PAX Good Behavior Game Initiative

What is PAX Good Behavior Game?

  • The PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX GBG) is a set of techniques to be used in the classroom to help students gain the skills they will need to be successful in the future, and prevent negative outcomes like substance abuse.
  • It is based on multiple “gold standard” studies of classrooms and teachers in the US, Canada, and Europe, and it has been shown to be an effective strategy for protecting children from lifetime mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders while also increasing lifetime academic success.

What does PAX GBG do?

  • When PAX is provided to children in the primary grades it has been shown to prevent opiate addictions by reducing early childhood predictors of opiate use and abuse.
  • Specifically, only 2.6% of young people who participated in PAX Good Behavior Game in first grade started using cocaine, crack, or heroin, compared to 7.3% of the children who were not randomly assigned to receive PAX Good Behavior Game in first grade. The difference is a 67% lower use rate of opiates (Furr- Holden et al., 2004).

How does it work?

  • PAX teaches children to self-regulate, to work together for common goals, and to focus on a positive future they co-create with others. These are core cognitive, emotional, and behavioral skills required for peaceful, productive, healthy and happy lives.
  • PAX is not a classroom or behavior management program, but it has the benefit of making any classroom easier to manage.
  • PAX reduces teacher and staff stress, and brings back joy into the classroom every day—while increasing time for meaningful instruction and learning.
  • With adult facilitation, students create a word-map of what they would see, hear, do, and feel more of and less of in a wonderful classroom.
    • The map is posted in the classroom, and is revised over time to keep it fresh and applicable.
    • The things that would happen more often in their wonderful classroom are called PAX (Peace, Productivity, Health and Happiness).
    • The things that would happen less often are called spleems.
  • Children quickly become able to discriminate automatically between PAX behaviors and spleems, an ability that is vital for learning sustainable self-regulation (a key to future success and decreased risk of substance abuse issues).

When is PAX GBG used in the classroom?

  • The PAX Good Behavior Game occurs at any time in the classroom. It can be used during math or reading, during transitions, or even in the cafeteria.
    • Teachers ask students to predict what the PAX and spleems might be for the upcoming activity.
    • The class is divided into three to five teams, and the teacher announces and records each team’s spleems on a chart (without mentioning any individual student’s name). The teacher also points out PAX behaviors. At the end of the game time, every team that has three or fewer spleems is rewarded with a “prize” such as a minute of dancing around or a 10-second giggle fest.

As both classroom adults and students become adept at PAX, students develop:

  • an ability to turn on their attention voluntarily,
  • to go up and down in excitement levels without getting off task;
  • to handle distractions and disappointments well;
  • to cooperate for common goals with other people of differing abilities and skills;
  • to notice and be mindful of the daily joys they have created by their cooperation.

THE PAX GOOD BEHAVIOR GAME A Teacher’s Kit for Creating a Productive, Peaceful Classroom