““In high school I couldn’t keep up academically with the so called ‘normal’ kids, so everyone else was lumped in together in the ‘special’ classes, even thought there existed a wide range of learning disabilities. I could never find a happy medium where I could learn at my own pace, until I got to Curry.”
Holden Kepecs '85
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Program for Advancement of Learning (PAL) Courses
- PAL 1180 - Summer PAL (3 credits)
- PAL 1190 - The Learning Process I:Exploration, Insight, and Application (1.5 credits)
- PAL 1200 - The Learning Process II: Insight, Strategic Development, and Application (1.5 credits)
- PAL 1210 - Applied Strategic Learning I (no credit)
- PAL 1220 - Applied Strategic Learning II (no credit)
LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR STUDENTS ENROLLED IN PAL COURSES
The Program for the Advancement of Learning (PAL) provides instruction in learning theory, individualized support, and assistance to college students with learning differences by focusing on students' unique strengths as they become competent, effective, independent learners through heightened self-awareness and knowledge of the learning process.
I. PERSONAL AGENCY SKILLS
Students will define and explain their preferred learning styles, strengths and challenges, as well as the strategies (e.g. for reading, writing, communicating, test-taking) that support them; and, will explain ways they apply and reassess those strategies, as they engage in the metacognitive process of thinking about their own thinking.
Students will demonstrate self-knowledge by identifying personal goals that include appropriate academic accommodations and that include a time/materials management system; they will define a plan that incorporates an active and reflective mechanism for them to achieve those goals, through personal advocacy, and with openness to change.
C. ACTIVE AND ENGAGED LEARNING
Students will actively engage in their learning environment and personal life-learning. Students will identify connections and relationships they make between one's self and others as members of communities and will actively participate in shared activities or efforts where they demonstrate knowledge of their own and others' perspectives.
II. COGNITIVE AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS
- CRITICAL THINKING AND REASONING SKILLS
Students will demonstrate critical and creative thinking and reasoning skills that question and evaluate their own and others' assumptions about complex problems and will provide possible solutions.
- RECEPTIVE AND EXPRESSIVE LANGUAGE SKILLS
Students will demonstrate ways they understand visual, written, and auditory information and will demonstrate ways they authentically express personal ideas, thoughts, and feelings through written, verbal, or other expressive vehicles.
PAL begins with Summer PAL, an optional, but strongly recommended 3-credit experience for entering PAL college students, with a language-based learning disability, executive function disorders, and/or AD/HD, that takes place in the summer for accepted Curry/PAL students before fall classes begin. Students in Summer PAL are able to get a head start on understanding themselves as learners and developing skills that will help them to succeed in the fall. There are two Summer PAL options: An on-campus course where students live in residence halls on the Curry campus; and, an online course where students complete most of their assignments online. Only students who have been accepted to Curry and PAL are eligible to participate in Summer PAL.
Students enrolled in PAL are registered automatically for one PAL course, in addition to the other courses they select. In their first year, students enroll in PAL1190 in their first semester and PAL1200 in their second semester. These are credit-bearing courses (1.5 credits per course), which consist of a combination of individual and/or small group classes with students' PAL professors. PAL includes embedded instruction in students' academic coursework, and content course materials are frequently used for teaching learning strategies. In these sessions, students learn to find the tools they need for success by learning how they learn best. Students are expected to attend all scheduled PAL classes in order to earn a passing grade in PAL.
During the Curry online pre-registration process, deposited PAL students may choose to participate in a PAL Cohort where they meet regularly with a PAL professor who facilitates small, scheduled classes, and individual meetings, of first-year PAL students with similar academic interests, majors, and/or topics. These groups are designed to expand students' exploration and understanding of their interest areas, and/or their major. Many students will take similar courses with others in their cohort as a learning community where they also focus on their learning profiles and metacognitive strategies related to PAL learning outcomes. Students in these cohorts have the benefit of a PAL professor who is connected collaboratively with the content area professors, providing opportunities for shared resources and support for students. There is no additional charge for participating in a PAL Cohort since it is part of their PAL1190 first semester class.
Students are expected to make a commitment to attending PAL and reporting accurately about their performance in classes. Attendance in classes is critical for success at PAL and Curry. Students are asked to engage in thoughtful, meaningful reflection of their learning and be willing to work to improve their skills. If students require specialized content-area work they are advised to make appointments with tutors in the Academic Enrichment Center. If they require personal counseling, PAL professors refer the students to the Counseling Center.
ADULT CENTER at PAL (ACP) COURSES
Students who are non-traditional age students may enroll in the Adult Center at PAL (ACP) in the following courses:
Dr. Diane Webber recently received a fellowship from the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation. Dr. Webber will travel to Denmark, Sweden, and Norway in June 2016 to confer with Scandinavian colleagues about Bringing Active Learning to the College Classroom at the Universities of Copenhagen, Stockholm and Bergen.
The Institute on Learning Differences, a successful venture between the Education department and the Program for Advancement of Learning (PAL), gives students the opportunity to tap into the resources and knowledge of PAL faculty members and outside specialists to better understand the unique educational needs of students.