Students’ progressing to tertiary (undergrad or higher) level education often faces problems due to the change in the educational settings that may directly or indirectly…
Students’ progressing to tertiary (undergrad or higher) level education often faces problems due to the change in the educational settings that may directly or indirectly affect their studies and interim results. In addition, they may suffer from low self-esteem, which in turn may result from another set of issues such as negative peers, past poor results, unable to get into a school of choice and so on. Those who have to live away from home to attend a university could have their own set of problems. To provide support many universities have counseling offices to help the students tackle their problems. The counseling officers often give repeated appointments in an attempt to help solve these problems. At the university where the research was conducted, more than 75 percent of the students come from a rural background. These are students who, for the purposes of acquiring their tertiary-level education, have had to move to the city, away from their family. These students are known to have problems such as adjusting to urban life, missing home, managing all household chores by themselves, even a culture shock given the nature of urban life and so on, all of which may affect their studies. Unfortunately, the university under study does not employ a student counselor to look after students coming from rural areas. Therefore, to support such students it was thought that a peer counseling session might help the students help themselves.
A workshop using a collaborative approach to help students solve their own problems was designed and conducted. From three different departments, 78 students with a low Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA < 2.50 out of 4.0) participated in the problem-solving workshop. The students were guided in a collaborative environment where individual problems were first identified anonymously by working in pairs and possible solutions were presented by the students themselves by working in collaborative groups.
The paper proposes a performance-improving model to reduce the dropout rate and ensure graduation with a better CGPA. After six semesters of the intervention, the performance of the participating students was compared against the students with similar profile who did not attend the workshop. The perception of effectiveness of the collaborative guidance model was also measured by taking feedback from students.
The collaborative approach seems to benefit students by empowering them to think on their own to solve study-related problems by themselves. To become a standardized procedure, however, more rigorous testing across a greater cross section and number of subjects would be helpful. This paper provides an initial study of the methodology for further study and use.
As the collaborative approach purely involves peers, it benefits students by empowering them to solve study-related problems by themselves and indirectly help self-esteem development.