As a school we are committed to being the best we can be, and this year we have been looking at all aspects of the school and how they can be developed for our students.
Over the past few months we have introduced a number of expectations and routines that are based on much research of best practice and that facilitate learning.
In order for students to maximise learning time, the use of an easy to remember acronym can help to teach students key baseline behaviours for learning. No matter how great and/or engaging one’s lesson is, if students aren’t alert, sitting up, and actively listening, it isn’t effective learning.
SLANT is an acronym that identifies appropriate classroom behaviour and is used in many classrooms, both in the UK and overseas, it is a way of teaching students how to listen and learn like scholars. The acronym is:
- Sit up straight
- Ask and answer questions
- Never interrupt others
- Track who’s speaking
What do these routines mean?
Sit up straight: In order to develop attentive listeners, it is essential students sit up straight with their back against the seat and feet placed firmly on the ground. This is the optimal position to ensure good learning and processing of information.
Listen: Not only does listening show respect to the speaker (whether that is the member of staff or another student) it also means that knowledge being taught won’t be missed. If students are listening like scholars then we reduce the number of interruptions to learning. ‘SLANTing’ whilst listening also demonstrates kindness and respect, two of our key character values.
Ask and answer questions: This component can liven up the classroom and encourage students to be active in their learning process. We will actively encourage students to answer and ask questions, discuss or debate on ideas, and explain their learning. These question and answer sessions can help activate students thinking, encourage critical analysis of the learning and strengthen their understanding of the lesson.
Never interrupt others: All students have the right to come to school and learn, and teachers should be free to teach without interruptions. Similarly, when students are speaking in class or giving answers, they should be able to do so without being interrupted. We should never interrupt the speaker as this is not only rude to the speaker but also to other students in the room who are trying to listen and learn.
Track who’s speaking: 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 concentrating at all times.
The expectations and routines we have introduced are rooted in educational research. SLANT has been proven to be effective because it identifies five key behaviours that will allow students to be successful and absorb the most information. As a school, we think these five key behaviours are completely reasonable and when all students follow them it creates an environment where all students can flourish and make the necessary progress.
Students have been taught about the new processes and procedures introduced and we are extremely proud of the way that the vast majority have adapted to the new routines and expectations. As a staff we have worked hard to improve standards in lessons, promoting the correct types of behaviour to support teaching and learning. We will begin to issue reward points for effective ‘SLANTing’.