Guest Author - Celestine A. Jones
Student with disabilities often have barriers that prevent them from excelling in the classroom. The SLANT is a strategy that teaches a new behavior by using positive body language. Students with ADHD/ADD and other learning disabilities often have issues with maintaining the attention span. Developing the SLANT behavior will improve learning.
The SLANT behavior strategy is a simple strategy that keeps learners attentive and involved in learning. I began using the SLANT strategy years ago with young adults in a diverse learning environment. The outcome was positive. I have continued to use this method with elementary, middle, and high school students. This method was originally developed for students with special needs. The strategy works well for regular education students as well students with learning disabilities.
The first step to achieving success with the SLANT strategy is to teach students to sit up. Students have developed a bad habit of putting their heads down on the desk. Good posture is important. Both feet should be firmly placed on the floor with a straight back against the seat. The head should be up facing the teacher. The hands should be placed on the desk to avoid loss of attention.
The second step to achieving success is to lean forward. This small step will let the teacher know that you are listening. It also signifies an interest in the material. Teachers love to know that students are not only paying attention, but also are taking an interest in the material presented.
The third step involves asking questions that have true meaning. This step gives the learner an opportunity to get a better understanding of the information being presented. It also shows that the learner is interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the topic.
The fourth step is very easy. A simple nod of the head shows that the information is understood. Nonverbal communication is used to show an understanding by nodding forward for yes and backwards for no. This step can also be used for classroom management.
The last step involves verbal communication. It involves talking with teachers about the information obtained. This can be done during or after the lesson is presented. This step needs to be reviewed often. Most students choose to skip this step because they feel embarrassed. No question is a stupid question. Once the question is asked, the student is usually surprised to learn that other peers are anxious to find the answer to the same question.
The SLANT Strategy is a simple process that works for children with disabilities, as well as regular students of all ages. Practice makes perfect. Reminders, such as posters or handouts can be used as reminders of the steps. Once the steps are practiced over a period of time, regular reminders will not be needed. It will become a natural process practiced to build learning skills.