Darshini Nadarajan is a doctoral student whose research is centrally concerned with unpacking the notion of what it means to be a ‘competent’ English language teacher in Malaysia and consequently, the discourses, practices, and identities that manifest from aspiring to be ‘competent’.

Drawing upon epistemologies of the South and situating her study within the dynamism of education as a performative practice, her research is informed by sociological, anthropological, and linguistics lenses that aim to decolonise and indigenise knowledge along with developing theorisations that are aligned with such worldviews. Animating her research is a persistent curiosity in exploring the power and politics of education. In particular, her research dwells on scholarship that interrogates and problematises the production of knowledge and power within the intersections of gender, race and class.

Darshini’s research interests are influenced by her rich and diverse educational experiences from the East and the West. Prior to coming to Oxford, she was a teacher educator for the Ministry of Education Malaysia where she trained in-service English language teachers, designed and developed face-to-face and blended language courses, edited policy blueprints, as well as wrote speeches for Ministers. Darshini graduated from Macquarie University, Australia with a B.Ed TESOL and was subsequently awarded a Fulbright scholarship where she majored in Creative Writing and American Literature at Michigan State University. She then read her Masters in both TESOL from the University of Nottingham; and Educational Leadership and Management from the National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan.



Nadarajan, D. (2023). Wraiths, rasa, and rememory: Re-Searching in the shadows of peripheral knowledge and wisdom in the quotidian. In Ari Sherris (Ed.), Untold Autoethnographic Stories of (In)justice, Teaching, and Scholarship: Textu(r)alities in and Beyond Applied Linguistics (In press). Multilingual Matters.

Nadarajan, D. (2022). The zombification crisis in a crisis: Neoliberal battles and teacher survivors in the pandemic. In Wiseman, A. W. (Ed.), Annual Review of Comparative and International Education 2021, (International Perspectives on Education and Society, Vol. 42A), 149-157. Emerald Group Publishing.

Deygers, B., Bigelow, M., Lo Bianco, J., Nadarajan, D., & Tani, M. (2021). Low print literacy and its representation in research and policy. Language Assessment Quarterly, 1–14.



Nadarajan, D. (2022). Can the subaltern teacher speak? Voice and silence from the margins [Paper presentation]. Graduate Symposium Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Oxford.

Nadarajan, D. (2021) Desire, dreams, & destiny: Exploring how the subalterns ‘speak’ through pantoums and photos [Paper presentation]. Poetry and Research in Conversation Symposium, The Centre for Life-Writing Oxford.

Nadarajan, D. (2021). Agency in adversity: Teachers’ experiences of learning, pivoting, and innovating on the move during the pandemic [Paper presentation]. Yidan Prize Doctoral Conference, Department of Education, Oxford.

Nadarajan, D. (2019). Translingual tensions in in-service teacher education in Malaysia [Paper presentation]. English Teaching & Learning International Conference, Taiwan.

Nadarajan, D. (2018). Portraits of Cinderellas: A hermeneutic phenomenological exploration of identity and English language learning of foreign domestic workers in Malaysia [Paper presentation]. International Conference on TEFL and Applied Linguistics, Taiwan.

Nadarajan, D. (2017). Hide! There’s a zombie in school: Students’ perceptions of institutional rules in an urban Malaysian school [Paper presentation]. Sociology of Education Conference, Taiwan.

Nadarajan, D. (2016). What do parents seek? Factors influencing Malaysian parents’ decision to enrol their children in international schools in Malaysia [Paper presentation]. Hong Kong Comparative Education Conference, Hong Kong.

Nadarajan, D. (2015). From Michigan to Mekong: Lessons learnt from a technologically-impaired teacher [Paper presentation]. CamTESOL International Conference, Cambodia.