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.