Barton's talent has never been in question, although he has often been in the headlines for well-documented disciplinary problems.
But Pardew feels Barton is a changed individual and he produced another influential performance in the 2-0 win over Birmingham at St. Andrew's.
No ordinary Joey: Barton was in fine form as Newcastle picked up three points from their win at Birmingham
It lifted the Magpies into ninth spot in the Barclays Premier League thanks to goals from Peter Lovenkrands and Leon Best.
Pardew said: 'I have to say Joey has worked very hard at turning his life around. That has been projected onto the football pitch.
'We are getting the best of Joey Barton probably at anytime in his career.
'I thought he was very unlucky to get booked against Birmingham with some of the other challenges that went on.
Praise: Pardew is proud of midfielder Barton
'Maybe there is still a slight stain against him. But for me, and I can only take someone as I find them, Joey has been superb.'
Pardew is also pleased with the way Lovenkrands and Best are trying to fill the void left by the departure of Andy Carroll to Liverpool for ?35million.
Lovenkrands showed some typical sharpness to put the Magpies ahead after only two minutes, and Best wrapped up the points with a powerful header from close range early in the second period.
Pardew said: 'I think it is about getting the balance right and encouraging them and getting them to produce what is best for their particular game.
'They are not Shola Ameobi and they are not Andy Carroll. They are different types and we got the best out of them at Birmingham.
'I'm so pleased for Leon Best because I think there is a bit more pressure on him than Peter because he hasn't really done a great deal at the football club.
'But he produced a great performance at St. Andrew's and can be proud of that.'
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Explore more:People: Joey Barton, Leon Best, Andy Carroll Places: Birmingham, Newcastle, Liverpool