The Meaning Making Journey of Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) Leaders in HE
S Bailey International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring 2021
This study, set in a small UK Higher Education Institution, investigates how 2nd and 3rd year undergraduate students, who facilitate Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) group study sessions and provide pastoral mentoring support to lower year students, make sense of their journey in becoming PAL Leaders. In-depth interviews, including visual data collection, were conducted with six PAL Leaders, using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to understand how they made meaning of their experiences. The subsequent analysis and interpretation of the data revealed three super-ordinate themes: social connectedness, self-development, and selfefficacy. The study highlights how student engagement with PAL schemes can increase a sense of belonging, enhance cognitive and communication skills, promote perspective transformation through critical reflection and stimulate personal growth. Gaining competence as a PAL Leader, fostered by encouragement and positive feedback, can also increase a student’s self-belief in successfully navigating and overcoming challenges.