Enhance Students’ Cross-Cultural English Communication Skills


Open to all RPCVs

Activity/project background

Partner: Verkhnyodniprovsk Lyceum # 1 (Government)

Verkhnyodniprovsk Lyceum #1 is a school in Ukraine with a mission to educate all students to reach the highest levels of academic achievement and expand their potential. Its in-depth English language learning environment encourages students to enhance their English language communication skills, develop social-cultural competence, and use digital technologies to integrate with modern society.

Verkhnyodniprovsk Lyceum #1 seeks the support of a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) in improving the speaking skills and cross-cultural awareness of 23 motivated students participating in the school’s English club. Club meetings will occur weekly with students for 60 minutes. The VSPP will work alongside a Ukrainian counterpart to prepare lessons and facilitate sessions. The VSPP will touch upon cross-cultural topics such as culture, family and social life, school, teenage life, modern technologies, and environmental protection to build up students’ cultural competences and understanding of the cultures of English-speaking countries specifically the U.S.

Verkhnyodniprovsk Lyceum #1 has previously worked with Peace Corps Volunteers. They understand that role of a VSPP is very different than a two-year Volunteer.

Virtual service engagement and tasks

The VSPP will engage in the following tasks, in collaboration with their Host Country Partners:
• Co-plan and co-develop session plans and curriculum
• Co-teach English language skills and American culture to a group of 23 students weekly for one hour. English clubs will take place from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Kyiv, Ukraine time.
• Co-develop and adapt teaching resources on American culture (sports, youth life, cuisine, healthcare, mass media, social network sites, art and culture, education, etc.)
• Co-analyze results of classes and identify priority learning objectives each week.

This engagement is expected to be approximately 12 weeks. VSPP is expected to engage in the tasks listed above for an estimated 5-15 hours per week.

Meetings between VSPPs and Host Country Counterparts will take place during normal office hours, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Ukraine time. As noted above, English Clubs will meet from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Ukraine standard time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to email, Zoom, and phone for regular communication and collaboration.

Per the Child Protection Code of Conduct, when engaging online with minors (0-18), two adults must be present.

Optional additional activities

The Peace Corps mission is to promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals:

  1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
  2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
  3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

Goal 1 will be achieved through the VSPP's engagement and completion of the above tasks. The counterpart and VSPP may also choose to identify an activity that aligns with Goal 2. Additionally, the VSPP may identify a Goal 3 activity to implement during their engagement. See recommendations and tools for Goal 3 activities.

Essential qualifications

Education: Bachelor’s degree in any field or relevant certification: TEFL, TESOL, Cambridge, or similar

Experience: 1 year teaching experience

Intercultural skills and motivation: Flexible, strong cross-cultural agility, high tolerance for ambiguity, able to work independently, resourceful, creative, and genuinely motivated and capable to serve virtually

Desired qualifications

Education: Master's degree with a concentration on secondary education or with concentration in: English, TEFL/TESOL/ESL/TESL, Foreign language

Technical Skills: Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication

Experience: 3 years teaching secondary school OR 3 years TEFL/TESOL teaching experience in the U.S.A. or abroad

Terms and conditions of engagement

VSPPs will be engaging with the host country partner, in coordination with Peace Corps post staff, remotely from the US. They should have access to a computer, internet, and telephone in order to enable direct engagement with the Peace Corps overseas office and the Host Country Counterpart assigned by the host country partner.

Orientation with the host country partner will be provided, within the designated virtual service hours, during the first week of virtual service via an online presentation and discussion. The host country partner will provide an overview of its organization, the local context, and how they envision collaborating with the VSPP.

The VSPP will have regular check-ins with their counterpart and bi-weekly check-ins with Peace Corps staff. Spending unstructured time with counterparts can be critical to relationship-building and is encouraged through activities such as coffee chats and informal calls within the weekly 5-15 hours.

Engagement-specific safety and security

The VSPP will receive an orientation on Peace Corps’ Child Protection Policy and how it relates to online engagement along with IT security best practices. The VSPP will be expected to follow safety and security guidelines for online engagement to ensure their safety and that of the Host Country Partner and their counterpart, and any beneficiaries of the engagement.

Supervision requirements

The VSPP will report to a designated Peace Corps staff member. The VSPP will be expected to abide by the Virtual Service Pilot Participant and Donation Agreement and Participant Principles of Engagement. The VSPP will also be expected to check in with the designated host country counterpart as assigned by the host county partner.

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