English Education and Community Development

Project Description

Mongolia, known as the land of blue sky, is the least densely populated country in the world. Home to the rolling steppe and a rich tradition of a nomadic, herding lifestyle, Mongolia now delicately balances its grassland roots with its rapidly developing cities. The people of Mongolia want to direct their own advancement and consider the Peace Corps philosophy, which emphasizes the capacity-building of local people, as beneficial for the country’s development. Essentially, Volunteers help host country organizations meet their needs by providing assistance with technical skills or knowledge. As a Volunteer, you are expected to work in the area of English education and community development, which are two of the Mongolian government's top priorities. Mongolian people think that English is the key to thousands of doors; in other words, English represents the gate to the world.

The Mongolian government and Peace Corps Mongolia are partnering to enhance the quality of English instruction by teaching English to students in secondary schools, colleges and universities, improving the training of English teachers, and developing and strengthening English language learning resources. Additionally, by utilizing English education as a “gateway” to connect with the larger community, Volunteers will have the opportunity to work alongside a spectrum of community partners and other stakeholders from various development disciplines to more effectively and holistically assess, prioritize, and address needs using community driven tools & solutions.

English Education & Community Development Volunteers are partnered with a Mongolian counterpart and depending on the specific needs and goals of the assigned school, will develop & implement teacher and student focused capacity building strategies. Outside of the classroom, and over time, Volunteers and identified community members will work with youth, facilitating extracurricular activities based on the needs of the community such as clubs, camps, and mentoring programs to promote leadership and life skills.

As community trust progresses, Volunteers will be equipped to more actively and effectively contribute their unique professional backgrounds, skill sets, interests and talents to the broader community, utilizing English language teaching and capacity building as a gateway to an improved and more nuanced community mobilization and integration.

The English Education project is the longest lasting Peace Corps project in Mongolia, reflecting the priority of English Education by the Government of Mongolia. In 1992 the Mongolian Ministry of Education, Culture and Science adopted a resolution whereby English, along with Russian, was declared one of the main foreign languages to be taught in all educational institutions. A holistic focus on multi-sectoral community development was added to the core English Education program to better meet the goals of the Government of Mongolia, Peace Corps, the needs of counterparts and community partners. Volunteers will continue to leverage the existing strength of the English Education program to reach underserved communities around the country and further develop the English language skills and capacity of teachers, students, and community stakeholders.

Peace Corps Mongolia’s English program has evolved over the years to continually meet the needs of an evolving Mongolia. The latest approach (English Education and Community Development) is designed to encourage Volunteers to venture beyond the initial school/university/technical school placement requirements to more fully integrate into their community of service and better educate themselves on the complexities and needs of the community prior to engaging in longer term sustainable development intervention planning and partnering. As each Volunteer site is unique, the possibilities for community development opportunities varies. Separate and apart from the many camp and club opportunities that exist in each community, Volunteers conduct an intensive community assessment once they arrive at their sites, and over time, identify and work with other stakeholders to develop strategies and projects for appropriate development interventions specific to the needs of that community.

As examples, Volunteers have co-developed and co-implemented business & income generating projects, instituted art therapy projects, taught tour operators tailored English classes to provide specific English vocabulary related to tourism, provided focused life skills & health classes to identified underserved and/or at risk community groups, created, co led, and promoted various community Volunteerism related projects, worked with community and national partners to develop environmental focused projects, worked on snow leopard conservation campaigns with NGO partners, promoted gender equality through targeted youth education outreach efforts, promoted & expanded career knowledge and career opportunities for students living in the vast rural countryside, and worked to bring learning, sports, and equality opportunities to community members with disabilities.

Peace Corps began its program in Mongolia in 1991, the same year the United States Embassy opened in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. There are currently approximately 2,500 Mongolian English teachers working in secondary schools. The skill levels of English teachers are varied, particularly in the countryside, where there is a significant shortage of both skilled teachers and relevant resources. Your input in implementing the objectives of the Mongolian government and the Peace Corps is essential to the success of Mongolia. Should you be selected, you will be a member of the 33rd group of Volunteers to serve in Mongolia.

COVID-19 Volunteer Activities

As a Volunteer, you will be trained in how to best protect yourself from COVID-19 exposure and understand the impact of and steps to reduce stigma related to COVID-19. You may also have the opportunity to engage with your community on implementing or enhancing COVID-19 mitigation activities, such as COVID-19 prevention and risk reduction strategies including social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, addressing myths and misconceptions related to these practices, and vaccine hesitancy. Activities will be tailored to address the COVID-19 circumstances in the communities where you will serve.

Required Skills

Competitive candidates will have the following:
• A Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline and a strong desire to teach English
• Community development or volunteer experience in areas including, but not limited to, youth development, education, health, environment, and/or business (forming, managing, or mobilizing community groups, using participatory assessment tools, leading committees/community projects, project design and management, proposal writing, and fundraising)

Desired Skills

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• At least 30 hours of teaching or tutoring experience in English, literacy, or a foreign language, with primary, middle, or high school students or adults desired
• Experience in facilitating trainings
• Experience developing after school extracurricular programs or youth and adult camps to promote education or youth empowerment
• Master of Arts (MA) in English, English as a Foreign Language (EFL), Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), or Linguistics, MA/MAT in any foreign language
• 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
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education with concentration in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with secondary education state certification in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with classroom teaching experience at the secondary level in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL and TESL, or foreign language
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL and TESL, or foreign language with 6 months classroom teaching experience at the secondary level in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL and TESL, or foreign language

Required Language Skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position. Volunteers will receive intense language learning during pre-service training (PST) as well as tutoring assistance after placement at their assigned sites. Please take a moment to explore the Language Comments section below to find out more on how local language(s) will be utilized during service.

Volunteers utilize the Mongolian language extensively in their school and community work. Trainees will receive 11 weeks of intense instruction in Mongolian and must obtain specific benchmarks of oral proficiency by the end of pre-service training. Peace Corps Mongolia provides multiple avenues and a high level of support for ongoing language learning after pre-service training including in-person language tutoring, online tutoring where available, and stipends for language learning materials. Given low levels of English proficiency in the communities where Volunteers will be serving, including among English-teaching counterparts, students, and host family members, Volunteers will be expected to increase their fluency in Mongolian over the course of their service. Learning Mongolian will greatly help Volunteers integrate into their community. It will also help demonstrate commitment to working side-by-side with Mongolian colleagues.

Living Conditions

Volunteers may be placed at sites located in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar and in surrounding provinces. In these areas, Volunteers will be placed in modest accommodations. Most sites are located either in a provincial town center (aimag in Mongolian) anywhere from 50 to almost 2,000 kilometers (31 to 1,240 miles) by road from the capital, or in provincial villages (soums) that are up to four hours by car from an aimag.

Serving in Mongolia

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

Couples Information

Couples may be separated during Pre-Service Training. Couples will, however, live together at their permanent site. Married couples may be separated during Pre-Service Training.

Medical Considerations

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.

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