Methods: The program was evaluated by a quasi-experimental study without control group, which assessed aggressive, social isolation and collaborative behaviors. The study used mixed methods: a questionnaire adapted from TOCA (Teacher Observation of Classroom Adaptation), which was answered by teachers about their students’ behaviors and summarized in five measures: aggression, disruptive behavior, engagement in activities, socialization and self-control; and focus groups with teachers about their perceptions of the results of Jogo Elos. The subjects were 34 teachers from 10 public elementary schools (1st to 5th grades), as well as 1,455 students taking part in the pre-test and 758 students in the post-test. 624 students were paired for pre-post analysis using Linear Mixed-Effects Models to account for the hierarchical data structure.
Results: Pre-post analysis of the five measures computed from TOCA suggests an improvement in students initially classified as aggressive, with a decrease in aggression (d = -0.3; 95% CI = [-0.4, -0.1]) and disruptive behavior (d = -0.5; 95% CI = [-0.6, -0.3]), and an increase in engagement in activities (d = 0.2; 95% CI = [0.1, 0.4]) and self-control (d = 0.3; 95% CI = [0.1, 0.5]). Among students initially classified as shy, there was also an improvement in engagement in activities (d = 0.2; 95% CI = [0.05, 0.3]) and socialization (d = 0.3; 95% CI = [0.2, 0.5]). There was, however, a decrease in engagement in activities (d = -0.2; 95% CI = [-0.3, -0.1]), socialization (d = -0.2; 95% CI = [-0.3, -0.1]) and an increase in aggression (d = 0.3; 95% CI = [0.2, 0.4]) and disruptive behavior (d = 0.1; 95% CI = [0.05, 0.2]) among students initially classified as cooperative. The worsening of cooperative students is not corroborated by qualitative data. In the focus groups, teachers highlighted a general improvement in interactions and in the classroom atmosphere, with an increase in cooperative behaviors, attitudes of mutual respect, and improvements in communication.
Conclusions: The results corroborate other studies related to GBG regarding the improvement in aggressive behaviors and social isolation, except for the changes in the scores among cooperative students. Nevertheless, the reasons for the contradiction between qualitative and quantitative results must be called into question. One possible explanation is a change in teachers’ attitudes: according to statements in the focus groups, teachers have started to observe individual behaviors in a more careful way as opposed to their general observation from before. Another possible explanation is the ceiling and floor effects that affected cooperative students’ scores. A Randomized and Controlled Study is recommended to better verify the results of Jogo Elos in Brazilian schools, aiming at supporting its application as a preventive public policy in the country.