Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Teacher

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Project Description

A Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Volunteer's primary duties will entail:

• Developing lesson plans and teaching up to 200 students per year so that they will be prepared for the following year of study and the national examination;

• Designing lesson plans and team-teaching with host country national teachers on a weekly basis;

• Motivating students to learn English and introducing creative thinking techniques and integrating important themes such as malaria prevention, food security, hygiene and sanitation, in and outside of class;

• Helping students find ways to put into practice their English skills in daily life;

• Developing and introducing new texts, materials, and teaching aids based on locally available materials affordable to the school and the students;

• Participating in weekly faculty meetings, grading tests and supervising students;

• Participating in six Online Learning Community discussion sessions with other Volunteers;

• Creating and facilitating an English club in the secondary school and facilitating extracurricular activities, involving students’ participation in school improvement projects and implementing at least one activity or project per academic year.

Your primary responsibility will be to teach and team-teach with at least two Beninese counterparts 16 to 18 hours a week in a school with grades equivalent to the American 6th to 8th grade levels. Other hours will be devoted to extra-curricular activities and school-wide projects. You and your school administration will determine your schedule at the beginning of the school year. General school hours are 7:00-12:00 and 15:00-19:00, Monday through Friday with some schools having sessions on Saturday as well. Extracurricular activities will generally occur within these hours as well.

Volunteers will participate in Peace Corps’ newly-developed TEFL training program which allows them to earn a Peace Corps TEFL Certificate upon successful completion of program requirements. This program provides 120 hours of standardized training and practice teaching along with two years of supervised teaching experience framed through quarterly online learning events facilitated by post staff. This training is designed to respond to the goals of TEFL Volunteers. The Certificate program is validated by the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, DC. The US State Department and the English language learning sector worldwide have touted Peace Corps’ TEFL Certificate program as a high-quality, game-changing credential. Peace Corps TEFL Programming staff will observe and evaluate you four times during your service using the Teaching Proficiency Index as part of the TEFL certificate program.

Peace Corps Benin promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges in your country and you will have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During your service, you will look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency. As part of your work, you will also report on these efforts and their impact.

Required Skills

• Competitive candidates will have a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline and a strong desire to teach English

Desired Skills

Competitive candidates will have three months, 10 hours/month, or 30 hours of English, foreign language, or literacy tutoring experience with primary, middle, or high school students or adults.

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 French coursework within the past 8 years
B. Completed 2 semesters of French college‐level coursework within the past 6 years
C. Native/fluent speaker of French

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 French College Level Examination Program CLEP exam or a score of Novice‐High on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL OPI).

Additional Language Information

As French is the official language of Benin, all governmental bodies use French as the primary language. Candidates with strong French skills will begin learning a local language during Pre-service training (PST). All candidates are required to start learning French prior to arrival. By the end of PST, all Volunteers are required to reach a level of Intermediate High in French.

Living Conditions

Volunteers serving in Benin are assigned to sites throughout the country, in a variety of settings: semi-urban centers, rural towns or villages. Housing may vary, but all comply with Peace Corps standards for Safety and Security. In more rural areas, you will most likely not have running water or electricity. There are regional workstations with computers and Wi-Fi access.

Travel can be challenging and many of the roads and means of public transportation are in poor condition. Rural travel is mostly by local taxi or motorbikes used as taxis. Peace Corps provides you with training how to safely ride a motorbike as a passenger. Peace Corps also provides Volunteers with a mountain bike, which may be the principal means of transportation around your work zone. Since this may require considerable physical exertion on the part of the Volunteer, you should be in reasonably good shape or at least willing to improve your physical fitness to meet this work demand.

Peace Corps Volunteers are expected to respect Beninese cultural norms, and exercise sound judgment and great discretion in carrying out private sides of their lives during their service. While Benin is generally tolerant, values and mores concerning sexual orientation and gender identity may be different from those in the U.S. Volunteers will need to be mindful of cultural norms, and use their judgment to determine the best way to approach sexual orientation and gender identity in their communities and host countries. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address this topic during pre-service training, and identify support mechanisms for incoming trainees. Please refer to the Local Laws and Special Circumstances of the U.S. Department of State’s travel page for more information.

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

Medical Considerations in Benin

  • Benin may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: asthma, including mild or childhood; dermatology; gastroenterology; some types of gynecologic support; insulin-dependent diabetes; mammography; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; seizure disorder; 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:  gluten, peanuts, and shellfish. 
  • After arrival in Benin, 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 also review Important Medical Information for Applicants [PDF] to learn about other health conditions typically not supported in Peace Corps service.

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