Publication Date

2010

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Ken Williams

Abstract

This paper presents a discussion about Peace Corps Volunteers as community development and coalition building agents and some of the challenges they face while working in-country. By analyzing the different development theories in relation to the process of development I found that the way a project is approached, the pre-service cultural assumptions, and the intercultural communication conflicts that arise, affect the productivity of many volunteers. Without proper support, these conflicts often seem overwhelming, frustrating, and debilitating. Through a qualitative inquiry process, seven Peace Corps Volunteers working in Ecuador participated in a Strategic Questioning interview as a means of reflection and “process” to overcome the challenges that came up in their work situations. The paper highlights the process of Strategic Questioning and assesses its effectiveness as a supportive tool for Peace Corps Volunteers working in community development. Although few of the participants felt “movement” or a change in their plans of action after participating in the Strategic Questioning process, participants did express positive statements during feedback about the process. Overall, the Peace Corps Volunteers appreciated the chance to speak about their circumstances, and every one of them felt “heard” (some, for the first time since beginning their Peace Corps service) during the process. Even if direct results are not apparent at the time of the interview, this study shows that Strategic Questioning can be used as an effective tool to support Peace Corps Volunteers working in Community Development in the field.

Disciplines

Civic and Community Engagement | Other Teacher Education and Professional Development

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