ERIC Number: EJ1047487
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Abstractor: As Provided
Holistic Growth of College Peer Study Group Participants: Prompting Academic and Personal Development
Arendale, David R.; Hane, Amanda R.
Research & Teaching in Developmental Education, v31 n1 p7-29 Fall 2014
This qualitative study focused on observed and perceived changes in academic and personal attitudes and behaviors by student participants in the Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) program at the University of Minnesota (UMN). The PAL model employs best practices from national peer learning models including Supplemental Instruction, Peer-led Team Learning, and Emerging Scholars Program. The PAL program provides regularly-scheduled study review sessions weekly to support students in achieving higher final course grades and persistence rates. In most uses of the PAL model at UMN, participation is mandatory. Arthur Chickering's Comprehensive Theory of Personal Change was used to analyze the data. Data was gathered by the PAL study group facilitators of observed or perceived changes of attitudes and behaviors by the participating students. Four themes emerged: higher academic engagement, higher confidence, increased interpersonal skills, and improved critical thinking skills. Higher engagement with the learning process was manifested through PAL participants talking more, displaying more comfort while speaking, and asking questions of the PAL facilitators and others in the group. Increased confidence was evidenced by reduction of frustration and fear and was replaced with the display of new cognitive and metacognitive thinking, expressions of self-confidence in ability to solve problems, and to learn new academic content independently. Increased interpersonal skills was shown through higher interaction within the study group, helping others during small group activities and within the large group discussions, making friends with the participating students and the facilitator, and actively working with fellow students to solve problems rather than preferring self-reliance and working alone. The final theme of improved critical thinking was displayed by increased ability to understand and explain reasoning behind concepts. Several recommendations are offered: how study group programs could foster academic and personal growth of study group participants and areas for further research.
Descriptors: Undergraduate Students, Qualitative Research, Student Attitudes, Student Behavior, Attitude Change, Behavior Change, Models, Peer Teaching, Best Practices, Academic Achievement, Grades (Scholastic), Academic Persistence, Study Habits, Learner Engagement, Self Esteem, Interpersonal Competence, Critical Thinking, Thinking Skills, Holistic Approach, Student Development, Student Surveys, Online Surveys
New York College Learning Skills Association. Web site: http://www.nyclsa.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Minnesota
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A