Vinnysia Civics Education for Teachers Project
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Info about the Vinnysia Civics Education for Teachers Project
PCV Sandra Jacobs initiated Civics Education training for teachers of Social Studies, Ethics and English in partnership with her NGO, Youth Center Forum, and the Vinnytska Oblast Teacher Recertification Institute. As of Oct 2006, 235 teachers have attended the 3 hour seminar. The main focus is the lesson plan series Civics Education: Your Responsibility in Ukraine's Democracy (available at the PC Resource Center). English teachers also receive a CD Rom with all YD-subject lesson plans to encourage classroom activities outside of basic grammar.
Civics and Democracy; Leadership; Training/Seminars; Youth.
On October 6, 2006, sixty English teachers from throughout Vinnytsa Oblast gathered at the Teacher Recertification Institute for a three hour seminar on civics education. The seminar, taught by PCV Sandra Jacobs, is a part of a new effort to expand civics education throughout the country. Sandra is a part of the Peace Corps Ukraine's Economic Development project, and works at Youth Center Forum NGO in that capacity.
A USAID Small Project Assistance grant made the initial project possible. When Sandra arrived at her site, she discussed several project ideas with her counterpart, Sophia Gorobets. "We focused on how to use the many existing resources of Peace Corps, rather than trying to create yet another manual," says Sandra. The lesson plan series Civics Education: Your Responsibility in Ukraine's Democracy impressed Sophia. She explains, "The availability of Ukrainian and English-language lesson plans on topics such as citizen rights and responsibilities, advocacy, community needs assessments and projects made it easy to formulate a project." The pair decided that the best way to utilize the resource was through a series of teacher trainings.
Rather than approach individual schools, Sophia and Sandra approached the Vinntysia Teacher Recertification Institute for a project partnership. Several subject methodologists expressed interest in participation, including the Social Studies, Ethics and English chief methodologists. Thus, the initial project plan included training materials for 100 teachers of various subjects.
The first seminars were a success. Although teachers from all subjects enjoyed learning about the new methodologies and civics-focused subjects, the strongest response came from English teachers. Valentina Guseva, the head of English methodology for Vinnytsia Oblast, explains "The English teachers enjoy the interaction with a native speaker and a young Ukrainian community leader. They also obtain valuable methodological skills and English language resources to improve their teaching."
"English teachers are excited to have new ideas for their classroom. Many times, they are tired of discussing the same topics over and over in conversation. Providing lesson plans on civics, complete with new vocabulary and activity instructions, gives them alternative ways to encourage the students to speak English. And due to the subject, the speaking required is often more complex -- discussion of ideas and opinions vs. concrete facts. Finally, the students benefit additionally from learning how to be active and responsible citizens, all while speaking English," explained Sandra.
Each teacher also receives a small gift from Peace Corps at the end of each training seminar -- a CD with English-language lesson plans and activities from the Peace Corps Ukraine Youth Development Project. Subjects included are Business, Technology, Healthy Lifestyles, Citizenship, Environment and Sports, in addition to an electronic copy of the Civics Education manual and even an English version of the Ukrainian Constitution. Says one teacher, "I teach English to 10th and 11th formers. The civics resources and methodology from this seminar will allow me to introduce new topics for speaking exercises." Another added, "I want to use the English lesson plans on Healthy Lifestyles and the Environment that are on the CD. And maybe have my pupils do a special report on American sports during Country Studies."
As of the October seminar, 235 teachers have attended the Civics Education seminar. Because new teachers arrive each month at the Teacher Recertification Institute, they plan on continuing the course as long as the Institute and teachers remain enthusiastic. PCV: Jacobs Sandra(Economic Development, Group 28)E-Mail: [email protected]