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“Since 1961, a new kind of teacher has staffed classrooms throughout the developing world: He (or she) is a college or university graduate with a baccalaureate degree in science or humanities.

“Before Peace Corps training, he had never taught a class or planned to spend two years of his life teaching. After three months of Peace Corps preparation, he serves as a full-fledged faculty member in an overseas primary or secondary school. If he holds a graduate degree, he may teach at the college or university level.

“The new teacher is the backbone of the Peace Corps' biggest business — education. In 1968, Volunteer teachers will help educate more than 700,000 school children and will help train 55,000 teachers. Of the 6,200 assigned to teach this year (half the Peace Corps enrollment), fewer than one-third will be experienced teachers or education majors. The rest: liberal arts graduates whose first taste of teaching experience came during Peace Corps training.

“When the Peace Corps was established in 1961, requests poured in for teachers as newly-independent nations struggled to expand and improve school systems in the wake of colonialist withdrawal. It quickly became apparent that experienced teachers would never be available in quantities sufficient to keep pace with the burgeoning educational needs of Africa and other developing areas during the 1960s.

“The developing nations agreed to give the Peace Corps' non-experienced teacher a try. After six years, the Peace Corps still can't supply enough to fill all the requests at hand.

“The Peace Corps starts with the assumption that the college graduate has a good foundation in what to teach — his college major or minor — and that he has the ability to learn how to teach. Methodology, introduction to foreign educational systems and practice teaching develop this ability during Peace Corps training. The trainee must also generally modify any technical knowledge he has of American education to conform to the curriculum and methods of the host country's school systems. The Volunteer teacher continues to learn on the job, aided by in-service conferences with Peace Corps overseas staff and teaching experts.” – [p.2]


S 19.2:T 22/3


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