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Peer Assisted Learning Program (PAL) Center for Science & Math Success

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Become a Facilitator

PAL Facilitators are student leaders of our PAL courses. PAL Facilitators are paid for 8 hrs/week at $16.20/hr. These hours include facilitating their PAL sessions, attending lectures of the main course, and holding office hours. Experienced facilitators can apply for the advanced leadership positions of Lead Facilitator and Supervisory Facilitator.

In addition, to optimize their experience, PAL Facilitators participate in NSM 197, a 2-unit, graded course (meeting 2 hrs/week) that provide training in pedagogy and group learning and opportunities to run through the problem sets prior to your actual PAL session and practice scaffolding. NSM 197 is usually held Wednesday evenings, 6-8 pm. First consideration deadlines are November 1st to facilitate in the spring semeter and March 15th for the fall.

group photo of PAL program participants

Shadowing

Students interested in possibly serving as a PAL Facilitator in the future are invited to “shadow” a current facilitator. This is a formal position with strict requirements on attendance and degree of participation. This position is only offered in Spring semesters, with applications due December 1.

Shadows must:

  • Attend all PAL run-through sessions (Wednesday evenings)
  • Meet regularly with program faculty to determine role within PAL sessions
  • Abide by the strict training/observation policy early in the semester; this is to ensure that shadows, who have not received all PAL training, do not inadvertently compromise the PAL model during sessions
m30 training

Perks of Being a Facilitator

Knowledge

Many Facilitators did not achieve the highest grade in the PAL class they facilitate. Facilitators know what it is like to struggle and to feel like giving up; after all, they are students just like you! They kept trying and now they are here to help other students succeed.

PAL helps students fully understand core gateway and upper division classes by working through problems with students and building self-confidence. As a result, the Facilitator learns new ways to approach problems and explain core concepts, which helps build knowledge of the course content.

Self-reported benefits of facilitating include more confidence, asking leading questions, finding better ways to study and retain information, how to form study groups and how to prepare for class.

  • “I have gained better understanding of the subject I am a facilitator for and thus allows me to understand my own flaws as a student.”
  • “PAL has allowed me to experience different types of learning strategies.”
  • “PAL has allowed me to observe the common habits that cause students to underperform, and I can adjust my own habits to optimize the effectiveness of my study habits.”
  • “Overall, it taught me how to become more effective in my studies.”

Spring Commencement, PALS program group of graduates in regalia

Professional Development

As each Facilitator stands at the front of the classroom, not only does their knowledge and confidence improve, but so does their professionalism. Facilitators have reported significant growth in leadership, public speaking, problem solving, and time management. Most importantly, Facilitators report that the skills gained from serving as a Facilitator are 100% transferrable to other parts of their lives.

  • “I have gained better pubic speaking and problem solving skills I can take with me to any job. “
  • “Being a PAL facilitator takes a lot of leadership, a positive and growing mindset, as well as a great amount of discipline.”
  • “I can present ideas and communicate to people in a way that is more professional, scaffolding helps with the interviewing process.”
  • “PAL has helped me to perfect my ability to multi-task which will be essential to success in a post graduate degree program.”
  • "I still remain super thankful to PAL because of everything I learned from it. I literally incorporate those skills everyday at work and when I was at school. For example, I do a lot of “translating” between technical and nontechnical departments and I get picked to demonstrate products and give presentations to vendors and other departments because of my communication skills. I also use my PAL skills when I manage our interns over the summer and when I train new engineers. Like asking leading questions, scaffolding problems, etc. I challenge coworkers to view our products with different perspectives to understand how we can make those better for different types of users. "

stacy

Research

All Facilitators conduct action research projects in interdisciplinary teams. Learn more on our Research page (coming soon).

  • “PAL has prepared me by helping me discover my interest in research.”
  • “It has given me an insight on education research and pedagogical methods in general.”
  • “I gained firsthand experience with research including data gathering and analysis.”
  • “The research aspect has also shown me the process of conducting and producing research, which I did not know prior to PAL.”
  • “I have been given the opportunity to perform research and present my research at conferences.”
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What Facilitators Say

  • “As a facilitator, I've had the pleasure of working with many different types of students, and I've learned different ways to motivate them and help them see the good in math, a very disliked subject. This program has definitely helped me improve my leadership, communication, and time management skills, all of which will be very important for my career path. — Angelica Sippel
  • “I have gained so much fron the program since I started as student for PAL and now the facilitator is has been a priveledge to see many students smile and thank me when they do so well in class because of PAL. And for those who dont carry that smile because of a test failure I make sure to keep them in the game until the last pitch because hard work can pay off in the end.” — Christian Sanchez
  • “It really satisfies me to see my students smile and meet others who are struggling in Anatomy. Hearing them make plans to study and hang outside of class makes me feel like I’ve done my part. It’s definitely hard to remember all of the concepts and not being able to answer my students hurts me. But I am still learning and I also am a student who is trying to improve each day. We’re all in this together and no one judges each other for their performance. We're just trying our best to help each other succeed in such a challenging science course and college overall.” — Venus Villadelgado
  • “I have learned how to approach people who are struggling. When I am facing a challenging moment personally, I am able to recognize that there is no way I am the only one in that situation. When I first took Chem 1A and heard how difficult it was, I looked for other students to team up with, and the PAL program was there with the community I needed. Having the excuse to work on course material with other students, and now being able to help provide that excuse for new students has made experience at Sac State successful.” — George Brown

Graduate beams looking at her commencement hood