iTeachCommunity is an organization that delivers a program of English language training via Skype. Through one-on-one weekly lessons, learners in remote rural communities develop their reading, oral and listening skills. We focus on training teachers, who in turn train their students. In this way the project seeks to maximize the benefits beyond the individual and encourage self-sufficiency at the grassroots level.
Brown University has partnered with Self Help Community Centre (SHCC) in Siem Reap, Cambodia. For our students, English is an important skill in enhancing employment prospects, as Siem Reap is home to Angkor Watt, a tourist mecca. By targeting language skills specific to the hospitality and tourism industry, iTeachCommunity aims to improve the learning outcomes and employment prospects of the students at SHCC.
Going forward, we hope to expand the program to other countries and to fine-tune our core-curriculum so that it can be applied to any school in any country.
I spent the summer of 2010 in the Kro Bei Real community in Seam Reap, Cambodia. When I arrived I was just another volunteer, yet another foreigner trying to contribute. However, one month into my stay I realized that this was more than a summer abroad. The people I met, the students I taught, and the teachers I worked with had become my friends and my family.
Most volunteers work for a defined amount of time in an area, and subsequently leave to continue their lives. Their irregular arrivals and departures create a disruptive and inconsistent learning environment for students. However, these volunteers are an important resource in the teaching of English. The education system in Cambodia is poorly funded and local teachers are often poorly trained and teach by rote from textbooks.
To overcome the situation of the ‘revolving door’ of foreign volunteers, I founded iTeachCommunity. In collaboration with universities and college students in America and Australia, iTeachCommunity provides regular and sustained access to ‘e-volunteering’ teachers for English language training. By using Skype, we could deliver this service anywhere, anytime.
Blair (USA) Skyping with Sokun (Cambodia)
Luke (Australia) Skyping with Nara (Cambodia)
The teachers of SHCC
Students at SHCC