Support English Conversation Clubs for Youth and Adults

Eligibility

Open to all RPCVs

Activity/project background

The first American Corner in Armenia opened in April 2005 with the inauguration of the Yerevan American Corner in partnership with the Yerevan City Central Library. There are now four additional American Corners in Armenia, located in Gyumri, Vanadzor, Charentsavan and Kapan. Through this TEFL Virtual Service Project (VSP), PC Armenia will partner with all five American Corners in Armenia to support English language conversation clubs for community members.

English conversation clubs target adult learners with a pre-intermediate level of English who wish to develop their English language communication skills. There are many students among the beneficiaries who already study English at universities or attend language schools and don’t get sufficient practice. Club sessions are also open to all the adults who have some command of English and would like to develop their English language communication skills or boost their employability. Club sessions take place weekly, and the average number of participants is 10-20. Though participants may vary from one club session to another, there is also an established group of patrons who participate in almost all the sessions. Since January 2022, given the retreat of COVID-19 in Armenia, American Corners have been offering conversation clubs in double format, online and offline. VSPPs facilitate club sessions online via Zoom.

PC Armenia has already had one successful VSP experience with an AC. In 2021, three VSPPs were engaged in conducting conversation clubs at the Kapan American Corner. Based on the success of the first virtual partnership experience, the American Corners are requesting VSPP support for clubs at all five American Corners; two VSP Participants (VSPPs) will be assigned to each site. The partner are well aware that the nature of virtual service is different than a two year Volunteer. However, the VSPPs’ engagement in the AC conversation clubs supports PC Armenia’s TEFL Project goal: students will attain communication skills in English necessary to access academic and professional opportunities, and strengthen the bridges between American and Armenia cultures.

Virtual service engagement and tasks

The VSPP will engage in the following tasks, in collaboration with their Host Country Partners:
• Prior to the launch of teaching, have an initial meeting with club patrons to assess their needs and interests.
• Co-plan and design 10 conversation club sessions relevant to the needs and interests of club participants.
• Co-teach one sixty-minute online English language conversation club session for American Corners in Armenia on a weekly basis.
• Attend bi-weekly check-in meetings with their counterpart and Peace Corps TEFL staff to monitor the project.

This engagement is expected to be approximately 12 weeks. VSPPs are expected to engage on 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, Armenia Time (UTC +4). Specific times will be determined during orientation. The club session hours will be adjusted to the VSPPs’ time zones.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Zoom, a laptop, email, and Facebook Messenger 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

Experience: 1 year of TEFL classroom 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 of arts OR
• Certificate in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)

Technical Skills:
• Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication

Experience:
• Experience in developing teaching resources
• Experience in using technology in the classroom to enhance English proficiency of students
• Experience in teaching English to youth and adults through conversation

Partner background

Name: American Corners in Armenia

Type of entity: Community-based Organization

Mission and goals:

The mission of American Corners is to make information about the United States available to foreign publics at large. Hosted in embassies, schools, libraries, and other partner institutions worldwide, American Corners are welcoming environments where visitors can connect and learn about the United States through programs, lectures, books, movies, and magazines. Their activities include educational and cultural programs, access to English-language learning (courses, clubs, public talks and resources), and interaction with alumni of U.S. universities and U.S. government exchange programs.

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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