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English Education/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 opening thousands of doors 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. Volunteers will help with 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 and 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 and 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 develops, Volunteers will be equipped to actively and effectively contribute their unique professional backgrounds, skill sets, interests, and talents to the broader community while 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, and 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 may vary. 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 been involved with the following projects: co-developing and co-implementing business and income generating projects, instituting art therapy projects, teaching tour operators tailored English classes to provide specific English vocabulary related to tourism, providing focused life skills and health classes to underserved and/or at risk community groups, creating, co-leading and promoting various community Volunteerism related projects, working with community and national partners to develop environmental focused projects, working on snow leopard conservation campaigns, promoting gender equality through targeted youth education outreach efforts, promoting and expanding career knowledge and career opportunities for students living in the vast rural countryside, and working 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 34th group of Volunteers to serve in Mongolia.

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 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 (PST). Peace Corps Mongolia provides multiple avenues and a high level of support for ongoing language learning after PST 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 in a provincial town center (“aimag” in Mongolian) anywhere from 30 to 550 miles by road from the capital. All Volunteers live independently in apartment buildings at their permanent site after Pre-Service Training (PST). Apartments are generally between two to 15 stories. Volunteers are not placed in apartments on the first floor. A typical apartment will include a living / sleeping area, cooking area and a bathroom. Apartments will have hot and cold water, central heating, internet access, and electricity. Cell phone coverage in Mongolia is widespread.

While being a vegetarian in Mongolia is possible, the traditional diet still relies heavily on meat, animal fat, flour, and dairy products. It can be difficult culturally to refuse meat and dairy products when offered. Maintaining a vegan diet will be extremely difficult while living in Mongolia, and it is recommended to adjust dietary restrictions as plant protein can be impossible to find outside of major cities.

Mongolia has extreme weather conditions, with very hot summers and very cold winters. Volunteers should be prepared to adapt to both climates. Please refer to Peace Corps Mongolia’s packing list ahead of arrival:

https://www.peacecorps.gov/mongolia/preparing-to-volunteer/packing-guidance/

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

Medical considerations

Before you apply, please review medical clearance and legal clearance to learn about the process.

Couples information

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

The Peace Corps works to foster safe and productive assignments for same-sex couples, and same-sex couples are not placed in countries where homosexual acts are criminalized. Because of this, same-sex couple placements are more limited than heterosexual couple placements. During the application process Recruiters and Placement Officers work closely with same-sex couple applicants to understand current placement opportunities. For more information please visit:
https://www.peacecorps.gov/faqs/lgbtq/.

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