Removing the barrier: A first year student sums up peer learning
Sometimes I just marvel at the responses I get when people apply to be leaders. Check this out:
Q: Why are U:PASS sessions offered in addition to tutorials and lectures?
A: First of all, U:PASS was designed specifically for first year units that have high failure rates – hence the “supplementary” assistance.
I think U:PASS is different to other forms of classes because it removes the barrier between instructor/teacher and student. Many (including myself at times), find the idea of talking to lecturers/demonstrators incredibly overwhelming and “scary”.
It’s also helpful because it gathers students who WANT to do well, rather than NEED to do well. The atmosphere of being with people who understand that in University, independent learning is key – and that involves self-motivation and doing as much as you can to achieve the best that you can. There is no competitive atmosphere whatsoever – a student who’s never done the subject and need extra assistance can come, or a student aiming for top marks can show up, and there is no sense of favouritism or disheartening/intimidating learning field.
Lastly, I think having a student U:PASS leader is what really sets U:PASS sessions apart from tutorials and lectures. They understood the difficulty of being a confused first-year with little-to-no background in the subject. That connection between U:PASS leader and student is something that I don’t believe that can be easily formed between lecturer/demonstrator and student. They understand that it’s difficult to learn when the materials are delivered in a very “dry” manner.
These factors really help in creating a comfortable atmosphere for everyone.