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

Facilitate Classroom English Skills for University Teachers

Activity/project background

Partner: 1. Arba Minch College of Education, 2. Jigjiga University, 3. Arba Minch University, 4. Jinka University (Government)

English serves as a medium of instruction for all higher learning institutions in Ethiopia. University and college teachers are required to use it for teaching and conducting academic discussions. However, it is observed that most use local languages when facilitating lessons that should all be in English. Reportedly, they do this due to lack of required level of language proficiency that in turn is caused by lack of adequate practice opportunities. This has made teaching challenging, and students with various language backgrounds struggle to grasp contents being taught through local languages that do not convey scientific knowledge and concepts originally developed in English.

Although these universities (listed below) have been trying to improve their teachers’ command of English, there is still a need for more support. Therefore, the universities have requested Virtual Service Pilot Participants (VSPPs) to partner with them and provide support to maximize use of English for teaching purposes. Four (4) VSPPs will be partnered with each of these universities for this engagement and will support, and create practice opportunities for, 15 teachers in each university who come from various disciplines including social and natural sciences, math, engineering, and anthropology; all participants are eager to develop skills and confidence to use English with students within and outside of classrooms situations.

The four institutions include: Arba Minch College of Education, Jigjiga University, Arba Minch University, and Jinka University. Details about each host institution will be shared during orientation sessions at the start of the engagement with Peace Corps Ethiopia staff.

These institutions have not previously collaborated with the Peace Corps. However, 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:

• Co-assess the needs of 15 participants through informal and formal discussions
• Co-plan and design tasks/activities that enhance the use of English in academic environments
• Co-facilitate 1.5-hour online sessions twice a week for 15 enrolled teachers (days of the week and time will be determined during orientation)
• Arrange a one-on-one support session for individuals whenever there is a need
• Track activities and report biweekly to the Peace Corps Ethiopia Education Program Manager

VSPPs are expected to engage on the tasks listed above for an estimated 5-15 hours per week. However, this engagement is estimated to be 7 hours per week (3 hours online).

Online collaboration will generally occur between 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Ethiopia time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

Participants will have access to Zoom, WhatsApp, and email for regular sessions, 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: Bachelor’s degree in education, TEFL, or related field OR certificate in TESOL

• Experience with virtual engagement and communication
• Experience working with adult learner groups in the U.S or overseas

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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