Improve Students’ English Proficiency and Job Opportunities


Open to all RPCVs

Activity/project background

This project with Colegio Técnico Profesional de Purral consists of generating a pilot plan to give students of the CTPP Industrial Electronics specialty the opportunity to interact virtually with English-speaking people to develop their communication skills and competencies in the language: using the knowledge base previously acquired through formal classes with the help of the teaching staff and using the cultural exchange to improve their ability to communicate and thereby increase their chances of job placement. This will be the first time this institution has worked with Peace Corps.

The student population who enrolls in the school are from a scarce resources background and because of this it is not uncommon for them to experience situations of abuse and intra-family aggression. This reality requires specialized attention from the institution's staff, to ensure the permanence and constancy of its students. Despite these disadvantageous situations, it is a population that is extremely affectionate and eager to improve. They hope that by obtaining their degrees from the institution, it will enables them to help support their families or even get out of extreme poverty, where many of them are currently.

While the role of a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) is different than a two year Volunteer, the students benefit from virtual interactions. This project will allow the students to improve their life skills when dealing with people from other countries. It will allow students to practice other languages and give them the opportunity to improve their job opportunities, in order to generate a direct impact on their families. Additionally, depending on the time available from the VSPP, they will also engage the teachers from English and electronics to help them improve conversational skills, which in turn will help their students.

Virtual service engagement and tasks

The VSPP will engage in the following tasks, in collaboration with their Host Country Partners:

• Co-develop and implement, with four English and electronics teachers from CTPP, a series of 1-2 workshops for 15 to 35 12th year students (ages 17-20). These workshops will consist of activities that promote the Industrial Electronics students ability to express themselves in the English language. Workshops will be 1-2 hours each
• Co-facilitate subgroups of 3-4 students to develop activities that promote the ability for students to express themselves in the English language
• Facilitate a weekly 2 hour session for at least 2 electronic teachers and 2 English teachers to improve their English Conversational proficiency and their English instruction techniques. Time required for this activity will depend on the number of participants available for this position

This engagement is expected to be approximately 24 weeks. VSPPs are expected to engage on the tasks listed above for an estimated 8-15 hours per week.

Meetings between VSPPs and Host Country Counterparts will take place during normal office hours, 7:00 am – 4:30 pm Costa Rica time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Microsoft Teams 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
Technical Skills: Intermediate skills in pedagogy

Language: Intermediate Spanish

• Two years’ experience teaching adolescents
• Experience working with teachers, students, and other groups associated with schools

Intercultural skills and motivation: Flexibility, 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: TEFL or TEOSL Certificate

Technical Skills:
• Knowledge of electronics technical vocabulary in English
• Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication

• Three years’ experience teaching adolescents
• Experience working with population from urban-marginal sectors

Partner background

Name: Colegio Técnico Profesional de Purral, Ministry of Eduacation

Type of entity: Government

Mission and goals:

The Colegio Tecnico Profesional de Purral opened its doors to students in the community in 1996 as a regular high school. Years later, it became a professional technical high school to provide quality job opportunities for the educational community in general.

Mission: They are a work team committed to making the high school the most efficient, transparent and innovative in the country; responsible for promoting integral and sustainable human development, maintaining our traditions, customs, and cultural heritage

Vision: To achieve excellence in local administration and the provision of educational services, providing adequate use of public funds in a transparent, participatory and sustainable way, promoting the highest socio-cultural values that characterize the Goicoechea canton

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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