Education Teacher

Its not just about learning to be a student in the classroom its teaching them how to be better member of society really. That’s just not a skill for school, it’s a skill that we all need in life.

Image: Snapshot of Good Behaviour Game benefits

How does a game increase self-regulation?

PAX GBG is presented as a game. Like all games there are rules or guidelines and rewards for doing well.

But it is a game where everyone can succeed in their own way.

It teaches children to have voluntary control over the attention circuits in the brain and increases the ability to self-regulate when excited. Additionally, PAX GBG reduces students’ reaction to accidental reinforcement for negative behaviour from peers and adults.

PAX GBG is not a curriculum, nor a system of “consequences” for bad behaviour. Instead it helps children learn to work together for mutual benefits. Hundreds of schools in the United States, United Kingdom and Europe use PAX GBG daily in their classrooms.

The team at Killarney Vale Public School demonstrate PAX GBG

A guide for using PAX GBG in the classroom. Produced with Killarney Vale Public School

Jeanette Dillon – Principal

We had a lot of students who didn’t have a great deal of self-worth, engagement was a problem. We needed something specifically for the classrooms.

Pamela Quinn – Student Learning and Support

What I liked about the PAX Good Behaviour Game, is the changes that it would bring to children. A kernel is anything that influences a positive change in behaviour. Lining up and transitioning into the classroom. The teacher talks about PAX hands and Feet…

Rachael Beamster – Teacher

PAX hands and feet, ‘I love your hands by your sides, PAX Leaders’.

Pamela Quinn – Student Learning and Support

…From the beginning so it gives predictable limitations around what behaviour is to be expected.

Rachael Beamster – Teacher

To make sure we have PAX Hands and Feet, you will need to tuck your chairs in and you need make sure you are very careful with your friends.

Pamela Quinn – Student Learning and Support

PAX Leaders not only does the adult identify leaders but children are identifying themselves and identifying other [can’t understand] promotes co-regulation which means everybody is working together. It reduces conflict and negative emotions. PAX Vision is fun to mentor in a creative and nurturing environment. The teacher works with the students to collaborate again. What do we want to see more of and what do we want to see less of. The vision is used throughout the day throughout activities to remind children of just how we are going to operate in the classroom. PAX quiet, using the harmonica to bring a quietness to the classroom, so once the teacher plays with the harmonica…

Rachael Beamster – Teacher

‘Well done Yellow, eyes are to me’

Pamela Quinn – Student Learning and Support

That children just put their fingers up for peace and it’s great to see all children stop and know exactly what to do. PAX Quiet is about creating a nurturing environment. PAX Voices – is used to set expectations around voice volume.

Rachael Beamster – Teacher

‘When we are using our voices in the classroom we need to use all different types of voices. So when we are using a 0cm voice, we don’t have any sound, can you say hello to me when we are using a 0cm voice? Very good, now. When we are using a 3cm voice it is a whisper, can you say hello to me in a 3cm voice? Very good, we might use that one when we are sounding out a word or when we are asking a friend for a pencil. And sometimes we need to use a normal talking voice and that is a 1m voice, can you please say hello to me in a 1m voice? So that’s good, so that might be when we are in group work or if we are talking to our friends just normally. And then we have a 3m voice, now we use a 3m voice when we are outside or we are doing something a bit funny in the classroom, can you all say hello to me in a 3m voice?

Pamela Quinn – Student Learning and Support

PAX Sticks – The names are chosen randomly, if they are wanting a leader or someone to go and do a task or be in charge of something. So children know that they have an opportunity for their name to come up.

Rachael Beamster – Teacher

Think about words, we are going to need describing words, Levi – good one, Ellie, Isaac, Rocco

Pamela Quinn – Student Learning and Support

They see straight away there is fairness, everybody has to sit in that moment and they learn to self-regulate and again that is a great opportunity to learn about those emotions that come and go.

Ok-Not ok is visual that can sit on the desk. The red is not ok and the green is ok. While the teacher is moving around the room, it is a non-verbal prompt for the students to check their behaviour.

Beat the Timer – increases on task behaviour because children have to finish a task within a given time.

Rachael Beamster – Teacher

I am going to give you too much time here. Show me your PAX Leaders, go, we beat the timer! My goodness, alright we better pause it.

Pamela Quinn – Student Learning and Support

They know that they’ve got to work towards that timer and it reduces problematic behaviour because aren’t lingering or waiting around

Granny’s Wacky Prizes – is all around self-regulation and celebrating that self-regulation, its really about celebrating the PAX in you, it can just be used randomly, very quickly within the day, pulling a silly face, standing on the spot and jumping for 10 seconds.

Rachael Beamster – Teacher

All tables have three or less spleems so we are going to do a Granny’s wacky prize – we have a 30 second nap, that’s it pencils done and you may have a nap on your desk for 30 seconds, off you go.

Pamela Quinn – Student Learning and Support

The most important point around the Granny’s wacky prizes is that its intrinsically motivated, they are in a moment of excitement because they have had a win and they’re doing something different in the class and then it just ends.

Rachael Beamster – Teacher

Very good Yellow. Let’s keep working.

Pamela Quinn – Student Learning and Support

The ability to chop and change, Granny’s wacky prizes does that very well.

Tootles- is a made up word, the opposite is tattle and tootle is again reinforcing and celebrating where children have demonstrated self-regulation in a classroom. Students can also identify a student that they think deserve a tootle.

Student

For trying to complete sentences on her own

Rachael Beamster – Teacher

Oh well done Harper, good on you. We’ll have to give that to Harper, there you go, thank you for being a pax leader.

Pamela Quinn – Student Learning and Support

It’s recognition for being a PAX person.

Jeanette Dillon – Principal

I’d just like to see it go throughout so that all the students know about PAX and everybody wants to be a PAX leader. PAX is peace, productivity, health and happiness. And those four elements are what we want to see in our classroom but beyond the classroom its what we want our young students to have as they move into high school and then further life.

Pamela Quinn – Student Learning and Support

PAX Good Behaviour Game is life-long learning for children, I see that it empowers children, I see that it gives them opportunity to be accountable and make smart choices around their own learning and their own behaviour. They learn to be a part of a team, they learn to be a leader, their recognised and they are acknowledged.

This model shows the five key outcomes derived by using the 10 PAX GBG strategies,  being self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision making, social awareness, and relationship skills
Image: The 10 strategies that form the PAX Good Behaviour Game combine to develop and strengthen social emotional competencies

Our goal for NSW schools

The department is supporting schools to introduce PAX GBG into its whole school community: staff, students, teams and families.

Schools can register their Expression of Interest online and bring the PAX Good Behaviour Game to their students.
Image: PAX GBG places students at the centre

PAX Good Behaviour Game supports ...

Self-regulation

The PAX Good Behaviour Game builds self-regulation in children by creating shared relational frames with adults and peers. By reinforcing desirable behaviours and inhibiting unwanted behaviours, children develop agency and command to delay gratification and reduce impulsivity. This increase in pro-social behaviour and self-regulation paves the way for remarkably better academic, behavioural, and lifetime outcomes. PAX also develops and strengthens peer networks to improve relationships now and in the future.

Trauma-informed Care

PAX GBG creates a nurturing environment in every school and classroom allowing children to develop pro-social behaviours in a safe setting. It provides teachers with research-based strategies shown to support development and prevent the re-traumatisation of children who have been exposed to trauma. These strategies allow students to co-create consistent expectations and summon peer support in creating a nurturing classroom environment.

Tiered-Intervention

The PAX Good Behaviour Game provides teachers and other educators with practical tiered-intervention strategies to implement in the classroom. These strategies work together to reinforce expected, pro-social behaviours while inhibiting problematic behaviours. PAX GBG ensures evidence-based strategies and expectations for every student and uses data-driven decision-making to provide multiple levels of support for students with more intense needs. PAX GBG creates for a unified, multi-tier approach that establishes consistent expectations throughout the school.

Social and Emotional Learning

The PAX Good Behaviour Game promotes social and emotional learning in all students. By engaging students in co-creating expectations and developing shared relational frames, children can begin to recognise their own thoughts and feelings as well as regulate their own emotions and behaviours. PAX GBG also improves awareness for the needs of others and helps to improve peer support by developing and maintaining positive relationships with others.

Virtual training

We will be starting with the PAX GBG virtual online training, as there are no certified PAX GBG trainers in Australia and travel between countries may not resume for some time.

Training is 9 hours real-time online training with an accredited trainer in the US. The program is delivered in three 3-hour sessions over 3 consecutive mornings.

This is the foundational training of PAX GBG that explains how to implement strategies. Teachers learn the importance of a nurturing environment and its effects on trauma, self-regulation, and mental health outcomes throughout the lifespan.

Teachers also learn about the role they can play in supporting the students that are most affected by environmental influences, and how PAX strategies integrate seamlessly into existing tiered-intervention and additional school-wide procedures.

For this training, teachers receive a PAX Kit that provides all the materials necessary to carry out PAX GBG in their own classroom including the PAX GBG Manual; and will discuss how to use the PAX Up! App for implementing PAX GBG in the classroom.

PAX Partners support class teachers training in PAX GBG with support on using the program with students and provide advice on progress and implementation.

In NSW we are seeking to train PAX Partners who can support teachers in up to four schools each.

Supporting new or existing PAX GBG teachers

PAX Partners must be trained in PAX GBG. They are then trained in the PAX Partner program where they learn skills to support new or existing PAX GBG implementation.

PAX Partners learn expert coaching and support skills in order to effectively guide teachers as they improve their implementation. Partners also learn fidelity monitoring and use of data to alter implementations and collaborate with schools to generate the best outcomes possible from the PAX GBG implementation.

Virtual training

As with PAX GBG, the NSW PAX Partners will undertake training online. Training for PAX Partners will start in Term 3, 2020.

The training is 15 hours of training in total (9 hours of PAX GBG and an additional 6 hours of PAX Partner-specific training)

This instruction and the PAX Partner Manual provide PAX Partners with the skills to support teachers in initiating and maintaining PAX GBG implementation in their classroom by promoting the step-by-step integration of PAX strategies with fidelity into their classroom procedures.

Partners also receive instruction on using the PAX Up! App for data collection and analysis as well as guiding classroom implementation. This training also includes strategies for troubleshooting and additional assistance for teachers with students who continue to struggle.

PAX Tools is a collection of trauma-informed, evidence-based behavioural strategies for families and communities to promote the development of self-regulation of the children in their lives.

PAX Tools Facilitators

An individual who completes this training will become a PAX Tools Community Educator, with the skills necessary to implement community-based training in PAX Tools. Community Educators receive a manual, as well as training materials for each PAX Tool. They also receive access to ongoing technical assistance and professional development through PAXIS.

Candidates for this training might work in a number of roles including, but not limited to: community level prevention awareness/education, mental health, community health education, and mental health services, community support.

Carers who participate in PAX Tools seminars receive materials they need to effectively use PAX Tools with children, including the PAX Tools App.

Facilitator training in PAX Tools will start towards the end of 2020.

PAX Next Steps Teacher Training provides additional professional development in PAX strategies for teachers trained in PAX GBG.

This program will be introduced into NSW schools once travel between countries re-open.

Refreshes PAX GBG skills

PAX Next Steps Training provides teachers who have previously been trained in PAX GBG with enrichment and extension activities. This 1-day, in-person professional development training expands on the lessons from PAX GBG Initial Teacher Training and the original PAX Manual. This training explores advanced strategies and methods in the PAX Manual that are not provided in the initial teacher training.

This training also gives teachers access to a certified PAX Trainer to help troubleshoot implementation issues they may face in the classroom. It also provides explicit instruction for using PAX Kernels in tiered instruction and for students who have been exposed to trauma.

Teachers also receive training on utilising the PAX Up! App for implementing and monitoring their use of PAX GBG in their classroom. PAX Next Steps Training provides in-depth instruction for differentiated application of many traditional PAX strategies to create expertise in implementing PAX GBG.

PAX Heroes Teacher Training provides professional development focused on children in need of intense supports for teachers trained in PAX GBG.

This program will be introduced into NSW schools once travel between countries re-open.

In-person training

PAX Heroes Teacher Training is for teachers who have previously been trained in PAX GBG with new variations and strategies for students who continue to demonstrate behavioural difficulties.

This 1-day, in-person training delivers explicit instruction in using the PAX Heroes Manual to identify areas of student difficulty and refining PAX GBG implementation to support those needs. It provides instruction in analysing activities and areas of difficulty for students and selecting targeted Tier 2 and Tier 3 strategies to improve their behavioural and academic performance.

Teachers also receive training on utilising the PAX Up! App for implementing their use of PAX GBG in their classroom. This training also provides explicit instruction in behaviour observation and analysis useful in identifying useful strategies in and out of the classroom.

PAX Heroes Teacher Training provides instruction in integrating PAX Heroes assessment, analysis, and strategies with existing clinical assistance and school-wide procedures.

Evidence-based research

PAX GBG is a set of proven instructional and behavioural strategies used daily by teachers and students in the classroom – delivered as a fun, easy-to-follow game.

This universal prevention approach improves classroom behaviour and academic outcomes, and has been shown to provide a lifetime of benefits for every child by improving self-regulation and co-regulation with peers.

Since 1999, PAX Good Behaviour Game has been used in thousands of classrooms in 38 states across the USA, Canada, Ireland, Estonia and Sweden. A limited trial was run by Black Dog Institute and the results have led the NSW Department of Education to commission this program for its schools.

PAX GBG is the official Good Behaviour Game® used at Johns Hopkins University for ongoing research. Read more about the science behind the program.

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