While there are many support services available to students at BU, what makes the Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme stand out is that it’s run by students, for students. InsideBU finds out more.
Sometimes speaking out in a lecture or seminar can be intimidating. Group PAL sessions – which are available to the majority of first year students and are run by second year students – are all about creating an informal and safe environment to ask questions and start discussions with fellow students to help them gain more of an understanding about their subject matter.
While leaders facilitate the sessions to help students develop independent learning techniques and study skills, they’re also available to give advice on how to prepare for interviews and placements, in addition to offering general support about student life and adjusting to university.
Whereas academics teach specific course content, PAL leaders generate activities that will help students find the answers out for themselves. Before each session, they use email and social media to find out what the students would like to achieve at the next meeting and will construct the session around their responses.
Many students have had such a positive experience through the scheme that they’ve become leaders themselves. One second year student told us: “PAL was invaluable during my first year. The oneto-one contact with an experienced student meant I was able to freely ask all questions and gain real help from the viewpoint of a peer.
Sessions are only an hour long and confidential. They aim to accommodate different learning styles and look to include everyone, improve relationships and encourage discussions.
“I quickly became great friends with my leader and felt inspired to join the programme myself, hoping to have the same effect with future students.”
Peer Learning Officer Aimée Fish, based within Library & Learning Support, reflects on what makes the PAL scheme so positive: “The main benefit of PAL is that it helps with that tough time of transitioning to university. It’s when many students are stepping out of their comfort zone, so to have a PAL Leader who’s on their wavelength and has shared experiences is invaluable.”
16 | Autumn 2018 | InsideBU
Peer Assisted Learning is available for the majority of BU first year students. If you have any enquiries or would like to find out about becoming a leader, please email email@example.com
The internal magazine for Bournemouth University students and staff.