‘Getting into the flow of university’: a coaching approach to student peer support
As Keenan (2014) reports, peer-led learning schemes are gaining momentum globally, bringing benefits to both ‘peer leaders’ and their mentees. Such schemes can also be vehicles for student engagement and supporting successful transition. In its Peer-Assisted Student Success (PASS) scheme, London Metropolitan University has developed a course-embedded model in which trained ‘Success Coaches’ provide academic and personal guidance to first-years on all undergraduate degree programmes via in-class groups and one-to-one support. Another distinctive feature is its adoption of a coaching philosophy in the role of student mentoring. This case study explores the experiences and benefits accrued by both first-year students and Success Coaches from this coaching style, drawing on rich data collected via focus groups using images as a form of ‘arts-based inquiry’. Themes emerging from the data illuminate the nature of the peer relationship. The paper also considers implications, for peer-mentor training, of incorporating a coaching approach.
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