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    About SLAs

    Student Learning Assistants (SLAs)

    Student Learning Assistants are experienced students who have been identified by their academic tutors as being highly motivated and capable learners who "have been there before" and know the typical academic issues new students face in their studies. They work in lectures, seminars, workshops and small group sessions to assist students in their learning. 

    SLAs do not teach students but are fully trained to work with students using effective questioning and active listening methods . They work collaboratively with academic staff, supporting students in small groups and one-to-one, in the classroom and in pre-arranged locations in the university. They facilitate learning by:

    • Working with students on set tasks in small groups
    • Interpreting assignment topics
    • Preparing students for seminar tasks
    • Planning essays/reports with students
    • Offering advice on study skills and time management techniques
    • Providing useful revision techniques
    • Encouraging peers to overcome learning challenges
    • Leading and participating in discussions
    • Facilitating application of course content
    • Facilitating break-out groups in and out of class environment
    • Demonstration techniques in Labs
    • 1-2-1 catch up sessions 

    Student Learning Assistants are there to complement what has been taught in lectures and do not take the place of the lecturer or tutor. They are there to help you have a better understanding of the course and empower you to find your own learning styles so that you can take of ownership of your learning.

    Benefits to Students

    Students can work in small groups to solve problems and find solutions together with an experienced student facilitating the group and giving advice and guidance. Working with SLAs enables students to ask questions about course work freely without being embarrassed and gradually helps build up students' confidence levels. 

    Students who used Student Learning Assistants last year made the following comments: 

    "It was an opportunity to have access to those who have access to those who have completed the module to help with hands-on skills" 

    "Working with an SLA enabled me to learn faster and study new topics in advance" 

    "Using experienced student perspective helped." 

    "I was given the opportunity to ask questions freely."

    Benefits to SLAs

    • Development of employability skills including leadership, teamwork, interpersonal, communication, facilitation and coaching skills
    • Increased confidence, especially in situations where teamwork is required to attain a goal
    • Valuable experience to enhance CVs
    • Improved grades and academic practice by consolidating subject knowledge and gaining deeper understanding of the subject
    • A chance to become a member of a community of practice, receiving on-going training and sharing experiences with other SLAs
    • SLAs are paid for their sessions and other commitments related to the scheme including training.

    How do I become a Student Learning Assistant (SLA)?

    Potential Student Learning Assistants are recommended by their academic tutors as having a positive attitude towards learning. This includes: 

    • High attendance rates in all modules
    • High grades (8 or higher) in the modules you wish to support.
    • Excellent study habits
    • Desire to help others succeed

    How do I become a Student Learning Assistant [PDF] 

    Ask an SLA - email your questions to: ask-an-sla@mdx.ac.uk


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