Attia, Mariam (PhD alumna)

December, 2020: Mariam gained her PhD in 2011 and is now a Lecturer in International Teacher Education at the University of Sussex. Profile.


My name is Mariam. I completed my doctoral research within the School of Education some months ago. A little about myself: I think my multi-cultural background has played a major role in shaping the researcher I am today. I was born and raised in Denmark, and travelled extensively with my parents (who are originally from Egypt) to many different parts of the world. Influenced by these experiences, I completed my BA in International Relations with the hope of broadening my understanding of human diversity and contributing to the bridging of cultures. Later, I discovered the profound impact of languages in achieving the same goals, so I undertook an MA in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language (TAFL). As a result, I went into teaching Arabic (from 1995 – 2006). I was a faculty member at The American University in Cairo, Egypt, and took up short-term teaching engagements with The European Education Centre, Denmark.

So, how did I end up doing a PhD in Manchester? As is the case with many language teaching contexts worldwide, at the university where I used to work, language classes were equipped with the latest technology but teacher adoption remained minimal. I decided to explore factors for ICT integration, and teachers’ pedagogical theories emerged as a central one. In my PhD, I examined teacher beliefs within an Arabic language teaching context in order to gain deeper insight into technology adoption within such emerging ‘ecologies’. I was also interested in identifying the kind of support that Arabic language teachers might need for effective ICT integration. I chose to conduct my study at Manchester because of the strength of research in foreign language teaching and technology, and the cosmopolitan nature of the city.

Overall, I think my experience here has been a very enriching one. It has extended beyond working on my thesis to encompass engagement with current research activities and professional communities worldwide. I have had very supportive supervisors (Diane Slaouti and Julian Edge) who have guided me along this path and contributed to my becoming the person I am today.

Selected publications:

Attia, M. & Edge, J. (2017). Be(com)ing a reflexive researcher: A developmental approach to research methodology. Open Review of Educational Research, 4 (1). pp. 33-45.

Holmes, P., Fay, R., Andrews, J., & Attia, M. (2016). How to research multilingually: Possibilities and complexities. In H. Zhu (Ed.) Research Methods in Intercultural Communication (pp. 88-102). London: Wiley.

Edge, J. & Attia, M. (2016). Communication, technology, and collaboration for innovation. In A. Tajino, T. Stewart & D. Dalsky (Eds.), Team teaching and team learning in the language classroom: Collaboration for innovation in ELT (pp. 115-126). London: Routledge.

Edge J. & Attia, M. (2014). Cooperative development: A non-judgmental approach to individual development and increased collegiality. Actas de las VI y VII Jornadas Didácticas del Instituto Cervantes de Mánchester (2013 – 2014) [Proceedings of the VI and VII Teaching Conference Cervantes Institute of Manchester (2013-2014)], 65-73.

Attia, M. (2014). The role of early learning experience in shaping teacher cognition and technology use. In P. Breen (Ed.), Cases on Teacher Identity, Diversity, and Cognition in Higher Education (pp. 1-21). Hershey PA: IGI-Global.

Holmes, P., Fay, R., Andrews, J., and Attia, M. (2013). Researching Multilingually: New Theoretical and Methodological Directions. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 23(3), 285 – 299.

Andrews, J., Attia, M., Davcheva, L., Fay, R., and Zhou, X. (2011). Doing research multilingually: Diverse approaches and representational choices, in The Impact of Applied Linguistics: Proceedings of the 44th Annual Meeting of the British Association for Applied Linguistics, 1-3 September 2011, University of the West of England, pp. 9-12.

Selected presentations:

Sept 2017 Attia, M. Supporting Emerging Researchers through Non-Judgmental Communication.  BERA 2017, Brighton, UK
Oct. 2016 Attia, M. Understanding Reflexivity in Light of Dewey’s ‘Trying’ and ‘Undergoing’. Dewey 2016, the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
Sept. 2016 Attia, M. Researching ‘Reflexivity’ in Africa.. and Letting the Sun Shine in. Early Career Researcher Development Writing Week, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana. (5-10 September 2016)
Aug 2016 Al-Masri, N., Frimberger, K., & Attia, M., Imperiale, G. & Fassetta, G. ‘Hope is our Bread and Butter’: Towards a Human Ecological Language Pedagogy in the Context of Siege. BIBAC 2016, the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
March 2016 Al-Masri, N., Attia, M., & Frimberger, K., Imperiale, G., Fassetta, G. Teacher Education as a Form of Resistance: Insights from Gaza, Palestine. National Association for Ethnic Studies 44th Annual Meeting, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA.
February 2016 Attia, M., Fay, R., Andrews, J., & Holmes, P. Researching Multilingually: Possibilities and Complexities. Postgraduate workshop (AHRC event), London.
October 2015 Attia, M., (on behalf of the AHRC project team) & Phipps, A. Reflecting on the Possibilities and Complexities of Doing Research Multilingually. College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK. (26 October 2015)
July 2015 Attia, M., Fay, R., Andrews, J., & Holmes, P. Researching Multilingually: Possibilities and Complexities (presentation and workshop). Jean Monnet Network EUROMEC, Krakow, Poland.
June 2015 Attia, M., Holmes, P., Fay. R., Andrews, J. The Central Role of Education in Relations to ‘Questioning the Means in Light of the Objectives’. CILE 2015 Summer School, Granada, Spain. (31 May – 5 June 2015)
Sept. 2014 Attia, M. Non-judgmental Communication for Researcher Development. Vitae Researcher Development International Conference 2014, Manchester, UK.
June 2014 Attia, M., Holmes, P., Fay. R., & Andrews, J. Trajectories of Researching Multilingually: Implications for Researcher Development. The HEA symposium ‘Intercultural and multilingual skills in postgraduate education, research and beyond: Creative approaches for exchange’. Glasgow, UK.
Sept. 2013 Attia, M., Holmes, P., Fay, R., & Andrews, J. Supporting Researcher Creativity in Multilingual Doctoral Research Practice. The European Conference on Educational Research (ECER 2013). Istanbul, Turkey.
March 2013 Attia, M., Holmes, P., Fay, R., & Andrews, J. Reflexivity in Multilingual Research Practice. The ESRC RDI final conference ‘Responding to contemporary multilingual realities, recasting research methodologies’. Birmingham, UK.
July 2012 Attia, M. Collegial Self-Development and ICT (webinar). IATEFL Learning Technologies SIG Online Events. (22 July 2012)
March 2012 Attia, M., & Fay, R. An exploration of doctoral students’ reflections on researching multilingually. The AHRC ‘Researching Multilingually’ Seminar. Durham, UK.
Sept. 2011 Attia, M. Reflective practice in research undertaken multilingually (Paper 2 of the colloquium ‘Doing research multilingually: Diverse approaches and representational choices’). BAAL 2011. Bristol, UK.
Sept. 2011 Attia, M. A Window into the Relationship between Teacher Cognition and Technology Use. EUROCALL 2011. Nottingham, UK.
July 2010 Attia, M. Walking the Less Trodden Path: An Account of Bilingual Research Experiences. Doing Research Multilingually: An Exploratory Seminar, School of Education, Durham, UK. (7 July 2010)
May 2010 Attia, M. Situated Teacher Cognition and Technology Integration. EUROCALL Teacher Education SIG Workshop 2010. Lyon, France.
Sept. 2009 Attia, M. Understanding Arabic Language Teachers’ Beliefs about ICT: A Case Study. EUROCALL 2009, Gandia, Spain.
Sept. 2009 Attia, M. The Role of Affect in Insider Research. BERA 2009, Manchester, UK.
Sept. 2008 Attia, M. Researching Arabic Language Teacher Cognition and ICT. EUROCALL 2008, Szekesfehervar, Hungary.
Nov. 2005 Attia, M. Technology: A Piece in the Jigsaw Puzzle of Pedagogy. MESA (Middle East Studies Association) 2005 Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, USA. (19-22 November 2005)

For further details on my professional activity please consult my website.


  • Rasha Essam

    Hi Mariam,

    First I want to congratulate you for having your phd 🙂 You really deserve the best. I don’t know you well, but I heard a lot about you in the AUC where I also finished my Master in TAFL there. In fact your reputation is great and I wish one day to know you personally. Second, I am preparing my Master degree in Computer Science now in order to blend both fields together and I really wish that one day we can do something together especially with a respectful person like you 🙂 since this field needs a lot of work.

    Good Luck in your whole life and in your flourishing career 🙂

  • Ahmad, Mohammad Kamel

    I was one of your colleaques at the American University in Cairo in the late 1990s with your junior sister with whom I did the TAFL program. I am a graduated from Al-Azhar University and luckied to study at the AUC. I am currently in Nigeria, lecturing Arabic language in a Nigerian university. You may not recollect me now, as time goes on you will certainly remember me. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavours. Was Salam Alaikum warahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu

  • Mariam Attia

    Hi Lou,
    I am glad the PhD student contacted you. I met him by chance during a visit to his university in Copenhagen, and when he told me about his project, I remembered you. I guess that’s the good thing about being familiar with each other’s research interests.

  • Mariam Attia

    … After a personally and professionally enriching experience within LTE, I don’t think I would mind 20+ years of the same thing 🙂

  • Richard Fay

    … and what wih EuroCALL and (hopefully) BAAL, not to mention the June LTE ‘conference’ – there is no escape 🙂 Look at me, I started with CELSE, the grand-parent forerunner of LTE, with my own Masters back in 1990, and 20+ years later, I’m still here. Be warned 🙂

  • Mariam Attia

    Thank you, Richard, for your kind remark. I am pleased to be able to remain in touch through this great medium 🙂

  • I need to thank you, Mariam, for ‘networking’ me – I had a phonecall a few days ago from a student in Denmark, also studying motivation for learning English, who had been guided to my website by yourself and is interested in sharing ideas. Testament to the power of networking! We’ve been exchanging emails and he’s inspired me to contact some of the people whose work I’ve been reading, to introduce myself and ask if they can put me/us in touch with any students they know with similar research interests. So thanks!

  • Richard Fay

    It’s great to see you in this new, post-viva Research Associates location in this blog – long may you remain in this new category 🙂

  • Mariam Attia

    Thank you, Julian. I feel honored to be given the opportunity to display the posters in the corridor. They are now online as well (accessible via the sub-link to my profile). Amazing how much you can share through these virtual spaces!

  • Julian Edge

    Mariam neglected to mention that she also has an astonishing talent for the design and production of research posters. Her efforts outstrip anything that I have seen at poster presentations at conferences and currently enliven and enlighten our corridor in the School of Education. Hey, Mariam, can you show them here?



  • Richard Fay

    Welcome to our community Mariam.

    Another interesting tale of doctoral studies. I find these accounts endlessly fascinating and will, soon I hope, be floating an idea here for taking this fascination with researcher stories further in a (funding bid for a) research study based on such accounts ….