What is the SLANT Strategy and How does it Improve Student Achievement?

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The SLANT strategy helps enhance student learning.It is important that a teacher studies a student’s body language. It helps them gauge if students are attentive, interested, and understand the lesson being taught. Sitting slouched, fidgeting and doodling are sure signs that the student is inattentive. This adversely affects the process of learning. The crux of the SLANT strategy is to enhance learning and student performance by creating a behavior incorporating the conscious use of positive body language.

“SLANT” is an acronym that stands for ‘Sit up, Lean forward, Ask and answers questions, Nod your head and Track the speaker.’ It is a simple technique to encourage and remind students on being attentive and active in class.

Benefits of the SLANT strategy

Every component of the strategy contributes to creating efficient learners and improving their performance.

Sit up: What is the right posture to sit in the classroom? Is it to rest your head on your hands, sit slouched in your seat or put your head down on the table? These are all positions that will put students to sleep. In order to develop attentive listeners, it is essential to encourage students to sit up straight with their back against the seat, feet placed firmly on the ground and hands on the table. This is the optimal position to ensure good learning and processing of information.

Lean forward: Another position that is critical to promote active listening is leaning forward. Students should be taught to lean forward during a lesson. It may also help teachers understand the interest level of the class and fine tune their presentation to make it more interesting for the students.

Ask and answer questions: This component can liven up the classroom and encourage students to be active in their learning process. Encourage them to clarify their doubts, answer questions, and discuss or debate on ideas. These question and answer sessions can help activate their thinking, encourage critical analysis of the content and strengthen their understanding of the lesson.

Nod your head: Nodding one’s head is a form of nonverbal communication to indicate that the lesson has been understood. When a teacher observes a student nodding his/her head, they may proceed with the lesson. On the other hand, failure to nod will signal that the student has not understood the lesson and the teacher may need to clarify or explain further. “N” can also stand for ‘noting down and naming key information’ which enables students to retain the information and makes learning stronger.

Track the speaker: The attention span of every student is different. Tracking the speaker is a visual cue to be attentive. Students should be encouraged to track both the teacher and other students who are presenting in class. The conscious effort to track the speaker will help students to be attentive at all times and prevent them from getting lost or daydreaming in class.

Introducing the SLANT strategy in the classroom

Students may be trained to make use of the SLANT strategy with these steps:

Step 1: Introduce the strategy to the students. Stick a poster of the acronym and its descriptions. Explain the 5 components of SLANT. Encourage students to discuss and give their impression about the need for the SLANT strategy, its benefits and how and when to use the strategy.

Step 2: Model the strategy in class. Encourage students to participate and try the SLANT strategy and give them immediate feedback to support their learning.

Step 3: Give students the opportunity to practice the strategy in class. If any student fails to perform the strategy, the teacher may gentle remind him/her. Teachers may also encourage students with feedback. Constant practice will help students to use this skill in other classes as well.

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Discuss Here: How did you introduce the SLANT strategy in your classroom?

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