PEACE CORPS EDUCATION PROGRAMS.
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Role of volunteers as teachers in Third World. Recruitment, personal & professional standards, training, teaching English, health, books, curriculum, cooperative learning, culture shock, more.... More...
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Role of volunteers as teachers in Third World. Recruitment, personal & professional standards, training, teaching English, health, books, curriculum, cooperative learning, culture shock, more.
The Peace Corps education program is a beacon of light in the international community. Daily, Peace Corps volunteers overcome the challenges of culture shock, scarce instructional resources, and interpersonal relations to teach a wide range of subjects from English to new housing construction. Volunteers insist that they have learned more from their host countries than they themselves have contributed. The Peace Corps is an agency of the U.S. government. Established in 1961, the Corps has three goals. The first is to provide trained manpower for Third World nations. The second goal is to teach foreign people about American culture, through contact with Americans. And the third goal is to afford volunteers the opportunity to learn about other cultures, again through firsthand contact. The education function of the Peace
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Peace Corps volunteers must also overcome the challenge ofadministrative setbacks that derail the benefits of their best efforts.One volunteer was instrumental in establishing a fisheries program in anAfrican village along the Senegal River, only to have it canceled shortlyafter she left the Corps due to an extended illness (Lowerre, 1991).Another volunteer found himself in the midst of a budget battle betweenPeace Corps administrators and the local director, who "kept a controllinghand on every aspect of Peace Corps/Togo, coddling some volunteers,blackballing others, and was determined that the program maintain its modelreputation back in Washington" (Packer, 1988, p. The Peace Corps,however, acknowledges that a long-term solution to the technical needs ofhost nations must be forthcoming: "Associate volunteers must only be seenas augmentation of support to the volunteer. Redmon, C. Martin, T. Thus, testpreparation is given priority over creative learning: "Because theoverseas schools emphasize preparing students for extremely high-stakesnational tests, teachers must cover large amounts of curricular material"(Bombaugh, 1995, p. Volunteers receive living-expense allowances and otherbenefits, free travel, medical and dental insurance, and language training. Although the success of the program is difficult tomeasure, the high demand for the services of Peace Corps volunteersdemonstrates the esteem that this education program enjoys in theinternational community. Lessons onhealth are taught to both parents and children. Most of the Peace Corps volunteers who teach English in EasternEurope are placed in teacher training institutes or high school levelclassrooms. SanDiego: Harcourt Brace. 35). Shekept switching her methods, and we were never sure what to expect next"(Wollmering, 1995, p. Until recently, Peace Corps volunteers served exclusively in ThirdWorld countries such as Africa, Central America and the Asian Pacificregion. Congress, 199 , p. Daily, Peace Corps volunteers overcome thechallenges of culture shock, scarce instructional resources, andinterpersonal relations to teach a wide range of subjects from English tonew housing construction. Likewise, agriculturalists withsolid backgrounds in farming, gardening, or agribusinesses are sorelyneeded. Much of the Peace Corps' current recruitment strategy involvesencouraging the participation of college undergraduate students,particularly those with liberal arts backgrounds. Notre Dame: University ofNotre Dame Press. General Accounting Office, one of every three PeaceCorps volunteers fails to complete their two-year assignment (GAO, 199 , p.3). Peace Corps. In To Touch the World:The Peace Corps Experience (9-14). Training for Peace Corps volunteers takes place at centers in thehost countries. 57). Washington: U.S. 129). The severe shortage of teachers in many host countries often leads tolarge classroom sizes. The Peace Corps is fulfilling a need for both thevolunteers and the host countries: "Success is measured by most volunteersat a personal level--the sudden recognition in the eyes of a school child,the pride of a community in its self-built schoolhouse, or the sense ofcompetence of workers who have formed their own cooperative" (McPherson,1986, p. Such a scarcity of recruits exists in certain skill areas thatsometimes volunteers are accepted who do not have college degrees. The Peace Corps recognizes the need to increase recruitment ofvolunteers with scarce skills. (May 22, 199 ). The Peace Corps has always been unable tokeep up with the demand: "When in the late 197 s some development plannersargued that the Peace Corps should move out of education, recipientcountries balked at the prospect. Washington: U.S. One means of addressing this problem is theagency's Associate Volunteer Program, begun in 1987. For instance, in some foreign countries, seeing an Americanminority is an unique experience. However, volunteers also teach math, science,vocational education, social studies, and special education, among othercourses. In general, the moreprofessional work experience, the better. (199 ). Teachers are pressured into finishing the syllabus because if they do not,the teacher who succeeds them next year will have to start at a deficit,teaching the material that was not covered. (1991). Coping and growing: PeaceCorps Fellows in the urban classroom. Teachingexperience is preferred, but not required. Congress, 199 , p. Voelker, D. (January-February 1995). While the Peace Corps meets almost 1 percent of hostcountry requests for generalists, only about 6 percent of scarce skillrequests are filled, and about 24 percent of matches between volunteers andhost countries do not fully meet the agency's criteria for the assignments(U.S. Landrum, R. They have organized libraries and work cooperatives. The people: The veterans. 276). 3 ). During recessionaryperiods it is understandable that college graduates would volunteer foroverseas assignments. (1986). Lowerre, S. Many PeaceCorps volunteers teach jobs skills to their students, most of whom rangefrom teenagers to adults. ThePeace Corps mission has always been a lofty one, those who are privilegedgiving a helping hand to those in need: "The Peace Corps was wished andwilled into existence by some ambitious, affluent, idealistic collegestudents who were convinced that America had been lulled into a near stuporafter eight years of rule by grandfather figures and organization men"(Redmon, 1986, p. (October 1992). Volunteers marvel at therespect given to teachers in foreign countries, where the profession isconsidered one of fairly high prestige. 3 ) The number of unfilled requests and the enthusiastic demand forservices appear better indicators of the success of the Peace Corpseducation programs than the percentage of volunteers who complete theirassignments. The health educationfunction of the Peace Corps helps UNICEF in its efforts to get villagers toparticipate in vaccinations and other health promotion efforts. But for every burnt-out Peace Corpsvolunteer there are several eager applicants, hoping to gain acceptanceinto the program. Peace Corps volunteers find themselves teaching, no matter what theirarea of assignment. 11). One of the most awe-inspiringpractices, exhibited by students from the villages of Chad to thepolytechnic institutes of Eastern Europe, is standing when the teacherenters the room: "something they did for all teachers as a sign ofrespect" (Swezy, 1997, p. Department of State Dispatch, p. Volunteers insist that they have learned morefrom their host countries than they themselves have contributed. Technical training programsmust be developed by the Peace Corps to equip volunteers with in-demandskills" (U.S. Volunteers workwith the community to attain its own objectives. Volunteers join thePeace Corps because they believe they can make a difference. Peace Corps.----------------------- 24 Their progress is evaluated by means of written tests.Besides the tests given in the classroom, a significant number of studentsaround the world are subjected to periodic national tests. This effort seeks to link Peace Corps volunteersthroughout the world with elementary and junior high school classes in theUnited States. The job: As a development agency. The typical volunteer gets thirteenweeks of training, during which the most pressing order of business is acrash course in the language of the host country. Peace Corps teachers must learn to balance the two. citizens over the ageof 18 may volunteer. 87-96. Manyof their counterparts in the 196 s held just the opposite viewpoint:"Unprecedented material wealth freed the new generation to heed theirconsciences and pursue their ideals" (Rice, 1985, p. Besides instruction in English, these volunteers maintain thatthey can help Eastern Europeans move toward economic and political freedom. 35). Helping people become self-sufficient iswhat makes the Peace Corps a unique experience for many volunteers. (1995). Under the Neem tree. Only U.S. The Peace Corps is perceived as a largely white, middle-classinstitution both for host countries and for American citizens as well.This perception has caused problems among minority volunteers, some of whomcharge the agency and fellow volunteers with insensitivity to their uniqueneeds. The Peace Corps education program is a beacon of light in theinternational community. A survey of theethnicity of volunteers conducted in 1989 found that less than one percentwere Native American, almost two percent were Asian American, slightly morethan two percent were African American, and almost three percent Hispanic(U.S. Teachers must hoard chalk, paper, and books. The applicant must not be or have been involved inintelligence organizations. teachers take for grantedare often luxury items. 35-44. (199 ). 35. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. (1988). In Makinga difference: The Peace Corps at Twenty-Five, pp. Congress mandatedthat the Peace Corps increase the number of volunteers to 1 , . From 1971 to 1981 the Peace Corps was part of the ACTION governmentalagency, after which it became an independent agency again. 31). As one vocational education teacherin Swaziland observes, "You learn to make do with the resources available.There is a fair amount of scavenging for materials involved" (Gilbert,1992, p. New York: Lyons &Burford. Thus a minimum of three to five years of related work experienceis required to qualify for service in these areas. The U.S. The ponds of Kalambayi. Despite intensive training, culture shock is a problem for some PeaceCorps volunteers. A survey of former volunteers found thatabout 14 percent were in the teaching profession (Landrum, 1986, p. Educators often prepare curricula andinstructional materials, or conduct local and regional workshops. In exchange for twoyears of teaching, the fellows receive tuition assistance, a teacher'ssalary and, if necessary, provisional certification until they graduate:"Fellows simultaneously attend graduate school full time and teach fulltime in an urban classroom, no easy task for a new teacher" (Bombaugh,1995, p. Peace Corps volunteers have formed their own national association.One of the goals of this organization is to provide the opportunity forreturned Peace Corps volunteers to teach Americans about foreign cultures:"The national Council of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, a private, non-profit organization, serves as the focal point for planning, policydevelopment and national leadership for this extraordinarily valuableresource of RPCVs and their grass-roots activities" (U.S. Come as you are: The Peace Corps story. The true impact of education can only be judged in terms ofits long-term effects. Volunteers are given enormous responsibility. School authorities in many host countries are committed to apedagogy that is characterized by rote memorization, translation, andrecitation. Although the World Bank donates dictionaries, atlases, novels, andtextbooks, the majority of instructional materials in host country schoolsare outdated. Alsostrengthening the volunteer spirit of the 196 s was the visionaryleadership of President John F. Dufour, J. One of the areas in which the Peace Corps has met with limitedsuccess is the recruitment of minority volunteers. Local hero. The smarter studentswere required to help those students who had trouble mastering the lessons: "At first, I wondered if this took place only in my classes, but I alsonoticed this behavior with other teachers--not just with the lenientAmerican" (Swezy, 1997, p. The Peace Corps volunteer application process is extensive andselective. This program allowsvolunteers who are highly skilled in technical fields to serve lessextended terms of service than generalist volunteers. Recently, the Peace Corps hasfocused part of its recruitment efforts on mid-career professionals andretirees. Milton Viorst(Ed.). Washington: U.S. Thus locals are likely to stare, point,or make racial references that would be unacceptable in American society.The minority person might look to his or her fellow Peace Corps volunteersfor support. The language teachers at thetraining centers usually consist of locals whereas the technical programtrainers are often former Peace Corps volunteers. Tidwell, M. Washington: GPO. Kennedy, who challenged the nation's youthto "ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for yourcountry." One method of evaluating the success of the Peace Corps educationprogram is examining the number of volunteers who remain in the teachingprofession after leaving the Corps. A program recently introduced by the Peace Corps is the World WiseSchool Program. For instance, manyconsider the teacher's encouragement to think independently a sign ofweakness: "Classes were interesting because they were so confusing. 46). 36). As one Peace Corps volunteer whoencountered problems mastering the language recalled, "I was supposed torun a program, be responsible for three workers and five volunteers, afloating fund, the truck, an experimental fish station, producefingerlings, ensure the project did not fail and I had trouble writing mytitle" (Lowerre, 1991, p. Rice, G. Rice, G. Currently, 22 countries arein need of volunteers. Swezy, S. As one African educator observed, "PeaceCorps teachers have been a force for development and change, and they stillare" (Rice, 1986, p. Christopher, W. PeaceCorps. Committee on Government Operations, House ofRepresentatives. Peace Corps volunteers report working withclassrooms of up to 7 students, with 5 students being common. students to view and experience newcountries and cultures" (U.S. Most volunteers describe it as a rigorous experience:"Because of the incredible work load, Peace Corps training is as structuredas boot camp" (Voelker, 1995, p. with a dozen nuances: derision, hostility, inanity, a mockingreminder of wealth, an unwillingness to learn my name, to see past my skincolor" (Packer, 1988, p. EducationalLeadership, 8 -83. Congress, 199 , p. 1 ). While the burdens are enormous, therewards are equally great. People in foreign countries often only see Americans asthey are depicted in advertising and on television. Volunteers have helped buildschools. Besides educational and professional criteria, Peace Corps volunteersmust meet certain personal requirements. Unlike most teaching professionals in the United States, the PeaceCorps teachers find themselves integral parts of their host communities.(This helps account for the lack of problems with class management.)Teachers live in housing accommodations that are similar to those of theirstudents. Another area that the Peace Corps needs to address is the recruitmentof volunteers with so-called "scarce skills." Host countries often makerequests for volunteers with specific skills that cannot be met by theexisting pool of volunteers. As one teacher in the South Pacific noted, "The kids Itaught were always with me, and I loved them even more than I once loved myprivacy" (Martin, 1995, p. Peace Corps in Mali.U.S. Because most Peace Corps volunteers come from white, middle classbackgrounds, they must avoid the temptation of cultural imperialism. The agency maintainsrecruitment offices in major metropolitan areas of the United States.Recruiters visit colleges, speak at career planning functions, anddisseminate literature about the Corps: "College students interested injoining the Peace Corps are tailoring their academic and extracurricularlives to make themselves more competitive in the Peace Corps selectionprocess" (U.S. Graduates are increasingly more concerned with getting apiece of the shrinking American Dream than becoming social activists. Considerablestereotypes may result from this distorted perspective. 3). 513(2). 13). Sag Harbor, NY:Permanent Press. Insome locales, electricity is only available during certain times of theday. In To Touch theWorld: The Peace Corps Experience (15-26). Congress, 199 , p. Peace Corps. Inaddition, the Peace Corps has established special education programs fordeaf, blind, and mentally retarded persons in many parts of the ThirdWorld. The program will allow students in foreign countries tolearn about their American counterparts and vice versa: "Through theexchange of letters, artifacts, and other educational materials, thevolunteer serves as a window for U.S. Even if the applicant meets allthe requirements, the Peace Corps cannot guarantee placement: "Only 1 outof every 4 applicants to the Peace Corps is accepted" (U.S. Why? (1986). Beginning in 199 , the Peace Corps extended its service to EasternEurope, where the volunteers mostly teach English. (1986). The Peace Corps is an agency of the U.S. 99-1 7. As one volunteer describes the PeaceCorps/UNICEF partnership: "Village schools received educational materials,and their teachers were trained in how to integrate health and nutritionlessons into the curriculum" (Dufour and Day, 1994, p. Thirteen-week wonders. Established in1961, the Corps has three goals. Washington: U.S. 69). Volunteers now assume awide variety of educational functions. Congress, 199 , p. Withoutthe Peace Corps, countless students would have to wait several years beforethey could attend school or do without instruction at all. Learning the African protocols. In To Touch the World: The Peace CorpsExperience (97-1 ). The Peace Corps acknowledges that itscurrent participation of minority volunteers is cause for concern, giventhe agency's stated goal of teaching foreign people an accurate view ofAmerican culture. Thetechnical programs in skilled trade and agriculture are examples.Experienced carpenters, masons, mechanics, electricians, plumbers, andwelders are constantly in short supply. Francis, J. 82). Under the Tongan sun. Perhaps onePeace Corps volunteer sums it up best: "There's a saying, to the effectof, 'once a man's mind has been stretched to new limits, it can never goback to its former boundaries.' I believe this--the experience we enduremakes us better citizens, more concerned and ambitious, in our own cultureand country, upon our return" (Rice, 1986, p. Gilbert, D. 424-426. Making acontribution to someone else's life is the best way to enhance your own. One of the major blessings of the Peace Corps education program isthe existence of highly motivated students. 1 ). The process involves essays, letters of recommendation, medicaland dental examinations, and interviews. In its defense, Peace Corps representatives haveargued that their mission of bringing nations together is just as valid indeveloping countries as it is in countries that are undeveloped. 425). 18). Although a significant number of Peace Corps volunteers are placed instructured educational settings, informal education is a function thatpervades every facet of a Peace Corps volunteer's tour of duty. In undeveloped countries, where agriculture isthe primary means of subsistence, volunteers work in crop extension,agricultural education, animal husbandry, cooperatives, and rural youthdevelopment programs: "Every one of these projects is a real hands-ontraining in democracy as the Peace Corps volunteers and the residents ofthe village work together to try to solve common problems" (Christopher,1996, p. Myfirst months in Nepal, I lived my life like a loaded gun--there were a lotof negative feelings and pain bottled up inside of me" (Francis, 1995, p.99). The village of waiting. The decision to serveEastern Europe was met with considerable criticism. Instructional materials are often provided by the UnitedNations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Congress, 199 ,p. 23). 41). Congress, 199 , p. Instructional materials that U.S. . Many people in foreign nations have an intense desireto learn English, partly because they perceive it as a means to emigratefrom their own countries. New York:William Morrow. (September 1997). With student respect levels so high, class management is rarely aproblem for Peace Corps teachers. Davis, C. Onevolunteer in the former Soviet republic even became a local celebritythrough her multi-media teaching methods: "In addition to working atschool, I began hosting a weekly TV program (lasting two years) teachingEnglish to the community, further raising my visibility" (Swezy, 1997, p.8 ). Social Education, pp. They help with the formation of student governments and introduce theideals of democracy in their curricula. Some considered thePeace Corps' presence political, used to further presidential foreignpolicy objectives: "The Eastern Europe initiative has provoked some of themost heated debates within the Peace Corps community in recent years"(Schwarz, 1991, p. Washington: U.S. Hearing: The Peace Corps, meetingthe challenges of the 199 s. (1991). Peace Corps in the 8 s. For this reason, thePeace Corps only sends volunteers at the request of a host nation. Although the economic benefits are minimal, most volunteers insist thatthe intangible benefits outweigh the deprivations: "The whole Peace Corpsexperience really teaches you how happy you can be in life without a lot ofmaterial things" (Gilbert, 1992, p. and Day, B. In Making adifference: The Peace Corps at Twenty-Five, pp. The second goal is to teach foreign people aboutAmerican culture, through contact with Americans. 4 ). 32). The minimum amount of education expected for competitivecandidates varies, but a bachelor's degree is suggested. Rigid theoretical curriculum is a challenge faced by most Peace Corpsteachers. 11). In their activist zeal,some volunteers succumb to a one-sided approach to teaching and fail toacknowledge that foreign cultures have much to teach their Americancounterparts. Andthe issue of underrepresentation of minorities in staff and policymakingpositions at the Peace Corps is also being addressed. The Peace Corps education function has evolved over several decades.Initially, the teachers operated more like contract teachers, and were usedprimarily for filling slots that could not be filled by native personnel.The Peace Corps volunteers lived in special housing, apart from the nativepopulation: "Few, if any, dwelled in the mud huts of Peace Corps legend,and most had a servant" (Schwarz, 1991, p. What you can do for your country. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.Packer, G. (1995). But today's job market isdifferent; unemployment is at its lowest levels in decades. Theybecome a part of the community at a grass-roots level. The PCF/USA is funded by the private sector (foundations,companies, and individuals) with major funding in recent years coming fromthe Dewitt-Wallace Readers' Digest Fund as part of its Pathways to TeachingCareers recruitment effort. This particular educator had no special qualifications as a teacher,but she was a former editor at the Children's Television Workshop in NewYork. Othershave worried that the resources spent on Eastern Europe's efforts toAmericanize its culture would be better spent on nations whose people arestruggling to survive. The Peace Corps Fellows/USA Program is an alternative certificationprogram for returned Peace Corps volunteers. 12). 14). The politics of the Peace Corps and Vista.Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press. (1985). Gradually, the Peace Corpshas begun to shift away from classroom teaching. U.S. The didactic model of teaching is used, in which the teachermainly lectures and writes notes on the board. Another area in which the Peace Corps has not been successful ismeeting its overall recruitment goals. They gain valuable work experience and theopportunity for foreign travel, free of charge. 278). The normal tour of duty for the Peace Corps, after training, is twoyears. Washington: U.S. The percentage defection among older volunteers is higher. Thus the Peace Corps hasexperienced a steady increase in its dollar budget since its inception morethan three decades ago. Other teachers instruct students in basic life skills and healthmaintenance. McPherson, M. Students are likely to see their teachers in the marketplace, inthe parks, and on the streets, where informal parent-teacher conferencesare possible. Reeves, T. The agency desires to achieve aPeace Corps volunteer pool of 1 , strong. Cross-cultural dialogue. Although the volunteers receive a smallmonthly stipend, this can hardly be considered a salary, given the factthat most volunteers have undergraduates degrees. This program helps get post-baccalaureate volunteers into the teaching profession. The Peace Corps educators are pioneers. Peace Corps. (1986). The bold experiment. Life in a fish bowl. 1 1st Congress, Second Session. The Peace Corps volunteers work on a person-to-person basis. 513). Some Peace Corps volunteers expressdismay at having to teach in such a rigid format, but most acquiescethemselves to the fact that the stricter approach to teaching is oftenpreferred not only by their school administrators but also by students.Nevertheless, most American teachers, cognizant of the value of developingcritical thinking, try to encourage a more casual flow of teacher-studentdialogue that is the norm in foreign classroom settings. Peace Corps teachers are often given syllabi at the beginning of theschool year and told that their primary objective is to finish the syllabi. The United Nationsfrom the field: The work of volunteers. Often thecurricular materials are geared to the subject matter that is tested on thenational exams. Nor can the applicant have dependents.Although during the 196 s the majority of Peace Corps volunteers were under3 , current volunteers reflect a much wider age range: "the percentage ofvolunteers and trainees under 26 years of age has decreased substantially--from a high of about 88 percent in fiscal year 1969 to about 52 percent infiscal year 1988" (U.S. The teacher later understood that the free exchange of information was anunwritten code of learning in that part of the world. The Peace Corps education program has built a bridge across cultures. Volunteers also train primary and secondary school teachers.Because of the vast need for teachers, Peace Corps volunteers work withadults as well as children. Milton Viorst(Ed.). For instance, a teacher in Eastern Europe expressed herconsternation that her students routinely shared answers during classdiscussion and homework assignments often turned up with identical answers. Schwarz, K. Peace Corps volunteers who wish to become teachers must have atleast three months of continuous TEFL (teaching English as a foreignlanguage) tutoring experience. (1995). (October 14, 1996). While American culture values theindividualist approach to learning other cultures favor the collectivistapproach. 1 3). More Peace Corps volunteers serve in the agency's education programsthan in any other area. In To Touch the World:The Peace Corps Experience (95-96). Another measure of evaluating the success of the Peace Corps programis examining the percentage of volunteers who complete their tours of duty. (November/December 1994). Most volunteers spend an average of 27 months on an overseasassignment. Teachers helpstudents learn the basics of nutrition, hygiene, and first aid througheducational posters and brochures written in simple language. We're teaching a course inU.S. 9 ).Recently, the establishment of the Peace Corps Fellows/USA Program(PCF/USA) has created a means to facilitate former volunteers' desire tocontinue their services as teachers, this time through domesticassignments. Granted, some volunteers extend theirtours of duty but all must eventually leave the Corps to pursue otheravenues of career fulfillment. (1988). Teachers who deviate from the syllabus risk angeringschool administrations: "David had a big conflict with the principal ofhis overseas school because he tried to present so much lab work and otheractivities rather than preparing students enough for the test" (Bombaugh,1995, p. Examples of volunteers who possess scarceskills are doctors, veterinarians, education specialists, and cropextentionists. This is one of theattractions of Peace Corps service for new recruits, but sometimes theresponsibility can be overwhelming. After beingaccepted into the program, the Fellows are given orientation training, thenplaced in urban or rural classroom as permanent or substitute teachers.The fellows fill a need in critical-shortage subject areas and in schooldistricts that encounter difficulty finding staff. The potential ofreturned volunteers for recruitment is likewise under consideration:"implementing programs to enhance the efforts of returned Peace Corpsvolunteers to teach the American people about the cultures of beneficiarycountries" (U.S. The education function of the Peace Corpspertains to all three goals. Food shortages also complicate the teaching process. English language instruction is the majorcomponent of the program. 52). (1995). The United States has the most advanced education system in the world, andforeign nations can partake of this educational excellence by hosting PeaceCorps volunteers. Foreign students are often accustomed to strictdiscipline, and parents expect to see written evidence that the child hasbeen driven to work hard in school. The unique feature of the Peace Corps education program is that it isstaffed by full-time volunteers. Wollmering, R. While volunteers often help in this regard, manytry to steer their eager students toward using their education and skillsto help their home countries. 9). The Peace Corps assists this association with funding. The Peace Corps has taken a variety of steps to improve minorityrepresentation. In general, funding has not been a significant problem for the PeaceCorps. 13 ). Journal of Teacher Education, pp. life and institutions, and how each volunteer handles this may haveimportant long-term effects" (Schwarz, 1991, p. (1995). One Peace Corpsvolunteer admitted dismay at constantly being referred to by a racialepitaph: "But yovo [white stranger] got into my brain and became an evilword . Many Third World leaders believed thatsince learning was fundamental to progress and modernization, educationmight well be the most basic of all development tools" (Rice, 1986, p. Foreign students, accustomed to being taught by the didactic method,likewise resist teaching by more creative methods. A minority recruitment coordinator has been hired. According to the U.S. Because the host countries are poor, a shortage of materials forcesPeace Corps teachers to be creative. Study of a foreign language isan important factor in determining competitiveness. In To Touchthe World: The Peace Corps Experience (1 1-1 4). People who join the Peace Corps tend to beidealistic; if they fail to see the immediate benefits of their efforts,they are likely to become discouraged. The first is to provide trained manpowerfor Third World nations. This accomplishment brings to mind theparable that it is one thing to give a person a fish, it is even greater toteach that person how to fish. The need to cover requiredmaterial leaves little room for creativity or innovation. The University of California, Berkeley, the centerof student activism in the United States, has been by far the top schoolfor Peace Corps volunteers (Rice, 1986, p. A volunteer who established a fish cultureproject in the village of Kalambayi reaped immediate benefits from hisefforts: "People in Kalambayi now were producing something beyond thesubsistence level and doing it on their own, exclusively for their ownbenefit" (Tidwell, 199 , p. Peace Corps teachers must also adjust to cooperative learningmethods. Most students sit quietly and listen tothe instruction provided. Congress, 199 , p. 1 1). 39). One volunteer inGuatemala recalled being instructed not to speak English at the trainingcenter and being sent out into the city with a list of questions to ask thelocals in their native language, "Eventually a rescue party of traineesfinds me in the market trying to pantomime my way out of a confrontation.Apparently, I had asked a clerk to fight me when all I really wanted was topay for toilet paper" (Davis, 1995, p. They exhibit an eagerness to learn. Yet the PeaceCorps continues to attract bright, employable people willing to sacrificetwo years of their lives for minimal financial gain. The Corps established a target date of1992 (later adjusted) to meet this objective, a target which appears almostunreachable: "On several occasions, the Peace Corps Director has statedthat the funding levels have been inadequate to attain a 1 , -volunteerforce" (GAO, 199 , p. Thislegislation has significantly affected the nature and objectives of thePeace Corps since it has meant the agency must almost double its presentnumber of volunteers and trainees. Some programs are speciallydesigned to acquaint the students with the fundamentals of a free society.As one volunteer notes, "The Ministry of Education has asked us to open theminds of its young people to democratic ideas. References Bombaugh, R. As one African-American volunteer in Nepal relates, "I wishI had shared my hurt and fears with my PCV friends from the beginning. Yet another measure of success are the requests for Peace Corpsvolunteers from host countries. The students mostly listenand take notes. GAO. . New York: Vintage. And the third goal is toafford volunteers the opportunity to learn about other cultures, againthrough firsthand contact. PeaceCorps. 95). In 1985, aspart of the Peace Crops enabling legislation, the U.S. The changing attitudes of today's recent college graduates ispartly to blame. Congress, 199 ,p. If none is forthcoming, repressed bitterness and resentmentmight result. 95). The agency, which provides more than 6, volunteers to more than 7 countries, is unable to meet the additionaldemand. government. U.S. 35). 82). PeaceCorps volunteers persevere, however, because their goal is the educationalwelfare of their students. Congress. Peace Corps: Meeting the challenges of the199 s. Vocational EducationJournal, p. Each presidential administration, whether liberal or conservative,has recognized the need for the agency's services: "The Peace Corps andVISTA were the only government programs that relied on a unique strategyfor fighting poverty, both in the United States and abroad: use of thefull-time volunteer" (Reeves, 1988, p.
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