My time as a Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) Leader
The change from high school education to the independent learning environment at university is daunting to many students. To help, the university runs a program known as PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) in which higher year students organise weekly study sessions to support first year students in their learning.
I was involved in this program during my first and second years, both as a PASS participant and then as a PASS leader. I was challenged academically during my first year in biomedical science, and receiving advice from students who had been through the same issues and successfully overcome them was a big source of motivation.
As a PASS leader, I aimed to provide an inclusive learning experience to every student, challenging and supporting them as they developed a love of learning, and became independent learners.
I think what really helped me receive this recognition is how I reflected deeply on every session regardless of how good I thought it went.
BSc Biomedical Science
Since I had little previous experience in teaching, I relied on educational literature and my experience as a PASS participant to carefully plan every session. When sessions did not run as expected, I had to think on my feet and quickly change the session to match what students needed.
I wanted my sessions to be useful and engaging. No one wants to spend 50 minutes listening to boring topics regardless of their importance! This was difficult to achieve so I tried to be creative by using interactive interfaces (such as Kahoot) to boost student engagement.
I also made my sessions flexible to address students’ changing demands, and incorporated elements of peer evaluation in many activities so students could learn from each other.
Becoming an Associate Fellow of the HEA, and receiving recognition for my work is extremely rewarding and was not something I imagined would ever happen. I think what really helped me receive this recognition is how I reflected deeply on every session regardless of how good I thought it went.
There was always something to improve! I encourage everyone to become a PASS leader, as I truly enjoyed the work I did and can now confidently showcase my leadership skills, and most importantly earned accreditation that will surely help me in the future.
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