Language Centre: Drs Khabbar, Ní Mhurchú and Orren

Dr Sanaa Khabbar
Dr Aoife Ní Mhurchú
Dr Sally Orren

Department: Language Centre, UCC


Integration of GCDE

Research Proposal: Native speakerism in higher education in Ireland (UCC Case Study).

Description of Research Project: This will be an exploratory study to examine the attitudes towards and perceptions (self-perceptions & perceptions by others) of speakers of English as an additional language in UCC.

Global Citizenship and Development Education Research Objectives: To raise awareness of native speakerism in UCC. Native speakerism is defined as “a pervasive ideology within ELT [English Language Teaching], characterized by the belief that ‘native-speaker’ teachers represent a ‘Western culture’ from which spring the ideals both of the English language and of English language teaching methodology” (Holliday, 2006: 385). Our aim is to create a more inclusive and just space for UCC students and staff whose first language is other than English.

The workshop we propose as the action of this project will be reflective, participatory, and experiential in nature. As much as GCDE is about the student, it is also about the educator, the institution and in particular the institutional culture. We believe that, in tandem with focusing on pedagogy for students, we also need to provide training for staff that is underpinned by GCDE values. The action we suggest will be a first step in addressing this need. In so doing, we believe that this research project will also help to address some of the problems associated with programmes of internationalisation (see for example Khoo, 2014) that are now commonplace in HE in Ireland.



Praxis plan

Khabbar, Sanaa+Ní Mhurchú, Aoife+Orren, Sally_case-study-Praxis-Plan (PDF opens in a new tab/window)



Dr Sanaa Khabbar

Dr Sanaa Khabbar is an English language teacher and Academic Modules Coordinator at the Language Centre in UCC.

Prior to joining UCC, Sanaa held the position of Rhetoric and Composition Instructor at the American University in Cairo, a liberal arts education university that foregrounded civic engagement and global citizenship. Sanaa got a PhD in Education (2018) from the university of Exeter, UK and an MA in Applied Humanities (1997) from Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco. Her PhD research investigated how students negotiate their national, linguistic and religious identities within an internationalized university, while her MA thesis looked at immigration and education, the case of Moroccan immigrants in France. Her research interests include linguistic, national & religious identity, education equity, and immigration.


Dr Aoife Ní Mhurchú

Aoife Ní Mhurchú is a university language teacher at UCC Language Centre, specialising in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

She teaches English (as an additional language) and also works on teacher education modules, preparing students to become teachers of English. Aoife is currently pursuing a PhD in TESOL & Applied Linguistics from the University of Limerick. Her research focuses on the professional identity of language teachers in higher education. Aoife has also published in the area of Irish English.


Dr Sally Orren

Sally has recently been appointed to the position of Senior University Language teacher in UCC’s Language Centre, having worked in the Language Centre since 2010. She graduated in Modern English Studies at the University of Cardiff and started her career in office management in Wales before developing her English teaching qualifications and joining the teaching staff of an English academy in Catalonia.

Sally taught in Catalonia and France before moving to Ireland, where she was awarded the Cambridge DELTA qualification and worked in private language centres in the fields of language teaching, teacher training and development, curriculum development and assessment policies before starting her full-time work with UCC.


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