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Peace Corps Volunteer
2 years, 3 months
Peace Corps Response
Up to 12 months
Virtual Service Pilot
3-6 months

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Virtual Service Pilot

Co-facilitate Pre-Service Teachers English-Speaking Club

Activity/project background

Partner: Rivne State University of the Humanities (Government)

Active collaboration with the Peace Corps and Rivne State University of the Humanities (RSHU) in Ukraine began more than ten years ago when the foreign philology faculty welcomed Peace Corps Volunteers who led lessons and started a language club, improving intercultural learning and fostering English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learning. Enhancing English conversational skills for international learning and communication was one of the main initiatives carried out in all the Peace Corps and RSHU joint projects during the previous ten years.

With challenging circumstances such as the pandemic and the war, the philological department at RSHU request a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) to support future English teachers with their English language learning activities through an English Club. The engagement aims to support EFL students, at an intermediate or upper-intermediate English language level, improving their communication abilities. Many recipients are already enrolled in RSHU's English program but do not have enough experience communicating in English. The VSPP will facilitate weekly sessions between 15 and 20 students, with a regular group of mentors who may attend and participate from time to time.

The organization has previously collaborated with the Peace Corps. They understand that the role of a VSPP is very different than a two-year Volunteer.

Engagement and tasks

The VSPP will engage in the following tasks, in collaboration with their Host Country Partners:

• Prepare for an initial meeting with partner teachers to assess their English club priorities and students’ interests
• Co-plan and co-design conversation club sessions relevant to the needs and interests of club participants
• Co-teach a weekly 1-hour online English language conversation club session where members engage in discussions, debates, and presentations in English to provide members with opportunities to lead discussions and practice their speaking skills (time, day of the week will be determined during orientation)
• Assign topics related to global issues, cultural diversity, or personal experiences to encourage meaningful conversation and language acquisition
• Facilitate discussions on cultural norms, traditions, and societal values to promote mutual understanding and appreciation
• Encourage members to share aspects of Ukrainian culture, such as language, literature, music, and cuisine, and learn about the US issues
• Create Google Drive folder to share sessions outlines and teaching materials with the partners and participants

This engagement is expected to be approximately 27 weeks. VSPPs are expected to engage in the tasks listed above for an estimated 5-15 hours per week. This engagement is estimated to be 5-8 hours per week.

Online collaboration will generally occur between 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Ukraine time. Specific times will be determined during orientation. The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Zoom, WhatsApp, and email for regular communication and collaboration.

Per the Child Protection Code of Conduct, when engaging online with minors (0-18), two adults must be present.

Optional additional activities

The Peace Corps mission is to promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals:

  1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
  2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
  3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

Goal 1 will be achieved through the VSPP's engagement and completion of the above tasks. The counterpart and VSPP may also choose to identify an activity that aligns with Goal 2. Additionally, the VSPP may identify a Goal 3 activity to implement during their engagement. See recommendations and tools for Goal 3 activities.

Essential qualifications

Education: Bachelor's degree in any field

Experience: 2 years of experience in TEFL/English teaching to university students (or adults)

Intercultural skills and motivation: Flexible, strong cross-cultural agility, high tolerance for ambiguity, able to work independently, resourceful, creative, and genuinely motivated and capable to serve virtually

Desired qualifications

Education: Master’s degree in education or a related field OR relevant certification: TEFL, TESOL, Cambridge, or similar or certificate in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)

• Experience with virtual engagement and communication
• Experience developing teaching resources

Terms and conditions of engagement

VSPPs will be engaging with the host country partner, in coordination with Peace Corps post staff, remotely from the US. They should have access to a computer, internet, and telephone in order to enable direct engagement with the Peace Corps overseas office and the Host Country Counterpart assigned by the host country partner.

Orientation with the host country partner will be provided, within the designated virtual service hours, during the first week of virtual service via an online presentation and discussion. The host country partner will provide an overview of its organization, the local context, and how they envision collaborating with the VSPP.

The VSPP will have regular check-ins with their counterpart and bi-weekly check-ins with Peace Corps staff. Spending unstructured time with counterparts can be critical to relationship-building and is encouraged through activities such as coffee chats and informal calls within the weekly 5-15 hours.

Engagement safety and security

The VSPP will receive an orientation on Peace Corps’ Child Protection Policy and how it relates to online engagement along with IT security best practices. The VSPP will be expected to follow safety and security guidelines for online engagement to ensure their safety and that of the Host Country Partner and their counterpart, and any beneficiaries of the engagement.

Supervision requirements

The VSPP will report to a designated Peace Corps staff member. The VSPP will be expected to abide by the Virtual Service Pilot Participant and Donation Agreement and Participant Principles of Engagement. The VSPP will also be expected to check in with the designated host country counterpart as assigned by the host county partner.

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