“Peer Assisted Learning in Sports Therapy: the peer experience” (Area 4)

Sally Smith and Hollie Taylor, (ISES)

The role of Peer Assisted Learning (PAL), or mentoring, has been widely used in the nursing and medical professions, athletic training and physical therapy yet it is still relatively unknown within Sports Therapy. PAL involves a more senior student assisting with teaching and learning support of their more junior colleagues (student). PAL can boost the peers’ confidence, enhance their own knowledge, improve their communication skills and improve employability. The main aim of this project was to evaluate the use of peer assisted learning in sports therapy with emphasis on the experience of the peers. Four level 6 students volunteered to assist in two level 5 modules. A focus group was conducted in which the peers evaluated their experience. Content analysis identified two main meta-themes relating to the peer experience:
a) building confidence – in communication skills, working with different people and linking this to future employment b) enhancing their own knowledge base and increasing familiarity with theory through revision. The peers felt they were then better able to link with their own clinical experience. Overall, the peers underlined the rewarding and stimulating nature of the experience, which they feel has better prepared them for the role of a professional graduate Sports Therapist.

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