Peer Assisted Learning
BY Caroline Crolla 25 April 2017
In academic PAL sessions, students are guided through course concepts by their PAL Leader, a competent student who has been trained in group-facilitation techniques.
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- Which subjects are currently participating in PAL?
- Why become a PAL Leader?
- What happens in PAL sessions?
- When does the programme run?
- How do you apply?
- How have previous PAL Leaders found their experience?
- Academics: what is PAL?
- Clinical Languages Science
- Mathematics & Statistics
- Develop real-life transferable skills, often sought after in graduate jobs.
- Improve your presentation skills and self-confidence.
- Develop your skills in facilitating and coaching other students, and your ability to tailor you communication to different audiences.
- Develop your time-management skills, your ability to think on your feet and to troubleshoot.
- PAL Leadership shows an employer that you have gone above and beyond your degree and that you have been interested in contributing to the wider University community.
- Students bring lecture notes hand-outs and textbooks to refer to in the session.
- As PAL Leader, you agree with the students which material they want to review, improve or understand better.
- You will be trained in how to structure and lead flexible sessions so everyone can participate.
- PAL Leaders do not teach, lecture or give out the answers.
- PAL Leaders do help with problem-solving, study skills, exam techniques, coursework and assignments, and presentations.
- PAL Leaders know what their students are going through because they 'have been there' and been successful.
PAL sessions run weekly within the duration of a module - so if the module is one term, there will be at least 8 weeks of PAL sessions. Training for PAL Leaders takes place over two days at the start or end of the Autumn term, or the start of the Spring term.
As the programme is only running on select modules, you will be informed by your lecturers if the opportunity is available to you. The PAL Coordinator will then explain in more detail PAL and the application process.
Really rewarding! It's a great way to remind me of the topic too.
It feels great to have an impact on someone else's university life.
Very useful for my development and for the academic skills. I really enjoy it!
I am enjoying it, I feel good leaving knowing that I have helped someone get to grips with something difficult.
- A global model: PAL runs at many Universities across the USA, Europe, Australasia and the UK.
- Peer Assisted Learning is a scheme which tends to improve student retention, grades and performance for those who attend regularly.
- It is particularly effective when aligned with content or modules deemed conceptually difficult.
- Students in the higher years of specific programmes - PAL Leaders - are recruited and trained to facilitate weekly study support sessions for students in the lower years.
- PAL sessions offer a safe and friendly place to help students improve study skills and to deepen their understanding of the course subject.
- PAL Leaders structure the sessions based on material covered in lectures and seminars, and will also plan their sessions around students' particular requests.
The University of Reading is now a member of the PASS/SI network of peer learning provision and its PAL scheme is endorsed by the European Centre for SI / PASS which is Lund University, Sweden. The University of Reading is recognised as having staff who have become qualified certified Supervisors and can provide PAL leaders with the required high quality training and professional development.