Thaya Uthayophas '15

iTEACH

iTeachCommunity is a club at Brown University that currently delivers industry-specific English lessons over Skype to students in Cambodia. Through weekly one-on-one lessons, iTeachCommunity develops the reading, oral, and listening skills of students in rural Cambodian communities, enabling them to succeed vocationally in an increasingly English-based tourist industry.

As iTeachCommunity seeks to expand to other countries and universities, this project aims to standardize the service iTeachCommunity offers through (1) creating master teaching curriculums tailored to two specific industry areas: tourism and education (2) finding expansion models to other campuses and partner-schools, and (3) organizing an online Google Drive database to standardize and centralize files and build institutional memory. The project's secondary aim is to establish connection for potential expansion between partner-schools in Panama and Thailand and the iTeachCommunity. 

Personal statement

I am from Bangkok, Thailand. My country is 71st in the world's education ranking and is categorized in the "very low English proficiency" status by the EF academy. The fact that I was able to attend an international school where I learned to speak English is a testament to my privileged status in Thailand. Others are not so lucky. With a woefully inadequate public education system, Thailand cannot provide the majority of its students with competent English education.

As a sophomore in high school, I went on a service trip with my friends to help teach English in one of the schools in the Thai provinces. Although I enjoyed teaching, I was greatly alarmed to learn that we were the only volunteers there in the space of a few months. No wonder the children try to learn so hard. I thought to myself. They know that I will be leaving soon. There is a lack of decent sustained English education there, and my temporary visit was of limited help. As much as the children tried, language cannot be learned without constant interaction with teachers.

Since coming to Brown University I believe that I can play a much greater role in affecting change in the community. One of the clubs that I joined during my freshman year is ITeachCommunity. ITeachCommunity appealed to me because of the simplicity of its concept. Through Skype, I can provide sustained English lessons to schools with the same problem of continuity I saw earlier in the provincial school in Thailand. I have been involved with ITeachCommunity for two years now, and I firmly believe in the merit of the program. I am excited to see where ITeachCommunity will be going in a few years and wish to play a central role in branding the program for its expansion to other colleges and communities.

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