Projects in Tonga
Right now is a pivotal moment to serve in Tonga and Peace Corps Volunteers will have the opportunity to make a lasting impact on students, teachers, and their communities. The country is going through immense educational transformations amongst a renewed global focus on the Pacific. The Ministry of Education and Training and Peace Corps have built a strong partnership focused on improving education outcomes and have identified English as a national priority and Peace Corps as a necessary development partner in increased student achievement.
The English Language Development Project focuses on improving student achievement in English to help them gain access to academic and professional opportunities. Moreover, the project promotes inclusive and equitable education and, through changes in teaching practices, aims to address the need to develop students into lifelong learners. It is also a great professional and personal development opportunity for those interested in education, language, and culture in the Pacific.
As English Language Teachers and Facilitators, Volunteers will play multiple roles during their service to increase student achievement in English:
1) Teaching Students
Volunteers will teach oral and written English to primarily elementary-level students in a classroom setting. They will organize and facilitate extracurricular activities and events to improve language skills and proficiency via: direct teaching, pull-out groups, tutoring, and extra-curricular classes, events, and clubs such as drama, art, sports, and other recreational activities.
2) Supporting Teachers
Volunteers will work with local teachers to increase their English language capacity in general and their English teaching skills in particular. They will help teachers increase their proficiency in English and teaching via: model teaching, peer observations, learning materials development, and facilitating communities of practice. Communities of practice are informal or formal meetings to facilitate sharing and learning of best practices and areas for improvement in student-centered teaching methods, lesson planning, student assessments, and inclusive education.
3) Engaging the Community
Volunteers will organize and facilitate activities that increase community involvement in student learning in and out of the school. Activities include school fundraisers, contests, event planning, and tutoring home visits to involve parents in their children’s education and encourage parents to make time for learning at home.
Peace Corps Tonga’s English Language Development Project leverages activities that Volunteers and teachers have successfully implemented. Volunteers will engage in these activities using both formal and informal methods to best reach students, teachers, and community members in a complex cross-cultural context. While counterparts are an important part of Volunteers’ projects, Volunteers should also be aware that there are many times where they may be working alone in the classroom or community.
In addition to the main education-focused project, Volunteers often work in multiple secondary project areas. These areas include:
1) Library development and management
2) Youth leadership and life skills training
3) Environmental and disaster risk reduction-related infrastructure development
4) Community development activities.