Peer advice, mentoring and providing support to students at La Trobe College Australia

Mrs Usha Rao1, Mr Jason Cormick

1La Trobe Melbourne, La Trobe University, Australia

This paper addresses the theme of connectivity, through describing the process of setting up and running peer mentor programs which utilise student-led strategies. The purpose of the presentation is to outline a number of connections established between students studying in various courses at La Trobe College as well as at La Trobe University. The delivery of peer support enhances student experience, for the givers as well as the receivers in these programs. There are several programs, led by students, for students, at La Trobe College Australia (LTCA). Through these programs current students as well as alumni provide peer to peer advice and guidance to LTCA students. The focus of some programs is academic support whereas others are for acculturation purposes as well as for social contact. These programs include international students having conversations with domestic students, high achieving alumni joining teachers in classrooms to assist with group discussions, domestic students assisting with enrolment and registration as well as leading campus tours for newly arrived international students. There are also groups of student leaders who offer help and advice to students who may face challenges at the beginning to settle in Melbourne or cope with their studies at LTCA. A detailed account will be presented by an academic member of LTCA staff on the design and delivery of the Peer Assisted Learning Program (PAL program) at LTCA. The successful, and not so successful, aspects of this program will be discussed. An attempt will be made to foresee the future at LTCA of peer assisted learning. The audience at this presentation would learn how to start and conduct such a program, and, perhaps, to avoid some of the pitfalls encountered at LTCA. Some evaluative measures will be discussed as well.


Biography:

Usha Rao (MA, Monash; MEd, University of Melbourne; IDLTM, University of Queensland) is the Director, Student Services at La Trobe College Australia. She is the 2012 holder of English Australia’s John Gallagher award for her contribution to international education in Australia. Usha is a Fellow of Australian Institute of Management. She has been an ISANA member since 1993. She was the winner of a Member Bursary for ISANA National Conference Attendance in 2016.

Jason Cormick (Bachelor of Business, Victoria University; Post Grad Cert TESOL, and Master in Teaching – ongoing) is a teaching staff member at La Trobe College Australia. He is a teacher of English and Communication. He has an interest in learning and neuroplasticity. Jason also provides one on one and small group academic support to students from Foundation Studies and Diploma programs at LTCA.

ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION

ISANA International Education Association is the representative body for professionals in Australia and New Zealand who work in international student services, advocacy, teaching and policy development in international education. For more information, please visit the ISANA website.

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