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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

Support Teachers’ English Skills and Professional Development

Activity/project background

Partner: Zakarpattia Institute of Postgraduate Pedagogical Education (Government)

Zakarpattia Institute of Postgraduate Pedagogical Education (the Institute) staff are committed to supporting and promoting effective English language teaching and learning across the Zakarpattia educational community. Since the war began, the number of teachers as well as students has greatly increased in the region as many of them had to flee from occupied areas and move towards the west of the country for their safety. Despite the challenges caused by the war, the Institute aims to create a respectful caring environment that values all perspectives, experiences, and contributions, where teachers can engage and learn through meaningful communication and find emotional and psychological support during the war. The Institute provides on a regular basis in-service teacher training courses for teachers who work in the rural schools of the region.

English Teachers are invited to attend in-service courses and webinars to pass certification tests successfully. Teachers’ continuous professional development is crucial for effective reforms in education and in the classroom. Guided by the Ministry of Education reforms, even during war time, teachers strive to support students’ personal and professional growth developing their soft skills, problem solving, critical and analytical thinking, leadership, and social cooperation.

The Institute seeks a Virtual Service Pilot Participants (VSPP) to support the professional development of the rural English teachers. The VSPP will engage with teachers by building their confidence in using the English language, improving their speaking fluency, and expanding their teaching techniques through weekly sessions discussing cross-cultural topics, and by offering opportunities to develop personal skills and critical thinking skills. The VSPP will present different learning tools which teachers could use in their virtual classroom teaching (e.g., Padlet, Bamboozle, Random Student Generator, Nearpod, etc.).

The Institute staff has previously collaborated with Peace Corps Volunteers. 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-facilitate an initial meeting and/or online survey with partner teachers to assess their priorities and interests
• Co-assess teachers’ learning priorities and co-develop training sessions curriculum based on their professional development needs
• Co-plan and design 1.5-hour long weekly methodological sessions relevant to the needs and interests of English language teachers on teaching approaches, modern techniques, raising students’ motivation, formative and summative assessment, teaching in difficult times, remote teaching, and learning
• Teach weekly English as a Foreign Language (EFL) language skills applying virtual teaching techniques to one of two groups of ten teachers with each group having 1.5-hour long sessions scheduled every other week at 4:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Ukraine time
• Co-develop at least 15 session outlines with relevant resources in cooperation with Ukrainian counterparts while preparing for virtual meetings (approximately 2 hours weekly)
• Create a Google Drive folder to share all sessions outlines and relevant resources with teachers

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 of which a 1.5-hour long session is anticipated to be online working directly with teachers.

Online collaboration will generally occur between 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Ukraine local 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 education, secondary education, or a related field

Experience: 2 years of experience training secondary school teachers

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 in English teaching, applied linguistics, or a related field

Experience:
• Experience with virtual engagement and communication
• Experience developing teaching resources
• Experience participating in communities of practice related to secondary school education

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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