Enhance Classroom English Language Instruction

Activity/project background

Partner: Liqa Boarding School (Community-based Organization)

Liqa Boarding School is a community-based organization supported and managed under the Wolayita Development Association in Ethiopia. The association conducts fundraising events within and outside Wolayita region to support the Liqa Boarding School and other community development programs. Liqa Boarding School is an elite school that recruits only high scoring students from across the region.

Among the many challenges that the school is facing in its day-to-day academic work is the limited command of the English language. High school teachers are supposed to deliver lessons in English. Unfortunately, teachers of all subjects, including English, fail to sustain their instruction in English and resort to using the vernacular language (maternal language) after a few minutes of lesson introduction. Teachers find it easier to use and sense that students comprehend lessons better when instruction is done in the vernacular language. However, this practice may be putting students at a disadvantage when they received scholarships and attend overseas universities that teach only in English. Liqa Boarding School staff would like to improve their instruction methods to offer their students English-only classes.

Liqa Boarding School is requesting the support of a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) to assist teachers to improve their ability to use English when teaching their classes.

The Liqa Boarding School has not previously worked with a Peace Corps Volunteer or a Virtual Service Pilot Participant. They understand that the 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-assess English language use in the classroom by getting to know the teachers and soliciting how and in what way they use English in classes, their challenges, and why they resort to using the vernacular (maternal language) to instruct students
• Co-design lesson plans and activities based upon the assessment to reinforce use of English throughout each lesson
• Suggest alternative strategies whereby use of the vernacular language can be minimized, and the target language (English) can be maximized
• Assess performance and progress in sessions and give feedback to boost their performance

This engagement is expected to be approximately 26 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, 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. Ethiopia standard time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Zoom and WhatsApp for virtual engagement and 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

• Bachelor’s degree in English Language teaching or related field OR
• TEFL/TESOL/TESL certification

Experience: 1 year of English teaching experience in schools

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

• Master’s degree in education, OR
• Certification in TEFL/TESOL/TESL

Technical Skills:
• Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication
• Teaching skills and good knowledge of interactive methodologies

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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