Our job as Peace Corps Volunteers is to create a sustainable project in the 2 years we are in each community so that when the time comes to leave, the groundwork of the volunteer serves the community for years to come. That can mean anything from organizing a yearly summer camp to helping community members create a small business that will provide them with future income. For TEFL Volunteers that means leaving our schools and teachers with teaching materials, new ideas for the classroom, and a greater confidence in the English language.
When I first arrived at site I did what almost every Peace Corps Volunteer does, I talked to anyone who would listen about the community, its history, and what it saw as the greatest needs. The overwhelming response from the English teachers and school authorities was that they would like to create some sort of English/audiovisual laboratory that would serve the needs of the students as well as other community members. That was almost exactly one year ago. Peace Corps work is slow.
Since about mid-March, the English teachers and I have been working diligently to fill out a 60-page grant application that will hopefully make this dream a reality for the community. But like so many things, we need lots of help. That’s where you lovely readers come in. The community is committed to providing 25% of the total cost of the project. The other 75% of the funding comes from donors. The project plan includes trainings for the English teachers on using music, film, and internet in the classroom. They will also be trained on the operation and maintenance of the new technological equipment. Our main goal as TEFL Volunteers is to help our teachers “see outside the book” if you will. I think this would be a great opportunity for the teachers and of course the students to see that English is so much more than completing grammar exercises out of a book.
If you’re interested at all in helping out with this project ($1 goes a VERY long way in Ecuador…keep that mind :)), leave me a comment or a quick facebook message with your name and e-mail address and I’ll get you more details on how to help us out. I’ve included a brief project summary written by my teachers and polished up by yours truly.
“We live in a small community in which the majority of the population works in commerce and agriculture. Taking into account that our community has had little governmental support to improve the local living conditions and is also a local center for tourism, we consider it extremely important to create an English laboratory in our school. We believe that if our school community has access to a fun, attractive, and dynamic way of learning English, they will be motivated to develop communicative and cognitive English skills. Furthermore, this laboratory will provide our community with the resources necessary to communicate with the mostly English-speaking tourists who visit our town and give us the ability to improve our local commerce and economy. The English and technological skills our community will gain will facilitate enrollment in public and private universities, military and police academies, and will give our students the ability to travel to foreign countries without the burden of communication difficulties. This English laboratory will serve as a door to the outside world.”