Really understanding why things are

Great feedback and reflection from a first semester leader:

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 am improving myself to become a better person, sounds weird but I mean it.

Before I became a U:PASS leader, if I really got confused with some questions in calculations, I would simply make my brain to memorise the processes mandatorily without knowing a ‘why’, I would persuade myself, ‘deal with it, that’s just the way it should be. I get the right answer anyway.’ This may also reflect my personality of being too free, if I can achieve the same purpose, I would avoid any difficulties or troubles and pick the easiest way. Being able to choose the easiest way to achieve a goal is good, but if I do the questions for the purpose of only getting the right answers, this seems like beginning at the wrong end. I should do the questions for the purpose of learning something, and getting the right answers is only a way of proving that I understand the things I am learning.

In the U:PASS, since I cannot force students to accept things they do not understand, I need to find a way to make them understand, this is on the basis of I really know the stuff well. Everytime before the U:PASS, I would think what problems students may have and how could I response to make them understand. Just like what we are told in the training, we learn from students, and now I cannot agree more.


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About Georgina Barratt-See

Georgina manages the UTS U:PASS (UTS Peer Assisted Study Success) program, which assists students in 50 first and second year subjects with study sessions run by trained student facilitators. Georgina has 14 years experience in the Higher Education sector with interests in student leadership, mentoring, first year experience, teaching and learning.

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