The Ministry of Education Uganda has identified literacy as a national priority and is eager to improve the English literacy teaching and learning capacity in Ugandan primary schools (a primary school is the equivalent of an elementary school in the United States) and at Primary Teacher Training Colleges (PTCs). Volunteers in this project focus on building the capacity of students, teachers, and community members in literacy.
As part of the Primary Literacy Project (PLP), Volunteers will contribute to an innovative and high-impact program. In its four years, the PLP has seen 5,229 teachers and tutors demonstrate improved literacy instructional practice, and over 143,000 pupils demonstrate improvement in basic literacy skills. Primary Literacy Volunteers have also helped 14,891 pupils access reading materials.
Volunteers will be assigned to serve as either an English Literacy Teacher or a Teacher Trainer. Both of these roles utilize approaches to capacity building that include model and co-teaching, assessment, sharing resources, and developing teaching materials with local teachers. Volunteers in both areas are also expected to become involved in their community and support school-based projects. These projects might include working with schools to develop and regularly utilize libraries, establishing after-school programs such as book clubs and readers’ theater, and engaging parents and other community members in national level literacy initiatives, such as national Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) Day, My Language Spelling Bee, and Literacy Month.
There are however distinct differences in the day-to-day activities of the English Literacy Teacher and the Teacher Trainers:
English Literacy Teachers are placed at Primary Schools. They work with in-service teachers to build their capacity for literacy instruction by leading professional development on teaching phonemic awareness, alphabetic principle, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Additionally, they collaborate with Head Teachers to create a positive school culture and staff climate, implement resource rooms or develop libraries, and design positive behavior systems and alternative disciplines. English Literacy Teachers also implement school-based reading intervention programs for early readers.
Teacher Trainers must have previous teaching experience and are placed at Primary Teachers’ Colleges (PTC). They deliver content-based instruction in Math, Science, English, Early Childhood development, and/or information and communication technologies (ICT) to pre-service teachers. Additionally, they train future teachers on best practices for teaching literacy, instructional approaches, innovative instructional materials, engagement strategies, resource room or library development, positive behavior systems and alternative discipline. Teacher Trainers also provide instructional coaching for pre-service teachers during their school practice, small group remedial classes and collaborate departmentally with faculty.
There are many opportunities for collaboration across the PTCs and the primary schools. About 66% of Education Volunteers are English Literacy Teachers at the Primary school level, as the Teacher Trainer positions require previous teaching experience. Thus individuals should be prepared to serve in either a primary school or a teachers college. These assignments are based on a combination of applicant preference, skills, experiences, and community needs.
Peace Corps Uganda promotes gender awareness and girl’s education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges in Uganda, and you will have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During your service, you will be expected to look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girl’s sense of agency. As part of your work, you will also report on these efforts and their impact.
BA/BS any discipline and a strong desire to teach English.
Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Preschool, Early Childhood, Middle School or Elementary Education
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with Elementary Education state certificate
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with 1 or more school year classroom teaching experience at the Early Childhood, Middle School, or Elementary level. Montessori (full-time) teaching experience also acceptable
• 3 months, 10 hours/month, or 30 hours of English or literacy/tutoring experience with primary, middle, or high school students, or adults
• Experience in the following areas: teaching Literacy; teaching large multi-level classes; classroom management
• Ability to live and work in an isolated, mostly undeveloped, rural environment with limited resources
• Tolerance for uncertainty and patience for working within a challenged educational system with low levels of literacy, as well as teachers with limited and/or no training
• An openness to diverse learning/working styles and the ability to respectfully encourage participation in underrepresented groups i.e. women, youth, and the disabled
• Willingness to work on coaching/camps, workshops, curriculum development and training
• Strong interpersonal skills and the willingness/ability to build good working relationships with school authorities
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