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UECA: University English Centres Australia
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UECA INITIATIVES


BENCHMARKING


Download a summary of the benchmarking findings by joining our mailing list.

Reports available for 2014 and 2015.


Please note, a more detailed report is available to UECA members who participated in the benchmarking. Please contact UECA Secretary directly for a copy of the report.

LATIN AMERICAN MISSION, COLOMBIA, BRAZIL & CHILE


In late August 2014, 8 UECA members will participate in the first UECA mission to Latin America – one of Australia’s most important ELICOS markets globally.

This mission is designed to profile and position Australia’s strengths and capabilities in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL). Meetings, briefings and networking opportunities with government, industry, peak bodies and tertiary education institutions will enable participants to identify new and emerging opportunities, while allowing UECA and its member institutions to promote Australia as a leading provider of high quality English language and training programs.

Key areas of focus will include initial teacher training, English language delivery for scholarship applicants and prospective applicants, as well as English for the workplace. The mission will include activities in Colombia, Brazil and Chile. Dates have been selected to coincide with several education fairs that take place in the region.

NORTHEAST ASIA MISSION


In 2013, a delegation of 18 UECA representatives visited Japan, Korea and Taiwan. The aim of the Northeast Asia Mission was to encourage students to visit Australia for study abroad and working holiday programs including specialized internships and work placement opportunities.

The mission also met with representatives from universities in Taipei, Seoul, Tokyo and Osaka to discuss developing partnerships in research and teacher training programs.

As part of the Northeast Asia Mission UECA representatives had one-on-one individual appointments with prospective students. The seminar included sessions on: ‘Introduction to Australia’, ‘Useful tips for Working Holiday Makers (WHM)’, ‘Student Visa and Working Holiday Visas’ and ‘Internships in Australia’.

SOUTHEAST ASIA MISSION


As the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) prepares to launch its economic community in 2015, the official lingua franca for all business, trade and exchange between member nations will be English. As certain ASEAN members’ states have restricted the use of the English language (e.g. Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia), this has proved particularly challenging.

The University English Centres of Australia (UECA) strategy in this region is to target countries in the ASEAN network to assist in the development of their own English language training programs that will teach conversational and written skills. As part of this plan UECA is organising annual marketing missions to Southeast Asia to promote member colleges and their programs.

KEY INITIATIVES


2013 SOUTHEAST ASIA MISSION


As part of the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Australia and Vietnam, a delegation of 13 members from University English Centres Australia (UECA) visited Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand in February 2013.

UECA facilitated discussions between Cambodian, Thai and Vietnamese institutions charged with improving the nations’ English language competency and development of the Global Human Capital in the region. ASEAN universities and colleges from the region met with UECA members to share experiences and explore partnership opportunities in core capability areas including Corporate Programs, Teaching Methodologies, Research Skills Development and English Language Teacher Training.

Vietnam


In February 2013 UECA, together with the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), in collaboration with the National Foreign Languages 2020 Project, Ministry of Education and Training and Vietnam National University, organised a workshop entitled ‘Vietnam – Australia: Latest Methodologies and Developments in Teaching English at Universities’.

Members of the UECA delegation ran a series of English demonstration classes for Vietnamese teachers and students. The workshops also provided an opportunity for UECA members and Vietnamese teachers to share experiences and explore partnership opportunities in core capability areas.

Thailand


In February 2013, 10 members of the UECA delegation met with Thai government officials and university representatives in Bangkok to discuss the specific requirements needed to build English skills in their nation. UECA members presented workshops and seminars on subjects varying from ‘Technology and Innovation in English classrooms’ to ‘Professional Development Skills for English teachers’.

UPCOMING EVENTS


2015 RELC Conference


UECA plans to attend the RELC Conference in Singapore and utilise this opportunity to provide major support and activities in the region in 2015 and beyond.

2015 Southeast Asia Mission


As part of the Southeast Asian Mission, UECA will focus on Indonesia in 2015 with both school and university events in Jakarta, Medan and Makassar.

CamTESOL
PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA


University English Centres Australia (UECA) is a primary sponsor of the annual Cambodian TESOL Conference in Phnom Penh (CamTESOL). The conference brings together English Language Teaching (ELT) professionals including; teachers, researchers, administrators, educators, industry professionals and the Ministry of Education officials in Cambodia and the broader Southeast Asian regions to exchange ideas, research and information about excellence in ELT.

This conference plays a vital role in highlighting research in the teaching of the English language in the region and around the world. UECA supports development of research-based papers by local and regional teacher-researchers for consideration for publication in Language Education in Asia (LEiA). LEiA is a peerreviewed online journal, inspired by the annual CamTESOL conference and is supported by UECA.

UECA is the sponsor of the CamTESOL Regional Research Symposium, a full day pre-conference event with a focus on promoting language research in the region. The symposium targets language-related researchers including those preparing doctoral theses.

KEY UECA INITIATIVES IN THE REGION


CamTESOL Regional Innovation in ELT Research Award
Keuk Chan Narith, Lecturer at the Royal Unviersity of Phnom Penh (RUPP) was the winner of the 2013 Regional Innovation in ELT Research Award. Narith is currently a PhD student at Macquarie University on the Australian Leadership Award (ALA). UECA recognises innovative research and encourages more practicing teachers to become engaged in local research adding to the quality of teaching English in their countries and the region.

Narith’s groundbreaking research focuses on the distinct characteristics of a Cambodian variety of English. This subject has not received international attention but plays a vital role in the development of school curriculum and textbook improvements for use in Cambodian classrooms. It provides a benchmark for improving the quality of teaching and learning English in Cambodia.

2012 ELT Research Workshops in Phnom Penh
The February 2012 ELT Research Workshop sponsored by UECA in Phnom Penh provided an opportunity for ELT researchers to discuss the possibilities for collaborative research projects and provide impetus for the development of ELT research in Cambodia. This contributed toward a cohesive focus of research-based papers emanating from the CamTESOL conference and feeding into the LEiA publication.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES


Regional ELT Research Grants Program Group
UECA also funds the annual Regional ELT Research Grants Program. These grants support delegates who wish to pursue research each year and present their findings at the following CamTESOL Conference. Their work will then be submitted for consideration for publication in LEiA.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FEST


University English Centres Australia (UECA) Professional Development (PD) Fest provides an opportunity for teachers to share ideas and teaching techniques, and offers strategies to develop engaging curricula. It also explores issues facing the industry and discusses opportunities for career development.

UECA PD Fest is designed especially for early career, experienced and master level teachers. The aim is to present a range of teaching activities and methods, selected to transfer readily to the local teaching context. Over the past two years, the fest has attracted teachers from across Australia and is now a key event feature in the TESOL calendar. UECA works closely with the peak industry body, English Australia on this event.

TEACHER AND LEARNER ENGAGEMENT - PD FEST SYDNEY 2014


This full day of professional development held at the University of New South Wales Institute of Languages (UNSWIL) included opening and closing keynotes, four sessions of 50-minute workshops in four streams, lunch, networking opportunities and an early evening social event.

The theme of this PD Fest was Teacher and Learner Engagement and was aimed at providing professional development for teachers by teachers at UECA and English Australia member institutions. Workshops were presented in four streams – Motivation, Innovation, Evaluation and Exploration.

COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE - PD FEST 2013


In May 2013, University English Language Centres of Australia (UECA), English Australia and UTS:INSEARCH presented the theme of Communities of Practice, aimed at providing professional development around our teacher communities. Workshops were also presented in three streams – Early Career Teachers, Experienced Teachers and Master Teachers.

PD FEST 2012


In March 2012, the PD Fest was launched by UECA at the Centre for English Teaching at the University of Sydney. More than 140 participants from across the country and New Zealand attended the workshops designed for ESL and TESOL teachers.

The keynote address, entitled ‘Lifelong Learning’, was given by Associate Professor Ken Cruikshank from the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney. The principal focus of the workshop was to investigate a blueprint for the language centre of the future and the best way for teachers to adapt to the rapidly changing world. Presentations covered a range of topics including; ‘Advanced Drama Techniques in Language Learning’, ‘Creating an Inclusive Curriculum for our Students’, ‘Teaching Outside the Box’ and ‘Using Technology’.

The workshops were complemented by panel sessions aimed at investigating career growth for teachers and the TESOL environment of the future. In October 2014, UECA’s Professional Development Fest will focus on identifying the specific needs of University TESOL Educators. For the first time, the Fest will be hosted in Adelaide to enable educators from other states to participate.

REGIONAL ELT RESEARCH GRANTS PROGRAM


The Regional ELT Research Grants Program involves researchers from countries in the ASEAN region: Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia and The Philippines. Researchers involved in this project have represented numerous institutions including The Institute of Technology of Cambodia, The Royal University of Law and Economics, The University of Puthisastra, Politeknik Negeri Padang, The British Council, Can Tho University and De La Salle University.

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane is the project mentor for the 2013/14 Regional ELT Research Grants Program. The research interests cover a diverse range of topics including: ESP, ELT Writing, Primary and Secondary EFL, collaborative learning and college student anxieties in speaking English.

In 2014 the Regional ELT Research Grant recipients presented at a group colloquium at the 2014 Cambodia TESOL Research Symposium to be held in Phnom Penh. Researchers talked about their experiences during the project; their challenges, the support received from their mentors and strategies to overcome some difficult situations. The Project Mentor discussed the communication strategies used to help researchers submit their abstracts and feedback mechanisms on draft and completed papers.

Participants at the group colloquium were shown the project plan and examples of the communication strategies and feedback mechanisms that were employed to help researchers with their papers. Participants gained an understanding of the risks and issues that arose during the project and the lessons learnt. This information will help inform parties interested in leading future mentoring projects.

In 2015, the UECA Regional ELT Research Grants Program will extend to support 14 local ASEAN teacher researchers in both mentoring and collaborative research projects.

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