Self-Reflection on Community Teaching at Phayao in the “Personal Legal Status Problems Solving Development and Native Culture Searching” Academic Project

Nattakan Chomphuthong
BABSEACLE & BABSEACLE Foundation’s Legal Fellow

Getting involved in the “Personal legal Status Problems Solving Development and Native Culture Searching Academic Project” allowed me to work with law students, law lecturers and the community. This was my first time teaching a big community, and it was also the first time for the law students. We together worked hard to create the lesson plan, plan the trip, and prepare community teaching and activities. This project was planned to provide the community education on Acquisition of Thai Nationality to five communities who have personal legal status problems in the Phayao province, Thailand. Many participants could not understand or speak Thai. Therefore, cross-cultural communication was our biggest challenge. To get the most out of it, the teaching and materials needed to be interactive and easy to understand. The important thing was to make the participants feel comfortable and not feel divided between highbrow and rural people. Besides providing the community teaching, we also visited the villagers’ house to interview and collect information about their problems.

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I realize that community teaching is not about having a big class or many learners, but it is about how effective the teaching is. The main purpose of community teaching is giving the opportunity to students to learn and practice law through teaching a community. The minor purpose is to let the communities know their legal rights and how to access their legal rights. However, it should include raising awareness of their problems and self-problem solving. The teaching should encourage people to realize that it is their problem, so they need to care of and seek information to solve their problems. It will never work if they only rely on, or wait for help from government officers or others.

I am so happy that everyone said this trip that the students did a very good job, materials were very good and easy to understand, the students could solve problems, and various other good feedback. I am so proud to be the reason behind this success, and I am sure Ajarn will be proud of his students and his hard work as well. I have such an incredible feeling of happiness when I see the students are proud and happy of their success. I am proud of myself, and of course I am very proud of the students and my team. I felt that this time I was more tired than last time, but it was such a great fieldtrip experience that I never had before. I enjoyed working with the community and team. I do not know how to explain the feeling that I had while I was teaching and collecting information from the villagers. I just know that I would miss the meaning of life if I did not go there. From a law student who tried hard, through studying and reading books, now I understand that knowing everything is not everything. The incredible value of studying law is to be able to share our legal knowledge with people who do not know the law, and not judge or stigmatize marginal people just because the law or officers have said that they are not Thai. Now I know that the value of being human is to try our best to help others and contribute to society.

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I am thankful for every bridge: BABSEACLE, BABSEACLE Foundation, the partner university, the team and communities that brought me here to gain this experience, to learn new things from this project and from people who I worked with, and to help marginalized people. This experience makes me realize that I have found the meaning of my life, which is doing something for others, giving back to communities, and not just earning money or living from day to day. I am lucky to be surrounded by bighearted people.

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Author: Phuong

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