UFV India students are about to benefit from a new service aimed at improving academic success in the classroom. Newly launched Supported Learning Groups (SLG) are structured, course-specific study groups led by trained peer leaders.
SLG is a “learn with your peers” environment where students can discuss difficult course concepts, air out doubts, and have an insightful dialogue about coursework. Students are also encouraged to implement high-efficiency study techniques to better absorb the curriculum.
Student leaders, identified by UFV India for their high academic achievement, serve as facilitators and peer mentors in SLG sessions. The leaders are students who have taken the courses before and have been trained by a panel of faculty members and academic coordinators. They act as moderators of the discussions and not only share their own learning and experiences but also provide the group with useful study tools to understand the concepts deeply.
The first generation of SLG leaders includes Gurkirat Singh, Manpreet Singh, Shreya Rakesh Jain and Varundeep Singh Chadha who will be facilitating SLGs for Math 141 and Comp 150. The leaders were shortlisted based on faculty recommendation, their grade in the subject, and their overall class performance. The responsibility of the leaders is to facilitate a healthy discussion among peers while sharing insights and moderating the session, it is not a one-sided lecture.
Ms. Navneet Sidhu, Coordinator, Supported Learning Groups Program, visited us from Abbotsford to conduct customized sessions that prepared our young leaders with the tools to facilitate learning. Sharing her take on the program, Kaur says “The concept of SLGs was born in the University of Missouri, Kansas City as the Supplemental Instruction (SI) program. We modified the program structure according to our requirements, but the foundation remains collaborative learning. Knowledge tends to sink in better since it is based on peer-to-peer facilitation and the ideas and methods shared by our leaders worked for them.” She adds, “The SLG model focuses on high-risk subjects, and not high-risk students. The aim is to give everyone tools so that they can become independent learners.”
The four chosen SLG leaders went through a process to really understand SLG model, explore strategies, and collaborative learning techniques. They also conducted mock sessions to get a small teaser of their role would look like, and took feedback from the faculty.
Speaking about this experience, SLG leader Gurkirat Singh said, “The initial impression was that these are tutoring sessions — this is not true. These sessions are more about facilitating discussions among students, and I believe this model works better. Studying with friends gives a platform to share ideas and learn from their perspective. This is not just another lecture that they have to attend, rather a session which we moderate. This isn’t about assisting the teacher, instead, it is all about assisting our peers in a comfortable, fun environment.”
Through this program, we aim to empower our students with tools to make the most of their learning.