Mentor Secondary Teachers to Improve Biology Teaching Skills

Activity/project background

Partner: Dekwwoah School of Excellence (D-Wise) (Private Organization)

Dekwwoah International School of Excellence (D-WISE) in Liberia is a model international school operating from K-12 which aims to assist the Ministry of Education (MoE) in addressing the gaps in the provision of relevant quality education affecting the education sector of Liberia. D-WISE strives to provide learners with high-quality, skill-based learning experiences, inspired by a top-notched learner-centered curriculum and teaching while also providing exceptional care for children in support of the fulfillment of their potential.

The school currently enrolls approximately 500 students a year from different communities in and around Paynesville. Based on the school’s expressed desire to provide learners with high quality competency-based learning experiences, inspired by a top-notched learner-centered curriculum and teaching, D-WISE seeks a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) to provide coaching and mentoring to its biology teachers in the senior levels and to strengthen the biology curriculum and classroom delivery strategies.

D-WISE has previously worked with VSPPs. 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:

• Collaborate with the principal and curriculum specialist to develop a teaching manual for biology
• Mentor or coach biology teachers to improve lesson presentation using appropriate aids and experiments
• Mentor or coach biology teachers to improve teaching and learning

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, 8:00 a.m. -4:00 p.m. Liberia time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to WhatsApp, Zoom, and email 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 biology or related sciences

• 2 years of teaching experience in a recognized formal school system
• Experience teaching biology to high school students

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 in biology or related sciences

Technical Skills:
• Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication
• Familiarity with mentoring other in subject experiments
• Familiarity with the use of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, visual or related programs

• Experience in lesson planning, lesson presentation, classroom management, and science lab usage
• Experience working in a low-resource education system

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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