Anna-Maria is a DPhil candidate at the Department of Education and an Arabic Language Instructor at the University.
Her research focuses on the motivation and engagement of Arabic learners around the U.K.
Anna-Maria completed her BA in Arabic and Persian at the University of Oxford in 2012. Driven by the hurdles students often face in learning these languages she then went on to read for an MSc in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition at the Department of Education. After being awarded a distinction in her Masters, Anna-Maria returned to the department to complete a DPhil, continuing her research into the learning of Arabic as a foreign language in the British secondary school context.
Her interest in the field stems from both her personal and professional experience. Anna-Maria currently teaches Arabic at three different departments at the University: the Oriental Institute, the Department for Continuing Education, and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. She has taught the Arabic language in a number of other settings to both adults and children for over a decade, and is currently developing an Arabic grammar curriculum being used for an international adult language course delivered via an online learning platform.
Anna-Maria’s research centres on the experiences of school students learning Arabic in the United Kingdom. Her MSc dissertation, in which she explored patterns in the performance and motivations of heritage and non-heritage language learners studying for the Arabic GCSE in secondary schools around England, highlighted some worrying trends in the levels of motivations amongst this sample.
Building on these findings, her doctoral research further investigates the nature of students’ motivation and engagement with Arabic with a view to improving the language learning and teaching experience. By focusing on Arabic, a language unique in both its linguistic nature and everyday usage, this research also contributes to developments in motivational theory by applying it to a distinct and growing set of learners. In addition, by integrating measures of classroom engagement into the framework of her research, this study explores the relationship between these two often-conflated constructs, allowing students’ interactions with the Arabic language to be examined at both a macro and micro level.