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Primary Education Teacher Trainer

Project description

Primary Teacher Trainers co-teach, co-plan, co-facilitate and/or guide and co-train with new, often young and newly-qualified, teachers to improve the quality of teaching and learning. The Gambian Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education strives to provide quality education to students. Currently, the ministry is giving attention to foundational learning, especially in literacy & numeracy. Peace Corps Volunteers have played a role in supporting the ministry with this important goal for decades.

In their role, Volunteers may:

• Help teachers plan lessons
• Observe teaching and provide feedback
• Co-teach, co-train and give demonstration lessons
• Co-facilitate lessons
• Coordinate discussions among teachers about their work
• Facilitate informal or formal communities of practice to share strategies and tips for effective literacy and numeracy teaching
• Promote the creation and use of educational aids
• Support the development and use of libraries
• Support and deliver teacher training at local, regional, or national levels

Volunteers promote student-centered learning, model classroom management techniques, facilitate teacher workshops on strategies for effective literacy and numeracy teaching (also called math literacy) and produce materials for teacher counterparts to use with students. Co-teaching is an opportunity for the Volunteers and local teachers to learn from one another while ensuring the sustainability of the Volunteers’ work.
A typical class size is around 45 students, and Volunteers work mainly with grades 1-3. A core activity for Volunteers is working with exciting early literacy and numeracy programs, complementary to the Government of The Gambia's initiatives, to enhance literacy and numeracy teaching and to encourage children to read and grow to love math and sciences in earlier grades. There are limited training opportunities for teachers in The Gambia after earning their certification. This reality provides Volunteers with a unique opportunity to play a role in supporting more effective and inclusive teaching. On occasion, Volunteers work with ECD (early childhood development) classes and may run their own classroom/manage their own kindergarten class.

Volunteers may also have the opportunity to work with teacher trainees at the teacher training college as guest lecturers. Early Childhood Development teacher trainees receive direct instruction from their lecturers during vocation classes. Volunteers will work with relevant department staff to develop the curriculum for these tailor-made programs.
Outside of their primary assignment in schools, Volunteers are encouraged to engage their community through secondary projects such as:

• Activities that promote English learning and engagement in Science and Math activities;
• Organizing clubs, sports, and other after-school activities;
• Public health education initiatives
The Gambia promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. Volunteers will receive training on gender challenges in-country and will have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During service, Volunteers will look for ways to work with community members especially the School Management Committees (SMCs) to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency.

Climate change activities

Education and Climate Change: As the impacts of climate change become ever more evident, the social, economic, and environmental context within which schools provide learning experiences will continue to change and create challenges to consistent access to quality education. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will be trained to use a participatory approach and tools to identify locally determined priorities and conditions, including those related to the impacts of climate change. As an Education Volunteer, you will be trained to use local knowledge and resources to collaborate with education counterparts, students, and community members to support a climate smart approach to education. Such collaborations include the following:

• Work with school leaders and teachers to support continued learning when school is interrupted by climate shocks and stressors by developing digital learning materials, remote learning plans, or community-centered learning experiences.

• Co-plan and co-facilitate learning experiences that improve climate literacy for students and community members, including STEM lessons that explore the causes and effects of climate change, story exchanges about how climate change impacts the local community, and Eco clubs.

• Support and promote school and community activities that help mitigate climate change. Such activities can include planting school gardens, community tree planting, water conservation, and developing community waste management strategies.

Required skills

Qualified candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field
• 5 years' professional work experience

Desired skills

Experience in any of the following areas is preferred:
• Teaching and/or tutoring experience in English or a foreign language;
• Interest/experience in working with young children in both formal and informal educational setting in the areas of Science and Math/numeracy;
• Classroom teaching experience at the Early Childhood, Middle School, or Elementary level. Full time Montessori teaching experience
• Primary teacher training

Required language skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position. While the official language of The Gambia is English, Volunteers are expected to learn the predominant local language of the village to which they will be assigned.

Instruction in a local language will be provided during Pre-Service Training and additional language support will be available at your work site if needed. Most of your students, and even many of the teachers will speak a local language outside of school, so learning the local language will be very important for your integration and work. This will be particularly important when volunteers are working directly with children through extracurricular activities, working with school administration and community members.

Teaching in schools is predominantly in English, which is the official language of The Gambia.

Languages taught at Pre-Service Training are: Pularr, Mandinka, Wollof, Jola and Serrahulleh.

Living conditions

All Volunteers live in remote, rural communities, and will need to be flexible in housing expectations. You will live in simple, private quarters on the property of a host family for your entire service. Houses are situated on or near a family compound with other neighboring houses. You will have a private pit latrine and will likely need to fetch water from the village water source, up to 300 yards away. While your family compound may not have electricity available, Peace Corps The Gambia provides an allowance for Volunteers to purchase a solar system to charge electronic materials such as laptops, phones, tablets, etc. Usually, this solar electricity can also power a standing fan for much of the day and night. You may need to walk or bike up to 3 miles to access public transportation and up to 6 miles to a larger town for shopping.

Communication between staff and Volunteers, as well as among Volunteers, is mainly by phone and text. You will receive a simple cell phone for local texting and calling on arrival if you do not bring your own. The Gambia is a small country. Contact between staff and Volunteers is high and this is appreciated by the Volunteer community. There are a few internet cafes in some of the larger towns, but access is slow, patchy and depends on intermittent electricity. There is internet access at the Peace Corps office near the capital, the Peace Corps Training Center in Massembeh, and in the PC office in the eastern part of the country.
Many vegetarians have managed to maintain a healthy diet here. However, as the supply and range of vegetables in the country is limited, this can present challenges and requires some flexibility. It is very difficult for Volunteers to maintain a vegan diet throughout their service.
Please see The Gambia Living Conditions section of the website for information about:
• Communications
• Housing and site location
• Living Allowance and money management
• Food and Diet
• Transportation
• Social Activities
• Professionalism, dress, and behavior
Even with our newfound democracy that emanated from the 2016 election, The Gambia still has some restrictive laws in our law books 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 the country as a whole. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address this topic during Pre-Service Training and identify support mechanisms available for incoming trainees and Volunteers throughout service.
The influence of colonialism and other countries in The Gambia shapes perceptions Gambians may have of outsiders. Americans may be assumed to be wealthy. Black/African Americans may blend in and initially be seen as Gambians; people may assume that they know local languages and culture. Asian-Americans may be confused as Chinese citizens working in The Gambia. Peace Corps staff are aware of many of the challenges faced by Volunteers and strive to find meaningful ways to support Volunteers to navigate the complexity of living and working in The Gambia. Additional information is available in the Diversity and Inclusion section of our website about serving in The Gambia.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in The Gambia: 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

The Gambia can accommodate one couple in the education sector. Each partner should apply to the Primary Teacher Trainer position

Couples will live and serve together in a common site that might be in either a larger community or in a village. Couples may or may not work at the same school.

In the past, this arrangement has worked well especially when the going gets tough. Couples motivate each other and supplement each other’s work at their respective communities and have been model Volunteers.

Peace Corps The Gambia cannot place same-sex couple’s because there are anti-LGTBQI+ laws in The Gambia. 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:

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