Section 1 : What is PAL?
PAL Leader Profile2
What is PAL?3
Your Experiences of PAL...4
Facilitation vs. Teaching5
Section 2 : How to Prepare, Lead and Facilitate a PAL Session
Before the Session..6
Start of the Session.......7
During the Session..9
Ending the Session10
Section 3 : Strategies and Skills
Facilitation & Communication: Listening.12
Facilitation & Communication: Questioning..13
Facilitation & Communication: Working with Different Cultures..15
Getting Students into Groups.17
Strategies and Suggestions for PAL19 Changing the Room Layouts22
Dealing with Challenging Situations..27
Section 4 : Relationships
Support for Leaders: Key Contacts.29
Using myBU for PAL..33
Netiquette: Using Facebook and Email Effectively for PAL..34
Section 5 : Your First Session and Admin
Your First Session .37
PAL Paperwork and Payment.40
PAL Leader Observations..41
Promoting PAL to your Students Sheet.42
Simulated Session Template..43
Section 6 : Additional Notes
The materials in this Guide have been based on resources produced by: Hugh Fleming; David Jaques; Stuart Capstick; Janice Hurne; Alison Green;
Tamsyn Smith; Steve Parton; Michael Knight and Charlotte Thackeray with grateful acknowledgements to the individuals and organisations whose
materials we have adapted. These include: Jenni Wallace; University of Missouri Kansas City; Graham Gibbs' Learning in Teams; The Oxford Centre for
Staff Development; the PASS National Centre at the University of Manchester and Trevor Habeshaw. Some of the resources on different learning
experiences have been reproduced from the publication Learning to Learn with the kind permission of Imperial College, London. Copyright Bournemouth
PAL Leader Profile
Training: Attend the compulsory 2 day training sessions during May, June or September
Level of Commitment: Preparation time for each session (30 minutes), facilitate a weekly
or fortnightly PAL session (1hour); some courses will be required to attend debrief
session, (approx. 30 minutes)
Action in sessions: Facilitate the discussions; be supportive; signpost students to
appropriate help; take attendance for evaluation work; in some cases you will have to
work with another PAL Leader; give 1st years confidence to ask questions within PAL (to
each other) and outside (eg. to lecturers)
Action outside sessions: Email and Facebook the PAL group to remind of session
time/location; ask first years if there are specifics they would like to cover and advertise
this if necessary; keep in contact with your PAL Leader partner (if necessary), course
contacts and PAL Central
Personal Qualities: Trustworthy; non-judgemental; role-model (not perfect but a
demonstration you have survived 1st-year); team player; enthusiasm; friendly; approachable; confident; committed; emotionally intelligent
Personal and Professional Skills:
Communication; time management; organisation and planning; facilitation; leadership;
Support for you: Regular contact with Staff whether in your school or with the PAL Central
team; additional training and support if required; at least one observation to check how
you are progressing; recognition and reward (Student Development Award points and
celebration event in March); an opportunity for you to improve PAL for future Leaders
(survey and focus groups)
What PAL does: Helps students adjust to university life and get to know other students
Helps students gain a greater perspective of their programme, its direction and staff expectations
Develops and improves learning and study skills to meet course requirements
Enhances students understanding of programme content through collaborative group discussion and activities
Helps students prepare better for assignments and exams
Makes students feel more confident about their programme and about working with each other
Fosters cross-year support between students on the same programme
Develops group and team-working skills
Enables sharing of experiences
Encourages independent learning
Gives students responsibility for setting the agenda
Encourages students to consolidate and evaluate their learning
Training Activity: Which of the principles seem most important to you? Please mark each one on a scale
from 1 to 5 where 1 is not really important and 5 is very important. Then identify which 4 are most important to you
Share your ideas with a partner. Explain your choices and ask them to explain theirs
Join another pair and share your ideas
Between your group of four, identify the 3 which are most important to you as a group, and then prioritise them. Be prepared to explain your choices during feedback
PAL is based upon the following principles and practices: My Rating
1. It supports student learning.
2. It fosters cross-year support for students (see 3 below).
3. It is facilitated by more experienced students, usually from the year
above, who provide a point of contact for new or less experienced students.
4. It enhances students experience of university life.
5. It is participative: students work in small groups, engaging in
discussions and a variety of interactive learning activities.
6. It is timetabled.
7. It encourages collaborative learning rather than competitive learning.
8. It works on both what students learn and how they learn.
9. It creates a safe environment where students are encouraged to ask
questions and receive guidance from other students about the programme
and its content.
10. It uses the language and terms specific to the subject discipline.
11. It helps students gain insight into the requirements of their programme,
and their lecturers expectations.
12. It involves active rather passive learning.
13. It encourages independent learning.
14. It helps students to develop a more positive attitude towards learning,
keeping up with their studies and completing their programme.
15. It gives students opportunities to improve their academic performance.
16. What is discussed is confidential and remains within the PAL Group.
17. It benefits all students regardless of their current academic ability.
18. It gives students a place and time to practise the subject, learn from
mistakes and build up confidence.
19. It gives PAL Leaders opportunities to revisit their prior learning.
20. It enables PAL Leaders to practise and develop their personal and
What is PAL?
Your Experiences of PAL
1. What did you feel like when you first came to university?
2. How did PAL help you settle in?
3. How did your PAL Leaders structure/organise sessions?
4. How did your PAL Leaders get everyone to participate?
5. What benefits did you gain from PAL?
6. What improvements would you like to make to the PAL sessions you lead?
Facilitation vs. Teaching As a PAL Leader you will probably have to reiterate that you are NOT like a lecturer or
tutor several times. However, some of the skills involved with teaching and facilitation
overlap. Nevertheless, there are many areas where the role of a facilitator differs to a
teacher. You should all be used to the teaching style and you may have noticed your own
PAL Leader/s last year sometimes acting like a teacher, especially when they felt the PAL
group was not responding as well as they had thought.
Training Activity: You will be shown a PowerPoint demonstrating styles that a teacher
would use. In your groups discuss what the role of a facilitator is, then feedback to the
group. You can make notes in the box below.
Questions to consider:
What does it mean to be a facilitator?
How does the role of a facilitator work?
Have you ever seen a good example of facilitation?
How could you help your students become independent/self-directed learners?
How to Prepare, Lead and Facilitate a PAL Session Over the next few pages we will cover how to run a typical PAL session. This is how your session
should be planned and delivered. Every course runs differently and a number of courses that use
computers (e.g. in the Media School or Faculty of Science and Technology) are more likely to rely
on PC lab style sessions than a traditional seminar format. However, the plan below can be applied to any course, so you should follow this guidance to organise your sessions.
Before the Session: Preparation
As emphasised a lot throughout this Guide, preparation is key to being a successful PAL
Leader, otherwise session scan lack purpose, lose focus, and ultimately that can impact
on students motivation to attend. So follow these steps before your PAL group meets:
1. Contact your Group before the session
At the end of your last PAL session, you agreed the main topic for discussion for your forthcoming PAL session with your group
Post an announcement on yo