P585: Peer supplemental instruction for General Chemistry I
At Warren Wilson College (Asheville, NC), we have implemented a program in our General Chemistry I course that we call Peer Supplemental Instruction, or PSI (Ψ). The program is adapted primarily from the model of Peer-Led Team Learning by David K. Gosser et al. General Chemistry I students are assigned to sections of 8-10 students that meet on a weekly basis in the evening for 75-minute sessions. These are not tutoring or recitation sessions: rather, these sessions are designed to teach students how to organize ideas (e.g. through the use of concept maps), to evaluate the process of solving a problem (through exercises designed to facilitate reflection), and to develop collaborative skills. Participation in these sessions is included in the General Chemistry grade; we have also begun to observe a positive correlation between PSI participation and exam score. Each PSI section is led by a specially selected student (who may or may not be a chemistry major) who has strong leadership skills and an interest in teaching. PSI leaders enroll in a 1-credit Special Topics Course that meets weekly. This provides a forum for discussing administrative issues, and PSI leaders are given an introduction to pedagogical topics such as Bloom’s taxonomy and metacognition. Student leaders write three reflections over the course of the semester that they can ultimately use to draft a Teaching Philosophy; they also write a few new-and often excellent-problems for the PSI sessions.