You will find even more ideas and inspiration on the 'Activity Ideas and Strategies' page of this guide.
A 'round-robin' is something that is started by one person and is successively added to by others.
This is a great technique for peer review and critique. One member of the group thinks of an idea or has a piece of work. That idea or piece of work is then passed around the group for other group members to add to it, creating lots more ideas from the original idea or finishing with a piece of work that has suggestions for improvements and editing.
TOP TIP: If using a piece of work, ensure that this is only a copy/draft and not the original piece. Also be aware for plagiarism!
Redirecting questions is fairly simple to understand but difficult to use in practice, without context. The aim of this process is to engage student to student interaction in your sessions, finding out what each individual thinks, rather than just handing them the answers.
This is based on the concept that we learn better when we have to explain it to someone else. It can be a natural reaction to answer a question we’ve been asked, but redirecting questions back to the group can help the leader avoid this tendency and help everyone in the group engage.
Student to Leader: Who came up with this theory?
Leader: Does anyone else know the answer to this?
TOP TIP: Rather than answer this question quickly, redirect it back to the group, this helps you to stop PAL from becoming a Question-Answer session.
Scenarios can be used to gain different perspectives on subjects, but also serve as a good facilitation tool as you are providing context and getting your students to do the thinking! We used scenarios in your PAL facilitation course to consider challenging situations, boundary setting, cultural differences or working with different learning styles.
This activity can be tailored for a subject of your choice, academic or non-academic (it could be related to housing/adjusting to university life). This does require some preparation.
This is a 'jigsaw' technique, where different groups are assigned different smaller topics and inform each other's knowledge when feeding back.
Wait-Time is the time between a question asked by you and the next thing that happens – a student responding or you talking again.
There are two types of wait-time:
Wait-Time is an important aspect of successful PAL sessions. According to research, the quality and quantity of students’ responses increases greatly if the teacher (in this case, PAL leader) leave at least 3 seconds of wait-time.
If PAL leaders avoid the natural reaction of jumping in too quickly to answer or rephrase the question, student learning improves.
TOP TIP: The more wait-time there is, the more opportunity the student has to process information more deeply.
This activity was used in your PAL facilitation course to identify and discuss any concerns/worries you had about becoming a PAL Leader. However this could be a great activity to use in the first few weeks of term, or when your students are approaching their first assignment.
There will be a lot of uncertainty and challenge, so find out from your students what they are concerned about, encourage them to support and advise each other and take note to help plan your future PAL sessions.
Roleplay doesn't have to be as cringey as everyone thinks it is! If you have a very creative/imaginative PAL group, this technique could work well. In fact, it can be an entertaining and interactive way of conveying information and can be lighthearted in an informal environment such as a PAL session. Make sure your students have some materials they can refer to for this (unit guides, programme handbooks, assignment breakdowns etc.) There are some ideas for roleplay styles below, but think of your own too! Get creative with this and have a laugh!
KWL stands for:
This is a good technique to establish what students know, what they want and still need to cover and at the end, what they have learned. These should be split into a grid and be completed as a whole group with students contributing to each column.
The first two sections can be completed at the beginning of a session to ascertain where the students are in their learning. The 'L' section should be completed at the end of the session.
TOP TIP: Always make sure to revisit the 'Learned' section to reflect on what the students have gained from the session.
Using a grid can be a good technique for providing your group with a structure to help formulate their thoughts and ideas.
Grids can be used for a number of themes such as:
We've used this in training before to define between a facilitator and a teacher, so this can be adapted to use in your sessions. All you need to do is help generate the discussion. Provide your group with points that they then need to categorise using the grid, or ask them to think of their own ideas and ask where they think they sit within the grid. Then discuss each point and see if everyone agreeds.
TOP TIP: Use post it notes or a flipchart board for this, and encourage your students to take pictures of the finished grid containing all of the thoughts.
Posters can be a fun way to convey information/what you've learned, plus they are interactive and give you a chance to get creative! We used posters during training to get you thinking about PAL, it's benefits and how to promote it to your students. However, posters can be used for a variety of different subjects - think about what your students want to find out about. Encourage them to get their phones out and research their subject.
Strategies that you use in your PAL sessions should be used to promote student interaction, both with you and the other students. However, this doesn’t mean they will automatically gain understanding from these interactions. You need to check their understanding to make sure they’ve learned the content that they requested and you prepared for the session.
The most common way of asking if a student understand is asking a yes or no question. This not always effective as some students may be embarrassed to admit they still don’t understand a concept, especially if you just spent considerable time going over it.
TOP TIP: Use a TEL tool, such as Mentimeter or Padlet to find out what they don’t understand. This can encourage students to open up as it allows anonymous responses.