Have you had a student leave their seat in the middle of an activity? Perhaps the student just needs to sharpen their pencil. But maybe this student left their work to instead distract themselves (and others). Eloping occurs when a student leaves an activity, especially without permission or a seeming cause. To prevent this unproductive behavior, use evidence-based instructional practices (EBIP) to promote better classroom behavior.
This negative behavior can lead to wasted time and safety concerns. When you make the most out of your classroom management strategies, you encourage a more productive, safer learning environment.
Why does this matter?
When a student elopes, they appear to defy your directions and authority. Some students, especially those with special needs, do not usually intend to disrespect you. They elope as an anxiety-based coping mechanism. However, the classroom behavior often ends up distracting themselves and others.
Try to discover the reason a child is eloping. Then, promote positive reinforcement for good classroom behavior with the following classroom management strategies.
Here is a case study to examine how we can use behavior management strategies. Carl has difficulty staying in his seat for an activity. He will stand up and walk around the room or go to the door to look in the hall. Also, he struggles to stay with his mom on walks outside the house.
Use behavior stories and video modeling
In my lesson on sharing and behavior plans, I recommended using behavior videos and behavior stories. I currently have three stories on eloping: “Rusty stops eloping and asks for a break – Social Skills Behavior Story – SEL,” Eloping Interactive Story – Social Skills Behavior Story – SEL“and “Rusty gets LOST ELOPING on a Field Trip – Social Skills Behavior Story – SEL” The videos and stories are great because you can show these resources to the entire class and ask follow-up questions about what happened.
This activity will reinforce the video and story model. Then, review or remind the children about the video and story before a time when they might have to complete an activity without eloping. For example, you can say: “__________________?”
We will be using a reward system to help students increase their ability to stay in their seats for the entire activity. This system will give frequent rewards to the whole class for staying in their seats and following directions.
Set a timer at random intervals. When the timer goes off, whoever is following directions and in their seat will get the reward. If Carl, or any other student, is not in his seat or following directions, he will not earn the reward. When this happens, he will have to watch his friends who were following directions get the reward instead.
The reward could be touching the iPad. For this reward, one touch will help the class see what the picture on the iPad will turn out to be or hear a sound on the iPad. He could also earn a reward (toy or another fidget item) for a minute to hold and see. As he is starting to sit for more extended periods, the intervals will be spaced out longer.
Use proactive strategies
- Provide to the family or team specially designed instruction, supplementary aids, program personnel supports, home or program modifications, and/or training materials.
- Use visual cues, such as posted stop signs at doors, pictures of classroom locations (group rug, tables, centers, etc.), and pictures of the person Carl should be with.
- Use social stories.
- Use positive reinforcement. Provide verbal praise and more favorable reinforcement when Carl independently attempts staying seated. Use smaller reinforcement when you prompt Carl.
- Play Redlight Greenlight Game for following rules.
- Be consistent with reminding him of the rules and the rewards for following them.