Current Students

Below is a growing list of current members of the PGR community.  It is not a complete list of students, but rather those who wished to have their name added to this public list.  Click on their names (if highlighted) to be taken to their individual websites/blogs to find out more about them and their research.

Raiha Aftab (2016)
Thesis Title: The Pro Social Classroom: Investigating the Influence of Teachers Social Emotional Competence
Research Interests: social and emotional competence; teacher’s mental health; students social and emotional competence; mental health at schools.
Bio: Pakistani (from Islamabad) I am a lecturer at National Institute of Psychology, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad and started my PhD in Sept. 2013. I am currently discovering the British life style and generally love reading books, watching movies and talking to people.

Ines Alves (2013)
Thesis title: Individual planning and the construction of educational difference: a comparative study of schools in England and Portugal
Research interests: Inclusion, Special education, Disability Rights, Comparative and Participatory research
Bio: Portuguese, trained to be a Primary/ Secondary Portuguese & French teacher, moved to London for a 1-year Masters degree – ended up staying 3 years and doing 2 masters, lived 2 years in Italy while working on a European Project (

Rob Buck (2016)
Thesis title: Identifying and re-training attentional bias in test anxious post-16 students
Research interests: Test anxiety, wellbeing, mental health in schools, mindfulness
Bio: I was a Chemistry teacher for 15 years before making the career change into education research. I’ve got 3 children; Hermione (9) and twins Archie and Harris (2). I’m a keen cyclist and ride pretty much anything with two wheels.

Steven Courtney (2015)
Thesis titleInvestigating school leadership at a time of system diversity, competition and flux
Research Interests: School leadership, identity, difference and equity.
Bio: I’m a former teacher of ESOL, French and Spanish, Head of Modern Foreign Languages and Assistant Headteacher in London secondary schools. I did my Master’s in educational leadership when I moved to Manchester in 2010 and now temper academia with baking and bringing up my cats.

Sarah Darley-Nolan (2016)
Thesis title: Can eLearning help increase recruitment and retention of volunteers for the charity sector in England?
Research interests:  Adult learning, activity theory, educational technologies, lifelong learning
Bio: Former learning technologist, active volunteer, loves running, cycling and going to live music gigs.

Andrew Davies (2015)
Thesis title: A case study of what are the challenges for trade specific lecturers who teach Key or Functional Skills as part of a vocational qualification: A lecturers perspective?
Research interests: Ethnography, Teacher Identity, FE, Qualitative research.
Bio: Part time student (year 2) Lived and worked in Germany for 14 years, teacher of Maths and English to adults with learning difficulties, working on a European research project headed by Manchester but working at the University of Liverpool research aim to develop methodology and validated tools useful to policy makers to make health gains via evidence based policy decisions for urban populations.

Miriam Firth (2015)
Thesis Title: From study to industry: Stories on Becoming a Vocational Manager
Research Interests: Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Management Education, Citizenship Education, Employability and Skills
Bio: Coming from MMU as a full time lecturer I am a full time PhD candidate in the Education Department. I have also created and run the Higher Education Academy Employability and Citizenship Skills conference 2011 and 2012. Loves listening to Lauren Laverne on BBC Radio 6 and performing rock and pop hits from the 80s with friends in a band!

Siti Fitriyah (2016)
Thesis Title: Surviving Language Policy Reversal: Stories of Indonesian Junior High School Teachers
Research Interest: Language Policy and Planning, Teacher Education, ESL and EFL, Methodologies, Researching Multilingually, Narrative, Reflective Teaching, CLIL, and EMI
Bio: I am an Indonesian. I love singing and writing children stories. I have published a few children storybooks back home.

Claire Forbes (2016)
Title: Mapping resources in disadvantaged communities: what resources do communities have to support education and wider life chances, and what does this suggest for the actions of schools and other services?
Research Interests: Assets Based Community Development; Democratic Schools; Participatory Research; Student Voice
Bio: I am a former French teacher, living in beautiful south Liverpool with my husband and daughter. A passionate traveller, hill walker and self-confessed grammar pedant, I also enjoy French cheese, tea and Radio 4… sometimes all at once!

Lou Harvey (2014)
Thesis title: The social and pragmatic parameters of English-language learning motivation: A narrative study of six ESL learners
Research interests: Language learning motivation, English and globalisation, qualitative methodology, narrative, learner identity and voice, Bakhtin, imagined communities
Bio: Multicoloured vegetable-lover; taught English in Slovakia before coming to Manchester to do an MA TESOL in 2007; taking up piano-playing again. PhD calibrated by weekends in damp green sea-places like Wales and Devon. Manchester weather will not stop me resolutely wearing flip-flops from April to October.

Shaohua Hong (2014)
Thesis title: The Influences on Chinese Parents’ Perspectives on Early Childhood Education
Research interests: Parents’ choice and experience on ECE, parents’ belief and expectation from ECE, parents SES, One Child Policy, marketing and social influences
Bio: Chinese (North – East), keen on trying new things but hard to persist in, loves hiking (but not long distances)

Eljee Javier (2014)
Thesis title:  Performative identities and race: A narrative based study of visible ethnic minority, native English speaking teachers in TESOL
Research interests: Language and identity, race and identity, narrative based approaches, critical discourse studies
Bio: Canadian born, Filipino roots, weight lifting newbie, stress baker, digital networking explorer, proud IT geek.

Dimitrina Kaneva (2014)
Thesis title: Understanding the experiences and engagement of children with English as an additional language in their transition form primary to secondary schools.
Research interests: Bilingualism, identity, difference and diversity in education, inclusion, creative research methods
Bio: Trained as a primary school teacher in Bulgaria, the land of roses, taught for a couple of years, moved to England for an MA in Inclusion in lovely Canterbury.  Currently working on my PhD and several research projects at the University, in the meantime dancing, body combat-ing and trying to grow flowers

Nicola Kassam
Thesis title: Understanding School Rationale for Extended Services Through a Theory of Change Methodology
Research Interests: 
Education Policy, Educational Inclusion,  Community Schools, Student Voice, Community Cohesion
Previously – Development Manager for Learning and Foster Carer;  now – weekend archer, film buff and Wii fanatic.

Sophina Qasim (2014)
Thesis titleExploring the intersection of ethnicity, class & gender on achievement and engagement with mathematics at secondary schools.
Research interests: mathematics education, ethnic minority underachievement, social stratification, gender differences, social theories of power: Pierre Bourdieu, Vygotsky
Bio: Born in England, brought up in Germany, spent a few years in Pakistan, confused about her identity, a proud mum, struggling but prevailing wife!

Kelly Pickard-Smith (2016)
Thesis title: Learner identities and the transition to becoming mathematically functioning employees
Research interests: Social Learning theory, identity, voice, Vocational education
Bio: All my studying – A level, degree, MA, teaching cert etc was part time whilst working in education. My last job was 10 years teaching in vocational education. I love the arts, I like to sing and I’m fascinated by science and space.

Munasprianto Ramli (2016)
Thesis title: Developing Primary Students’ Scientific Literacy through Science Indonesian Language Integrated Learning
Research interests: Teaching Primary and Secondary Science, Scientific Literacy, Values and Character Education, Inclusive education, Teaching Science in Non Formal setting.
Bio: Back to my country, Indonesia, I am working as a science educator and science communicator. As a science educator I teach at Science education Department at State Islamic University Jakarta. And as a science communicator I have been performing science show at school event, birthday party and science festival since 2002. I love music and I am a big fans of Liverpool Football club.

Liz Royle
Thesis title: What are the attitudes of ex-military personnel, who have joined the police service, towards seeking help with mental health problems?
Research interests: psychological trauma, military and police services, stigma
Bio: I am a trauma psychotherapist and EMDR Europe Approved Consultant. I lead the European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies’ task force on “Managing Psychological Trauma in the Uniformed Services,” am a founder member of the UK Psychological Trauma Society, approved trainer for the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, member of Chester University’s employer advisory panel and visiting lecturer for their MSc in Psychological Trauma and President Elect for the UK and Ireland EMDR Association.

David Swanson (2014)
Title: The interrelation of situated and meta cognition in the development of mathematical concepts.
Research interests: Maths, Adult Education, Vygotsky, Marxism.
Bio: I have wasted every talent I’ve ever had.

Sutraphorn (“Khwan”) Tantiniranat (2016)
Thesis:  English Language Teachers’ Perceptions of Intercultural Competence: An Exploratory Case Study in a Thai University
Research Interest: Intercultural communication in TESOL context, Applied Linguistics
Bio: Born and bred in the North of Thailand, a former factory girl, taught English at a public university for about seven years, spent a year in Hawai’i as a Thai language teacher, loves the sea.

Christopher Vincent (part-time, 2017)
Thesis Title: The development of professional expertise, beliefs and attitudes of student teachers.
Research Interests: The use of Q-methodology in educational research; development of physics education; culture and values; attitudes, beliefs and behaviour.
Bio: I am a Physics graduate that attempted to make the step into teaching secondary school physics in England. Finding the task quite daunting I returned to the University of Manchester with my tail between my legs in order to find out why this was the case, completing a MA in Education and a MSc in Educational Research. What little spare time I have is devoted to my one true love… Manchester United.

Danielle White (2014)
Thesis title: Career choice: a study of the influences
Research interests: student voice, identity, grounded theory, visual research methods, educational inclusion
Bio: Cycling, climbing, camping and classic VW campervans

Yifen Xu (2014)
Thesis titleInvestigating the role of the secondary school head teachers in China
Research interests:  educational leadership, head teachers standards, educational reforms/polices, changing role of headteachers, shadowing method
Bio: Chinese born (East), swimming,  a fantastic “rubbish” cook who likes trying new dishes – messy in the end, but quite enjoy it!

Zhe Zhang (2015)
Thesis title: Undergraduate Student Engagement in China and UK
Research interests: student engagement; student experience; teaching quality of higher education; language teacher education
Bio: Chinese (from North-East part of China)  a former Englisher teacher at a Chinese university; worked for one year at a Confucious Institute in the Netherlands; Starting a 3-year PhD Sept. 2012 at UofM. Like watching various sports game and playing a few; fancy listening to some pop songs (mostly in Chinese) and sometimes light music; love travelling around; etc.


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