Current Students

Below is a growing list of current members of the PGR community.  Click on their names to be taken to their individual websites to find out more about their research.

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 (

Steven Courtney (2015)
Thesis title: The impact of school inspection on English school leaders’ professional practice and identity.
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.

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!

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 (2013)
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 (2013)
Thesis title: An Honorary Native Speaker – Exploring the factors that contribute to the identity and status of visible ethnic minority, native English speaking teachers.
Research interests: Language and identity, race and identity, narrative based approaches, critical discourse studies
Bio: Canadian born, Filipino roots, occasional distance runner, habitual 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

Christiana P. Karousiou (2013)
Thesis title: An exploratory study into primary teachers’ professional identity and practice at a time of educational reform in Cyprus. 
Research Interests: Michel Foucault, governmentality, teachers’ work and professional identity, educational reform, teachers’ continuing professional development
Bio: Greek-Cypriot, fond of motion pictures, listening to music, playing the piano, linguaphile.

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 (2013)
Thesis title: Exploring 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!

Stephen Rogers (2012)
Thesis title: Personalising learning – “Strangers in a strange land”?
Research interests: public and education policy, student voice and democracy, radical education, sociology and philosophy of education , Alasdair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor, Hannah Arendt
Bio: Part-time student (yr 4), retired Director UFA, enjoy outdoors (especially mountains, bikes and canoes) films, theatre, painting, love football and entertaining growing numbers of grandchildren.

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.

Maija Salokangas (2013)
Thesis title: Governance in a chain of academies
Interests: school systems, education policy, governance and leadership in education, comparative research
Bio: A primary school teacher from Finland, the land of the PISA miracle, missing snow and heat waves, navigating enthusiastically in the international waters of education (and other fascinating things).

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.

Danielle White (2013)
Thesis title: Career choice: a study of the influences
Research interests: student voice, idenitiy, grounded theory, visual research methods, educational inclusion
Bio: Cycling, climbing, camping and classic VW campervans

Yifen Xu (2014)
Thesis title: Investigating 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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