Working with peer educators has been one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching at Santa Clara. Over the past three years, they have improved the quality of education for students in both my Critical Thinking and Writing classes, as well as my Business Ethics classes. Peer educators offer invaluable opportunities for me to learn from students’ perspectives and to reflect on my own teaching. This helps improve my teaching as well as our students’ learning experiences, in numerous ways: new assignments, improved quizzes and other assessments, revised and updated syllabi, plus fresh ideas about how to present material.
Peer educators also help students directly by editing student drafts, leading discussions, study-groups and review sessions, team-teaching with me, and representing increased diversity at the front of the classroom. In all these activities, peer educators serve as an overall second resource for students, some of whom may be more comfortable asking for help from a fellow student than a faculty member. In all, I believe the peer-educator program is not only an asset to students and to me, but also an asset to the peer educators themselves, who enrich their own knowledge while building their skills as communicators and educators.