English Co-Teaching and Critical Skills Facilitator-Higher Education

Before You Apply

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Project Description

English Co-Teaching and Critical Skills Facilitator - Higher Education Volunteers will be part of the Teaching English Leadership & Life Skills (TELLS) program. Volunteers will be placed in either high schools (MEDUCA) or universities (UDELAS) to support the training of future English teachers and the English proficiency of students from different focuses. This will help the Ministry of Education in their initiative to provide bilingual education to all students in Panama and will help better prepare Panamanians to be competitive in the global workplace.

The Volunteer’s focus will vary depending on the institution in which they are placed. Examples of potential priorities include providing conversational English classes for interested groups of students, visiting university extensions, and giving seminars on teaching methodologies to professors and students. Volunteers will work to give professional development opportunities to the English professors they work with, and may help with co-planning and co-teaching, observation and feedback, curriculum development, assessment tools, developing didactic materials, or designing and facilitating teacher workshops and seminars. Volunteers may also work on leadership and professional skills development opportunities for students.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:

• Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in English, Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), English as a Second Language (ESL), Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), foreign language, or Applied Linguistics
• Master of Education (M.Ed.) with graduate or undergraduate concentration in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language
• BA/BS degree in Secondary Education with concentration in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language.
• BA/BS degree in any discipline with secondary education state certification in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language.
• BA/BS degree in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL and TESL, or foreign language with at least 6 months classroom teaching experience at the secondary level in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language
• BA/BS degree in any discipline with classroom teaching experience at the secondary level in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL and TESL, or foreign language.

Desired Skills

Competitive candidates will demonstrate the following skills:

• More than 6 months teaching experience in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL and TESL, or foreign language in a higher education setting.
• Experience co-teaching in a formal school setting and respecting the educational system’s rules and protocols
• Experience developing and facilitating training for teachers
• Curriculum development experience
• Experience coaching teachers (observation and feedback skills)
• Public speaking and presentation skills
• Conversational Spanish Language Skills
• High level of self-initiative and self-direction, mixed with a good sense of humor

Required Language Skills

Candidates must meet one or more of the language requirements below in order to be considered for this position.

A. Completed 4 years of high school Spanish coursework within the past 8 years
B. Completed minimum 2 semesters of Spanish college‐level coursework within the past 6 years
C. Native/fluent speaker of Spanish

Candidates who do not meet the language proficiency levels above can take the language placement exams to demonstrate their level of proficiency. Competitive applicants typically attain a score of 50 on the Spanish College Level Examination Program CLEP exam or a score of Novice‐High on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL OPI).

Volunteers need to demonstrate an Intermediate-mid level of oral and written proficiency in Spanish for community placement by the end of Pre-Service Training.

Living Conditions

All Volunteers will be in Spanish-speaking communities. Most Volunteers will be placed in semi-urban or urban settings. Volunteers may live in a common Panamanian-style home made of simple concrete block and cement floors or in an adobe structure with dirt floors, depending on the level of development in the community. Volunteers are required to live with host-families during the first three months of service. After these three months, they may opt to live on their own in pre-approved local housing that meets Peace Corps/Panama’s housing criteria.

Volunteers may be invited to work at university extensions in rural communities. If the volunteer is interested they could make connections in these communities and stay the night at a family’s house.

Food and Diet:
The Panamanian diet varies according to the region and the ethnic makeup of the population. Most often the diet consists of rice, beans, bananas or plantains, yucca (cassava), and corn. Rice and beans (kidney beans, lentils, and black-eyed peas) is the staple dish. Corn is served in many guises but is usually ground, boiled, or fried. Sancocho is a traditional dish (somewhere between a soup and a stew) prepared with a variety of vegetables and chicken. Most rural areas have an array of fruits available, including mangoes, papayas, pineapples, avocados, oranges, and guanábanas (soursops). The availability of garden vegetables, such as tomatoes, sweet peppers, and cucumbers, varies according to the region and the season. The most common meats are chicken and beef, which are often deep-fried or stewed. Fish is available sporadically in coastal regions and riverside communities. Larger towns and cities have at least one restaurant that will be familiar, such as McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway, or Dairy Queen.

Some Volunteers are vegetarians, but few Panamanians follow these diets. Many volunteers start a garden in their community, and sometimes buy food in Panama City or a provincial capital. Most have supermarkets where you can buy a wide variety of foods and imported goods.

Computer and Internet Access:
Internet access in Panama is spreading. All provincial capitals and other large towns have internet cafes. Universities and some schools have internet. Connection speeds tend to be slow, but the service is reasonably priced and otherwise reliable. Internet access for Volunteers is available at the Peace Corps/Panama office. Almost all volunteers have a computer or tablet. Should you choose to bring electronics, it is your responsibility to maintain and insure it.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Panama: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety — including crime statistics [PDF] — in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Couples Information

Panama is happy to accommodate cross-sector couples, as well as same-sector couples. We will identify communities with sufficient work opportunities for both volunteers. Your partner can apply and must qualify for:

English Co-Teacher and Life Skills Facilitator, or
Environmental Education Volunteer

During Pre-Service Training, couples will live in separate homes, which will help improve language learning as well as cultural integration. During their service, they will live together first with a host family and then on their own. Couples will be placed in medium to large communities, to ensure sufficient work is available for both volunteers. Same-sector couples would be placed in larger communities while cross-sector couples would be placed in more rural communities.

Medical Considerations in Panama

  • Panama may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: ongoing counseling.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: none identified. 
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: none identified.
  • After arrival in Panama, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot, to take daily or weekly medication to prevent malaria, and to receive mandatory immunizations.

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the clearance process and other health conditions that are difficult to accommodate in Peace Corps service.

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