There are a few common issues that might arise in peer facilitation workshops, including lack of participation, differences in student skill level, or an inappropriate difficulty of the material. Here are some guidelines for resolving these issues to improve the effectiveness of the facilitation workshop.
- Lack of participation
Sometimes students will not feel comfortable participating, either because they are shy or because they don’t feel like they have a good grasp of the course concepts. Peer facilitators can help prevent this issue by conducting an ice breaker during the first workshop, in which all of the students get to know each other better. Additionally, if there is silence or confusion during the workshop, the facilitator can ask individual students what their thoughts or concerns are with the material; this way, students will not feel pressured to come up with a specific answer.
- Differences in skill level
Generally, each student is at a slightly different skill level, and this can create issues if there is a large disparity of skill levels within the group. Sometimes, more knowledgeable students can be paired with less knowledgeable students in an effort to teach or explain the material to them. Other times, the workshop is more effective when students of equal skill levels are grouped together, which makes each student feel like he or she has a more active role.
- Too easy or too challenging group work
Problem sets or discussion topics can sometimes be too easy or too difficult for the group. Peer facilitators can work around these issues by breaking down tough problems into smaller pieces, or by asking deeper questions about simple concepts.
These tips should help improve the issues that can sometimes come up during workshops.