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Peer Support Leader Guide: Facilitating vs. Teaching

This guide is designed for our Peer Support Leaders to contain all the information they require to carry out their role, including key contacts, the process for the observations and how to claim their pay.



“To assist (a person); to enable or allow (a person) to do something, achieve a particular result, etc., more easily.” (Oxford English Dictionary 2018)



“A person or organization assigned to facilitate progress towards a specific objective, esp. one whose role is to foster communication or understanding within a group of people, or negotiations between various parties; a mediator; a coordinator (esp. of a conference, discussion group, etc.).” (Oxford English Dictionary 2018)


  • Provides instruction for activities
  • Remains impartial and neutral
  • Guides the process
  • Provides the right questions
  • Flexible pattern of delivery/structure
  • Encourages discussion and involvement
  • Signposts effectively
  • Less talking from Leader



“Impart knowledge to or instruct (someone) as to how to do something.” (Oxford English Dictionary 2019)



“One who gives lectures or formal discourses intended for instruction, esp. in a college or university.” (Oxford English Dictionary 2018)


  • Teaches content
  • Asserts authority
  • Confirms what is right and wrong
  • Provides the right answers
  • Linear pattern in delivery/set structure
  • Expert on content
  • Less involvement from students
  • More talking from Leader

Potential risks of teaching: Why it is important to be a facilitator

Potential risks of teaching: Why it is important to be a facilitator

  • You are not being paid to teach - you are not a Teacher or Lecturer!
  • You are assisting your students’ learning, not educating (that’s a Lecturer’s job!)
  • Your students will expect and demand too much from you
  • You may become bombarded and overwhelmed with Q&A, which would put unnecessary pressure on you to provide answers you are not expected to give
  • If you use/share/display your own assignments/University work in sessions, you make yourself vulnerable to plagiarism
  • It is highly likely that BU course content will change and be updated each academic year, so you should not advise based on lecturers’ notes and your own experience of the first year


A teaching style of delivery is different to the approach you need to be taking as a facilitator e.g. less reliance on PowerPoint, more emphasis on encouraging discussion and interactive activities


During your sessions, there should be an 80/20 split in terms of contribution - 80% of the contribution and talking from the students and 20% from you as a facilitator (asking questions and setting tasks).