All About: SLANT
No matter how great and/or engaging one’s lesson is, if students aren’t alert, sitting up, and actively listening, it is useless learning. SLANT is an acronym used in many classrooms that identifies appropriate classroom behavior. SLANT is effective because it identifies the five key behaviors that will allow students to be successful and absorb the most information. The acronym is:
S– Sit up
A-Ask and answer questions
N– Nod your head
T– Track the speaker
This strategy serves as a short, quick reminder of how students need to be acting in class. This phrase doesn’t take a lot of time; therefore you’re not wasting valuable learning time explaining what you expect out of your students. In asking for SLANT, you are being quick, efficient, and unemotional. This acronym can be taken as a noun such as, “Where’s my SLANT?” Or, as a verb, “Make sure you’re SLANTING!” As a result, as soon as that acronym is spoken, students understand exactly what they are expected to do.
Why this strategy would work
The use of the word SLANT will eventually be an example of classical conditioning in the classroom. The first few weeks of school is when the teacher should constantly be reminding students of what the words mean and the expectations that go along with the acronym. This is important because after the meaning is taught there will be no excuse for students to not understand what is expected of them. There should be group practice in the classroom where you’re basically training your class how to react when they hear the statement, SLANT. For example, “Show me what it means to SLANT.” Then you might respond, “Yes, that’s exactly right.” Or, “Remember to track the speaker, so your eyes should always be on me. Let’s try that again.” With verbal praise or other reinforcing mechanisms, student’s behavior will be shaped in the way that reflects appropriate SLANT. Eventually, as soon as they hear the world SLANT they will automatically do this behavior without having to think about it.
On the very first day of school I will be sure to have the acronym SLANT posted somewhere conspicuous in my classroom. All the letters will be clearly defined and explaining this concept will be one of the first things I do. I plan to make this the basic building block of the classroom and something that will be impossible to forget. Each day for the first month or two, I will remind students of what the acronym means and explain that I will not settle for any behavior less than this. It is important that all students practice “SLANT-ING” so the expectations of the classroom are clear and precise. Non-verbal signals will also be extremely helpful if there is ever a situation that is not appropriate for verbal reminders. For example, I might demonstrate sitting up tall and folding my hands together to remind students to sit up straight. Or, clasp your hand behind your ear to remind them to listen carefully. Through all of these methods, appropriate classroom behavior will be clearly defined and expected.