PAL Instructor FAQs
What is Peer-Assisted Learning?
Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL) is an academic support program following the Supplemental Instruction (SI) model, created at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. PAL is a non-remedial approach to learning that supports students' academic success by integrating “what to learn” with “how to learn.” PAL consists of regularly scheduled, out-of-class group study sessions driven by students’ needs. Sessions are facilitated by trained peer leaders who utilize collaborative activities to ensure peer-to-peer interaction in small groups. PAL is implemented in high-risk courses and is supported and evaluated by the SI Specialist and staff at Memorial’s Academic Success Centre.
What will I be required to do?
Peer-Assisted Learning is not intended to create any additional work for instructors. You can support PAL by granting time for occasional in-class announcements and by encouraging students to take advantage of the PAL program.
Additionally, we will be in contact with you about the following aspects of the program:
- Assisting in selecting and approving candidates for peer leaders for your course by providing recommendations for undergraduate students who have recently been successful in your course.
- Maintaining a working relationship with the peer leader assigned to your course throughout the semester through brief meetings (when requested by the instructor or leader) during office hours or another agreed-upon time.
- Assisting in providing information to the Supplemental Instruction Specialist at the Academic Success Centre for PAL program evaluation.
What should I expect from the Peer Leader?
The peer leader assigned to your course will:
- Attend all classes
- Maintain a professional attitude about matters such as class standards, grades, and student feedback
- Discourage students from attending PAL as a substitute for class
- Share PAL materials with the instructor before use, if possible or requested
- Provide feedback to the instructor if requested to do so
The PAL leader will not:
- Re-lecture your material
- Answer emails or inquiries addressed to, or that should be directed to, instructors
- Grade assignments and exams
- Teach the class in the instructor’s absence
What should I expect from the PAL program?
The Peer-Assisted Learning program will be supported by the SI Specialist and staff at the Academic Success Centre, who will:
- Seek instructor input on the selection of students to be hired as peer leaders for their course.
- Train all peer leaders according to guidelines and best practices established by the International and Canadian Centres for Supplemental Instruction.
- Monitor the activities and presentations of peer leaders for as long as necessary by reviewing their materials, providing guidance on session planning, and supervising their performance.
- Provide supplies, pre-term and in-service training experiences, and consultations when necessary for peer leaders.
- Provide instructors with an end-of-term comparative analysis of student performance.
- Ask for feedback on the instructor’s experience with the PAL program.