Dr Ania Byerly

Senior Teaching Fellow in Language Education


Dr Ania Byerly is a Senior Teaching Fellow in Language Education at the Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh, contributing to a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, such as MSc TESOL and MSc Language Education, Initial Teacher Education, 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 social class, 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; structural and individual factors enabling teacher agency; critical analysis of education policy landscapes and policy mediation in the fields of EAL, bilingualism, playful pedagogies, Early Years and wider areas of social justice; 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.

Professional/teaching experience

  • Research Project Coordinator for Edinburgh Multilingual Stories Festival, co-led by Bilingualism Matters at the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences (UoE), Theatre Sans Accents and Polish Cultural Festival Association (2018-19)
  • Senior Teaching Fellow in Childhood Studies; Programme Director BA Childhood Practice (2016-2017)
  • Associate Tutor at the Moray House School of Education's  Initial Teacher Education and various Masters' level programmes (2009-2016) - experience of teaching, assessment and supervision of undergradate and postgraduate students on a variety of courses and programmes
  • Co-coordinator of Mind The Gap, professional support group for PhD students and early career researchers (2014)
  • Sessional Youth Worker with BCDP/CORE and SCOREscotland, working with children and young people from minority ethnic communities, which face racism and discrimination in their daily lives (2009-2016)
  • Bilingual Support Assistant with the City of Edinburgh Council's English as an Additional Laguage (EAL) Service - supporting Polish bilingual children's language development in both languages, as well as fostering intercultural competence of all pupils in various primary schools (and some secondary schools) across the city (2009 - 2013)
  • TEFL/TESOL teacher at summer language schools
  • Senior Nursery Nurse at Bright Horizons Family Solutions (2007-2008)

Undergraduate teaching

Educational Studies 2b

Educational Studies 3

Educational Studies 4


also in the past:

Education 1

Education 2

Education 3

Education 4 (MA Primary)

Childhood Practice Research Project (BA Childhood Practice)

Postgraduate teaching

Second Language Teaching Curriculum

TESOL Methodology

Evaluation and Design of TESOL materials

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


also in the past:

Education Policy and Politics of Education (MSc Education)

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

Sources of Knowledge (Msc Education/MSc TESOL)

Planning Research (Msc Education/MSc TESOL)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

Undergraduate dissertations on MA Primary programme - Play in the Early Years, Play in Primary 1, Risky play, Outdoor play/learning.

MSc TESOL and MSc Language Teaching dissertations in the area of critical literacy, critical pedagogy and intercultural education.

Past PhD students supervised

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)

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

Research summary

  • social justice and social inequality
  • intercultural, multicultural and anti-racist education, critical multiculturalism
  • legislation and education policy narratives
  • 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 TESOL, including the promotion of the value of modern/foreign/community language learning
  • intercultural communication
  • migration, language learning, cultural and ethnic diversity in Early Years

Current research interests

• What is is like to be bi/multilingual? Exploration of bilingualism through arts with schools and communities (Edinburgh Multilingual Stories Festival, 2018)

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

Knowledge exchange

  • Co-organiser of CPD workshops for EAL teachers on antiracism in policy and practice (2012-present)
  • 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

Current project: Edinburgh Multilingual Stories Festival



Past projects: