Wendy Pfrenger

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Wendy Clarke Pfrenger
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Country Russia
Years: 1999-2001
Group Code RFE VII
Site(s) Arsenyev
Region(s) Russia Far East
Program(s) Education
Assignment(s) English Teacher/Training (TEFL)
From US state Florida
From US town/city Tallahassee
Wendy Clarke Pfrenger started in Russia 1999
Kendra Gray, Jennifer Pertgen, Andrew Pfrenger, Wendy Pfrenger
Region: Russia Far East
Wendy Pfrenger
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Volunteers who served in Russia, Russia volunteers, Kristine Fredrick, Kendra Gray, Jennifer Pertgen, Andrew Pfrenger, Wendy Pfrenger
Other Volunteers who served in Russia
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Russia volunteers, Volunteers who served in Russia, Kristine Fredrick, Kendra Gray, Patrick J. Perner, Jennifer Pertgen, Andrew Pfrenger, Wendy Pfrenger, Eric Stonebraker, Jennifer York
Projects in Russia
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Description of Service: Wendy Pfrenger began Peace Corps training on July 27, 1999 in Vladivostok, Primorski Krai, Russia Far East and completed a 10-week training program. Training included a course in the Russian language (145 hours), Cultural Awareness (81 hours), and Technical training. Cultural Awareness included lectures and discussions on political developments, economic and historical issues, and living with a Russian host family throughout the training period. Technical training (129.5 TEFL Tech) included methodology of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), practice teaching, and structure observations and feedback.

Wendy Pfrenger was sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer on October 1, 1999. She was responsible to the Ministry of Higher Education. Wendy served as a teaching of English assigned to Secondary School #7, located in the small town of Arsenyev, Primorski Krai.

Wendy worked primarily with English teachers, but also with one ecology teacher, to develop optional classes conducted primarily in English for students in grades 5-11. She also taught several regular classes of English a week, sharing them with a Russian colleague. She reported directly to Evgenia Ivanovna Kustintsova, Director of the School. She was responsible for teaching the following courses: Conversational English (Advanced), Conversational English (Beginner), American History and Poetry, 11th and 10th grade English, Ecology in English (7th grade), Habitats (6th grade), and Songs and Games in English (5th Grade).

The American History course covered the period from colonialization through World War I. The curriculum included a mix of lecture, readings, and debate. Students read and analyzed contemporary literary texts together with the history readings.

The ecology classes included the teaching of basic environmental concepts along with English vocabulary. Students practiced basic reading, writing, conversation, and grammar skills through activities which also emphasized knowledge acquisition about local ecosystems and critical thinking about environmental issues.

Wendy also organized some events in her time at School #7. These included a Halloween Party, a Haunted House (staffed by older students), and a town-wide Day of International Friendship, which involved participants from all schools and all ages in a poster contest and talent show. In collaboration with her husband, Andrew Pfrenger, she built an English Language Resource Center, complete with a xerox machine, books, video and audio cassettes, visual aids, a TV, computer, printer, and VCR for Arsenyev's students and teachers.

In addition to regular teaching duties, Wendy conducted an English club once a week for interested adults and older students. Through word of mouth, attendance increased to a core group of 5-6 high level speakers with regular attendance between 10-15. Club members would decide on their own what they wanted to discuss and Wendy would prepare discussion activities. Topics included medicine, education, holidays, the American justice system, and the environment. Along with the town's head English teacher, Wendy also organized a teacher's club which met once a week. Meetings were informal and the emphasis was on topics which would help teachers prepare their students for their exams. Wendy also conducted a weekly English club for the children of the local orphanage for a period of four months, as they had no language teacher available to them at that time.

Wendy Pfrenger assisted a local youth leader in building an adult KVN team in her last four months in Arsenyev. Working together with other teachers and community members, they built a team, wrote a script, and participated in a townwide KVN contest, taking second place. Wendy was awarded Best Female Roles. The youth organization Sozvezdiye presented her with a copy of their KVN curriculum and a video, with hopes that she would be able to bring KVN to American students.

After 24 months of Peace Corps service, Wendy was tested by a certified ACTFL examiner. She scored Advanced in spoken Russian.

Supplemental Information: Other highlights of Wendy's experience in the Peace Corps included membership in a Tourism Club led by Igor Kuleshov, cross-country skiing with a local team (though not competitively!), canning with the neighbors, cooking for friends and students, and tagging along with Seventh School's annual archaeological camp at Snake Hill/Zmeynaya Sopka (Alexander Levovich was the archaeologist). Another volunteer, Jack Honey, moved to Arsenyev in 2000 and collaborated with the Pfrengers on many projects. He worked at School #10.

Current Occupation: Wendy is currently teaching composition courses at the University of Connecticut part-time and enjoying being a mother of three.

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