Dr Ania Byerly

Lecturer in Language Education


Dr Ania Byerly is a Lecturer in Language Education at the Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh. Ania has contributed to a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, such as MSc TESOL and MSc Language Education, and in the past also BA and MA Primary (ITE) and BA Childhood Practice. Ania is a qualified Early Years and Primary School teacher, specialising in Teaching English as a Foreign/Additional Language to young children. She brings over a decade of experience as a teacher educator, working in the areas of inclusive, intercultural and anti-racist education, with a focus on developing pre-service and in-service teachers' understanding of various social justice issues: from ethnicity and 'race' through to linguistic and religious diversity. Her teaching is based on research with Scottish primary school teachers during a time of increased migration into Scotland, increased numbers of bilingual learners in schools, and a curriculum reform, resulting in a PhD in Education awarded in 2016, on the topic of Scottish primary school teachers' perspectives on multicultural and anti-racist education.

Ania's work in Higher Education is also informed by practice with children and young people of all ages, from nursery through primary and secondary schools, in youth work, ESOL and EAL contexts. Ania's current research interest include teachers' pedagogical practices in the context of children's ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity; multilingualism, learning through play, and wider social justice and racial literacy; structural and individual factors enabling teacher agency; critical analysis of education policy landscapes and policy mediation; as well as considerations necessary for continuing teacher development for critical pedagogy, critical literacy, intercultural and anti-racist education. 

Ania grew up in Warsaw, Poland; speaks both Polish and English daily, in addition to having some working knowledge of Spanish and French, and attempting to learn Japanese.

Responsibilities & affiliations

Programme Director for Teacher Education at Bilingualism Matters, University of Edinburgh


Undergraduate teaching

in the past:

Education 1, Educational Studies 2b, Educational Studies 3, Educational Studies 4 (MA Primary)

Childhood Practice Research Project (BA Childhood Practice)

Postgraduate teaching

Course Organiser of Dissertations (MSc TESOL, MSc Language Education and MSc Language and Intercultural Communication)

Teaching Languages to Young Learners (MSc TESOL/ MSc Language Education)

Second Language Teaching Curriculum (MSc TESOL/ MSc Language Education)

TESOL Methodology (MSc TESOL/ MSc Language Education)


in the past:

Evaluation and Design of TESOL materials (MSc TESOL/ MSc Language Education)

Critical literacies and Critical Pedagogies in L1 and L2 contexts (MSc TESOL/ MSc Language Education)

Education Policy and Politics of Education (MSc Education)

Children and Young People 1 (MSc Transformative Learning and Teaching)

Sources of Knowledge (Research Methods 1)

Conceptualising Research (Research Methods 2)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

Mariel De Luna https://www.ed.ac.uk/profile/mariel-deluna-student

Lianya Qiu https://www.ed.ac.uk/profile/lianya-qiu-student 

Past PhD students supervised

PhD students researching play and teacher/educator pedagogies in the Early Years - Liz Latto and Carol Smith

MSc TESOL and MSc Language Education - masters dissertations in the area of critical literacy, critical pedagogy and intercultural education; reflexivity in teacher education.

Undergraduate dissertations on MA Primary and BA Childhood Practice  - topics around supporting EAL learners in the classroom, teacher attitudes to bilingualism, learning through play and many other.

MSc Education dissertations - topics on critical policy analysis, textbook analysis, education for social justice (gender, ethnicity, social class, etc)


Research summary

  • social justice and social inequality
  • intercultural, multicultural and anti-racist education, critical multiculturalism
  • legislation and education policy narratives around racial literacy, multilingualism, equity
  • discourse analysis /language of 'equality, diversity and inclusion'
  • ethnicity, 'race' and identity issues in schools and society
  • Initial Teacher Education, teachers as agents of change
  • bilingualism, EAL and the promotion of the value of modern/foreign/community language learning
  • intercultural communication
  • migration, language learning, cultural and ethnic diversity in Early Years

Past research interests

Fathers' involvement in schools (East Lothian Father Friendly Schools, joint research project by Fathers Network Scotland, University of Edinburgh and Prestonpans Infant School, 2017) http://www.fathersnetwork.org.uk/dad_friendly_schools What is is like to be bi/multilingual? Exploration of bilingualism through arts with schools and communities (Edinburgh Multilingual Stories Festival, 2018)

Knowledge exchange

  • Co-organiser of CPD workshops for EAL teachers on antiracism in policy and practice (2012-2015)
  • Guest speaker at CPD workshops on Inclusive Practice for Equality Coordinators and Head Teachers in Edinburgh schools, ASL Service (2016-present)
  • Finalist of the University of Edinburgh's 3 Minute Thesis competition (2014)
  • Participant in the Beltane Public Engagement Network's event: PhD in an hour (January 2017)
  • Presenter of papers at various national and international educational conferences (EERA, SERA, CERES international conferences on education for racial equality)

Affiliated research centres

Project activity