Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Teacher

Before You Apply

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Project Description

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 learning goals of TEFL Volunteers while serving the project goals and needs in the Beninese context. 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.

The primary goals of Volunteers in TEFL Certificate programs are (1) building counterpart teacher capacity by facilitating teaching Communities of Practice and co-teaching classes, (2) improving student achievement in English and (3) encouraging community engagement in school improvement and student learning.

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

• Writing lesson plans, quizzes, and exams;
• Teaching 4-5 middle school English classes per year with class sizes ranging from 40-70 students using student-centered teaching methods to encourage critical thinking and prepare students for national examinations;
• Collaborating with local teachers by co-planning and co-teaching;
• Motivating students to learn English and introducing creative thinking techniques that integrate themes such as malaria prevention, food security, hygiene & sanitation, and gender equity;
• Helping students practice their English skills;
• Participating in weekly faculty meetings, grading and supervising exams;
• Participating in six online discussion sessions for TEFL certification;
• Working with parents and community members (PTAs) to increase their awareness of education and their connection to the school;
• Creating and facilitating an English club, as well as other extracurricular/secondary activities.

Extracurricular/Secondary Activities
Secondary activities can greatly enhance your Volunteer experience initiating projects outside your primary assignment. Depending on the needs of your community, you may:
• Plant a garden promoting greater food security;
• Paint wall murals with health messages at the local health center;
• Help in the distribution of mosquito nets and give awareness sessions to students and the community;
• Design and implement summer camps.

Pre-Departure Assignments
The required Pre-Departure assignments start three months before invitees’ arrival and take place on LearningSpace, an online portal. Invitees take four training modules as part of the Certificate requirements and submit assignments for grading and feedback. These modules offer invitees opportunities to have a general ideas about teaching and provides them with helpful teaching skills and classroom strategies to become effective TEFL teachers.

Gender Activities
Peace Corps promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges in Benin will have the opportunity to implement appropriate gender-related activities. This may include summer camps, clubs, sports teams, etc.

Required Skills

Qualified 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) and or 30 hours of experience tutoring in English, a foreign language or literacy. Strong candidates will also have specific experience working with middle school and high school aged students in inner-city or rural school communities or general youth development.

Required Language Skills

Romance Language - 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 coursework within the past 8 years in a Romance language
B. Completed a minimum of 2 semesters of college level coursework within the past 6 years in a Romance language
C. Native/Fluent Romance language speaker
Candidates with rudimentary romance language skills should have either a willingness to take a French course or commitment to self‐study pre-departure.

Upon arrival, you will be tested on your French ability for language class placement. At the completion of Pre-Service Training you will be required to reach a proficiency level of Intermediate High. If you are an experienced French speaker and test at a higher level from the beginning of PST, you will begin learning Fon, a local language widely spoken in Benin. At your assignment site, you are strongly encouraged to learn the local language spoken (this may or not be Fon). Peace Corps will provide you with resources (suggesting a local language tutor and fee reimbursement) for your continued language learning.

Living Conditions

Volunteers serving in Benin are assigned to sites throughout the country, in a variety of settings: semi-urban centers, rural towns and villages. Housing is provided by the host organization; Peace Corps staff visit and assess all housing prior to trainees arrival. Volunteers’ houses may vary in size and amenities, but all comply with Peace Corps standards for Safety and Security. Houses are normally located in a compound with other families. A typical house for a Volunteer will have one main room, a bedroom, kitchen area, and a private shower and latrine. In more rural areas, you will most likely not have running water or electricity. Access to fruits, vegetables, and proteins will also vary by region and season.

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.

Benin has some restrictive laws that target certain sexual acts. Volunteers will need to be mindful of cultural norms and country-specific laws, and use their best judgment to determine how to approach topics related to 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.

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.

Couples Information

Benin is always eager to accept couples whenever possible. Your partner must qualify and apply for:

Health Extension Volunteer (RCH)

Couples will train in separate locations and live with separate homestays. Couples will see each other once a week during CORE days (joint-sector training days) where all trainees will receive full group sessions.

Going through the Peace Corps experience as a couple allows for ample growth in trust, confidence, and communication. There will be times when you will both need each other’s support. Understand that you will need to put in an extra effort to be an ally to your partner. Although you will not be able to completely eradicate many of these challenges, they can be coped with and overcome with time, patience, and a most importantly a good sense of humor.

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 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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