ENGLISH TEACHING ASSISTANTSHIP (ETA) PROGRAM
In 2013 the American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand Foundation (ATF) began supporting the Thai - U.S. Educational Foundation (Fulbright Thailand) by sponsoring American English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) to increase the English language proficiency of Thai students by working with English teachers and teaching English in schools throughout Thailand. In 2014, ATF donated Baht 3.5 million to Fulbright Thailand to support ten ETAs. The success of the program provided for its expansion in 2015 to 22 ETAs.
ETAs work as full-time English teachers at under-served schools throughout Thailand. After a month-long orientation in Bangkok, ETAs are dispersed to their respective provinces. ETAs teach conversational English for two semesters. There are host teachers to help acquaint ETAs with the school and who may occasionally co-teach. However, for the most part, ETAs are mandated to design their own lessons and structure their own classes. The grade levels vary widely, from kindergarten to twelfth grade, and English proficiency can vary just as widely even within the same classroom. For many Thai students, who have never spoken in English with any foreigner, having a class with an ETA is their first interaction with a non-Thai person. ETAs provide two invaluable resources when learning any type of language: a native speaker and a passionate teacher. Most ETAs are recent college graduates who bring their youthful energy into the classroom. They approach classroom challenges optimistically and willingly.
In the broader community, the ETA is usually one of a handful of foreigners, if not the only foreigner. Locals often approach them with curiosity and ask questions. Simply answering questions with a positive attitude can greatly change the perceptions that local Thais have of foreigners, particularly Americans. Therefore, ETAs also act as ambassadors who can potentially help bridge the cultural divide between Americans and Thais.
English proficiency is an incredibly sought after resource in Thailand. With the continued internationalization of the Thai economy, English has become a perquisite for a growing number of jobs. English is one of the major subjects in the Thai education system and included in every major national examination. Although the Thai government invests heavily into education, Thailand’s English proficiency is still among the lowest in Southeast Asia. Narrowing the gap between the economy's demand for English speakers and the scarce supply of Thai English speakers is one of the long-term goals of AMCHAM Thailand and its members.
To have a more personal look at the ETA program, here are some blog stories by former and current ETAs.
Some of the 2015 ETAs with U.S. Ambassador Glyn T. Davies at AMCHAM's October 2015 monthly luncheon
TEACHER FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM
Begun in 2005 as a direct response to the loss of teachers in the wake of the 2004 tsunami, this program places educators in schools in areas of need. Sponsoring a teacher can provide your company with a direct and personal link to a local school.
Thank you to Philip Morris (Thailand) and Hemaraj Land and Development for donating to the AMCHAM Teacher Fellowship Program.
Hemaraj Land Development
In 2010, Hemaraj Land and Development donated Baht 200,000 to the AMCHAM Teacher Fellowship Program. This marks another year of Hemaraj’s strong commitment to providing quality teachers to needy Thai schools.
In addition to providing teachers, Hemaraj Land and Development also organized “Train the Trainers” program to train primary school teachers to effectively enhance their teaching skills.
David Nardone, President & CEO of Hemaraj Land and Development,
posed for a photo with young children at Baan Nong Fab School, Rayong.
After completing the “Train the Trainers” program,
a teacher is using her new skills to educate children.
Philip Morris (Thailand)
On December 22, 2010, Philip Morris (Thailand) donated Baht 666,960 to support seven teachers at five schools in the province of Narathiwat, where the number of teachers have been dramatically decreasing due to increased violence in the area.
In 2013 the AMCHAM Thailand Charitable Foundation begun supporting the Thai - U.S. Educational Foundation (Fulbright Thailand) by sponsoring American English Teaching Assistants based in Thailand. In 2014, ATF donated Baht 3.5 million to Fulbright Thailand to support ten English Teaching Assistantships. You can read their stories about the joy and challenges of teaching English in Thailand on this blog.