|A Trainer's Resource Guide (Peace Corps, 1983, 199 p.)|
The selection of Volunteers is a sensitive and difficult task. It requires assessing trainees on the basis of observable behaviors and skills that are needed to serve as a Volunteer. A decision cannot be made on the simple notion that the trainee is a "good trainee" or will make a "good Volunteer". There must be clear criteria on which to base this decision, i.e. specific behavioral learning. These criteria are established by country' staff an can found in the task analysis for Volunteer assignments. It is important to realize that the assessment criteria involves more than just observations of technical or language skill levels, it also includes observations on social and cultural sensitivity, emotional maturity, motivation and productive competence. The latter four areas are less concrete and difficult to assess unless the training staff has a clear understanding of what is mean by each.
1. Productive Competence - This is defined as the way in which the Volunteer is able to transfer skills to a counterpart or counterparts. Implied in this definition is the relative ability of the Volunteers to set goals, identify, analyze and solve problems, employ effective methods of communications, an.- bring and resources to bear on problems.
Specific behaviors which demonstrate productive competence are asking appropriate questions, begins problem solving activities, sets goals, developing different strategies, asking for clarification and helping the group stay on the task.
2. Social Sensitivity - To perform successfully overseas as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and individual must possess a high degree of social sensitivity. A number of traits, characteristics and behavior patterns combine to form the indicators of one's level of social sensitivity, including respect and empathy, cultural awareness, interaction skills and the ability to adjust.
The following behaviors demonstrate a high level of social sensitivity: attentive listening, considering others opinions, awareness of personal appearance as ti relates to a culture and uses appropriate language.
3. Emotional Maturity - Volunteers are exposed to unfamiliar and often stress-producing environments without the cultural a-other familiar support systems which have provided them emotional security in the past. Volunteers must, then, possess a strong attitude about self in order to deal effectively with the new and unfamiliar situations.
Some behaviors which reflect emotional maturity are the ability to take responsibility for ones own behavior, responsiveness to feedback, admits mistakes, sensitivity to others needs and recognizes strengths and weaknesses.
4. Motivation - Applicants to Peace Corps may vary in their motivations or reasons for wanting to serve in the Peace Corps. The applicant's motivation should provide a balance between an elightened self interest, which acknowledges the gains the applicant expects, and an altruistic human intarian values system, which allows the person to fulfill a personal obligation to help others. In the assessment, high motivation is evident when a trainee attends sessions on time, makes inquiries about the country and job assignment, solicits feedback, completes assignments and persists in difficult situations.
Trainees should be informed about the assessment process and be involved in and encouraged to monitor their own progress. (Attached is a sample handout that explains the process and invites trainees to actively monitor their progress.)
There are many ways to involve trainees in this process. One which has met with success is the usage of regular interviews with the trainees. During these interviews the trainee and the trainer have an opportunity to share information on how the trainee is meeting the objectives of training. The attached form can be used as a guide for the interviews. It helps focus the discussions on the assess criteria and allows for specific feedback. Please not that any documentation on trainees must be made available to them upon request.
II. Early Termination
Several documents must be completed if a trainee decides to leave training or is told to leave. The completed documentation is forwarded to the Office of Special Services (OSS) where final decision is made in regards to any appeals, of future service for trainees who early terminate their service. More detailed information will be available from OSS upon request. Attached is the response of PC service, which is the official agency document on Staff should be very thorough in completing this form as major decisions are made based on the information contained in this document.