Funded by the University's Teaching Development Fund, a new multi-cultural dimension has been brought to the Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme for students, as the Foreign Languages Centre (FLC) join forces with the SU Bath to train over 50 students from across the world to support language learners. Led by Dr Daisy Zhu, Teaching Fellow, FLC, and Annika Theilgaard, Peer Support Co-ordinator, SU Bath, the project is offering weekly PAL sessions to students, studying one of eight different languages.
What is a PAL session?
These sessions are providing new opportunities for language students across disciplines and levels of study to meet native speakers as well as fellow students to further develop their language skills. As students from all corners of the globe come together, they are also able to explore their different cultures to deepen their cultural understanding of the countries where the target language is spoken.
Where do the sessions take place?
The PAL sessions take place within the University's Language Learning Zone, located on Level 3 of the Library, where students have access to the collection of self-study language materials and film collection of over 3,500 dvds.
Commenting on the project so far, Dr Zhu said:
"We are delighted the take-up by students to become PAL leaders has been so good and, in our recent student survey, 100% of respondents stated that they would recommend a PAL session to other students. It is excellent to see our students reporting on feeling more confident in their language skills and taking the advice of the PAL leaders on board."
How are PAL sessions helping students?
The biggest challenge for language learners is often the lack of opportunity to practise speaking outside the classroom so these sessions offer an excellent opportunity for students to talk with both native and non-native speakers of the language they are learning. For the PAL leaders, they are gaining new skills and experience through facilitating sessions and have also reported other benefits including meeting new people, sharing language and culture and continuing to develop language and communication skills.
What is happening this semester?
This semester, 43 PAL leaders will lead 15 PAL sessions for Chinese, French, Spanish, Arabic, Italian, German, Portuguese, Japanese and English.