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

Strengthen Inclusive Education Skills for High School Teachers

Activity/project background

Partner: Colegio Nacional Mariscal José Félix Estigarribia (Government)

The Colegio Mariscal Estigarribia is the only public middle and high school located in Carapegua, Paraguay. As a result, the school receives a large variety of student enrollment from different socio-economic demographics. These students enter the school with different capacities and a wide range of learning levels. The school acknowledges this disparity and, in order to be more inclusive, began to offer night classes specifically for children with disabilities. Although many educators are expected to work with these groups, few have received any formal training to prepare them to accommodate or manage their classroom.

The Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) will engage with local teachers to train them on education for people with physical and/or learning disabilities, through a series of virtual workshops. They will provide technical information, and practice scenarios for teachers to identify and implement new knowledge on learning disabilities and assistive tools, while acknowledging community context and possible barriers.

The currently serving Peace Corps Volunteer received overwhelming feedback and interest from the teachers regarding the need for teacher training in inclusive education. As the Volunteer is not a professional in this field, they encouraged the host country organization to seek support from a VSPP on education workshops. The Volunteer will be available to the support the VSPP with on-site facilitation and/or co-teaching.

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:

• Define and introduce terms related to disabilities and learning disabilities among children and adolescents
• Describe how disability impacts a child’s learning process, retention, participation, and academic success
• Acknowledge community barriers to suggest alternative intervention-based methodologies
• Provide rational and academic evidence to substantiate the existence of disabilities and learning disabilities and how assistive teaching tools can positively impact a student and their successful development
• Develop session plans and practice scenarios for training workshops for teachers to identify and implement new knowledge on learning disabilities and assistive tools

VSPPs are expected to engage on the tasks listed above for an estimated 5-15 hours per week. This engagement is estimated to be 5 hours per week, between lesson planning and facilitating workshops. The VSPP should be available at least once per week to meet and teach workshops relevant to the above goals. They should be available to meet virtually with the current Volunteer and school administrator to discuss scheduling, workshop feedback, or further needs.

Online collaboration will generally occur between 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Paraguay time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to email, WhatsApp and Google Meet 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 education w/ experience working with persons who are disabled, have learning disabilities, or hearing/visually impaired

Language: Advanced Spanish

Experience:
• 2 years of experience in special education classrooms or residential homes with persons who are disabled, handicapped, hearing/visually impaired or related experience
• Experience relevant to teaching methodologies for children with disabilities
• Experience in teacher training

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 special education

Experience:
• Experience with virtual engagement and communication
• Experience in a Spanish-speaking teacher training environment

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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