Archive | April 2014

Why students lead U:PASS sessions

Q: Students lead in U:PASS for a wide variety of reasons – to mentor, to gain leadership skills, to improve communication skills, to get educational experience, to see what it’s like working for UTS. What’s something you feel you have gained in one (or more) of these areas over the last fortnight? Why? (You may also choose another area if you wish!) 🙂
A: I think I provide a variation of an expected generic answer each session report for this section. Of course, all that stuff about leadership skills, communication skills, experience and the such is all true. However in terms of “why students lead U:PASS” I think I’ve reached a point where there’s only one real reason that matters now.

I love it!

You care too much

One of the things that I always struggle with is how to help someone without doing it for them.

It’s the same thing the U:PASS leaders struggle with when they’re trying to help students. I have had several student leaders in the past few weeks who have been struggling with students who aren’t engaging – they might not bring their textbooks or lecture notes, they might not engage in the group activities, they might just sit there and copy down the answers that the other students have worked out.

The reason the leaders struggle is that they care. I wouldn’t employ them if they didn’t demonstrate that they care about others, if they weren’t compassionate, other-person centred and responsible.

And so I have these conversations often and I remind the leaders:

The reality is this – U:PASS is only supplementary. Students will need to do work outside of U:PASS in order to understand the material. Simply coming to U:PASS, and never actually engaging in the material, will not get the students to pass. One hour per week, when lectures are often 2-3 hours, will not be enough to pass.

And whose responsibility is this? It’s the STUDENT’s responsibility. The student must, at some point, take ownership of their own learning. Until they do, they will probably fail. And that is ok.

U:PASS leaders can only do the best job they can to provide a facilitated friendly study environment. They cannot do the study for the students. They should not do the study for the students.

But they will care about their students. Which is why we have this conversation.