Darren Brookes
Online mentoring, international ELT community engagement and the Cambodia TESOL experience

"CamTESOL", held in Phnom Penh each February, is now one of the largest annual ELT conferences in the Asia-Pacific. In addition to the main two-day conference program, there are also NEAS sponsored leadership and quality forums, local site visits and a full day UECA sponsored research symposium. A part of the full day research program is a research grant awards program.

In this session, the UECA Research Grants Mentoring program project coordinator will show how Australian mentors are selected from UECA member centres to work one on one with research grant recipients online. This international community engagement provides a direct link between the Australian mentor, their centre and the wider ELT research community.

The coordinator will also present on the various online strategies and social media used to manage and engage a diverse cohort of researchers across the region. The goal of this mentoring is to ensure that papers are of a suitable standard and quality, not only for presentation, but also for consideration for publication in the Language Education in Asia (LEIA) journal. The coordinator will also demonstrate how online and face to face Communities of Practice (CoP) have been used to engage researchers from high context cultures and to also help the Australian mentors to connect and share strategies.

Darren Brookes has been the University English Centres Australia (UECA) project coordinator for the Cambodia TESOL ASEAN Regional Research Grant Recipient Mentoring program since 2013. In the last two iterations of the project, Darren has coordinated a team of local mentors, selected from UECA member centers, to work one on one with research grant recipients from several ASEAN member countries. Darren holds a Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics from The University of Queensland and has worked across the ELICOS, EFL and higher education sectors for nearly twenty years. His special interests include eLearning, mLearning, Blended Learning, Project Management and the professional development of educators. As coordinator for the Research Grant Mentoring project, Darren has investigated ways in which to effect and manage online communities of practice for both mentors and researchers using online spaces and various social media. Darren is currently directing his own eLearning consultancy in Melbourne. His clients include NEAS, UECA and English Australia member colleges and universities.