Dr Ania Byerly

Teaching Fellow in Language Education


I am a qualified Early Years and Primary teacher, specialising in Teaching English as a Foreign Language to young children. I have worked with children and young people of all ages, from nursery through primary and secondary schools, in youth work, ESOL and EAL contexts, through to teaching in higher education. I consider myself a teacher and an educator and enjoy working with both students on higher education degrees, and children themselves. Over the last decade I've taught at the University of Edinburgh on Initial Teacher Education degrees (BEd, MA Primary and MSc Transformative Learning and Teaching), MSc Education, as well as BA Childhood Practice, of which I was also a Programme Director.

My PhD followed my interest in teacher agency, policy landscapes and pedagogical practices in the context of children's ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity, resulting in a thesis entitled: 'Scottish primary school teachers' perspectives on multicultural and antiracist education'. I explored 9 class teachers' attitudes towards, and conceptualisations of, multi- and inter-culturalism, as well as antiracist practice, through nested case studies of the contexts of their work (macro - Scotland, meso - local authority, micro - individual schools). The findings of this study indicated three interconnected levels of deciding factors en route to critically multicultural practice: 1. teachers' characteristics and dispositions 2. structural barriers 3. policy to practice translation.

I am committed to fostering relationships between children, Early Years practitioners, teacher educators, student teachers, in-service teachers, specialist EAL teachers, and all people involved in education one way or another, with a view to empower each other in explicitly social justice-oriented, antiracist, critical and intercultural practice.

I grew up in Warsaw, Poland.

Professional/teaching experience

  • Research Project Coordinator for Edinburgh Bilingual 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 (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 Leatrning and Teaching)

Sources of Knowledge (Msc Education/MSc TESOL)

Planning Research (Msc Education/MSc TESOL)

Current PhD students supervised

Undergraduate dissertations on MA Primary programme 

MSc TESOL and MSc Language Teaching dissertations

Past PhD students supervised

Undergraduate dissertations on MA Primary and BA Childhood Practice

MSc Education dissertations

PhD students - 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: