Mallika Kanyal

Co-Programme Director, Senior Lecturer

Faculty:Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care

School:Education and Social Care

Location: Chelmsford

Areas of Expertise: Education and teaching

Research Supervision:Yes

Malika specialises in the academic field of early years and has studied and worked in India and the UK.


Mallika has extensive teaching and research experience in the field of education, especially early childhood.

Mallika’s academic lead experience includes co-programme directorship of the Professional Doctorate in Education; senior lectureship; course leadership; interim directorship of faculty learning, teaching and assessment; faculty Athena Swan lead and faculty admissions tutor on the University Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) panel. She leads a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules.

Research interests

Mallika's current research interest is around the usefulness of participatory research and its place as an alternative approach to conventional research in education contexts. Her research focuses around the pedagogical use of participatory approaches in early years as well as in higher education. She has published this work under the strand of children's participatory rights in early years and students' voice in higher education. Her other research interest is around children's socio-emotional development and the importance of peer relationship in early years.

Mallika’s research interest spans from early childhood to higher education and is unified by the use of participatory approaches in research. She publishes in the field of children’s rights and participatory research in higher education.

Mallika led the development of the Early Childhood Resource and Research Room in the faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care which is a democratic space created in partnership with the students.

Mallika has experience of supervising doctoral students to completion and welcomes expressions of interest in the broad field of:

  • children’s rights
  • students’ voice
  • pupil voice, and in general
  • the use of participatory methodology.


Mallika's main teaching is around children's rights, childhood research, professional development and research methodology. She teaches face-to-face and online, and on the modules taught at the partner institutions.


  • Professional Doctorate in Education, Anglia Ruskin University, UK
  • MSc, Human Development and Family Studies, Haryana Agriculture University, India
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education, University of Greenwich, UK
  • Postgraduate Certificate, Anglia Ruskin University, UK
  • BSc, Home Science, Himachal Pradesh Agriculture University, India

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Guest editor for Journal of Management in Education (2014), Special Edition, Early Childhood Education: Participation in Policy and Practice, Sage
  • Co-lead of the Early Childhood Research Group, Anglia Ruskin University

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange


2014-2024: Country lead and steering group at the International Research Network- the World Education Research Association: Promoting and supporting children agency and active participation in Early Childhood in COVID times and beyond.

2021-22: Principal Investigator. ARU partnership with Magic Acorns and Festival Bridge- Norfolk & Norwich Festival: Arts and Cultural Education in Early Years.

2020-21: Principal Investigator. ARU partnership with Festival Bridge: Norfolk & Norwich Festival: Creativity in Early Years.

Research grants

2016-2019. ARU and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Royal Opera House Bridge. Creative Writing through the Arts. A £103,904 grant from Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s ‘More and Better’ fund, co-invested by the Royal Opera House Bridge. Mallika led the ‘pupil voice’ strand in the project.

2014-2022. Paid research internship for students over numerous occasions.

2013. Won a national HEA (now Advance HE) seminar award to lead a Discipline Workshop and Seminar Series: Students’ participation in the development of an Early Years Resource and Research Room.

2011-12. Lead. Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education Scholarship and Research Support Fund. Collaborative writing to publish a commissioned book. £750

2010, 2012: Anglia Learning and Teaching pedagogical research grant INSPIRE: Using Virtual Learning Environment as a pedagogical tool to promote students learning at Higher Education. £5000 and £3500

2010. Won ARU Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Scholarship fund: Young children’s perceptions of their school environment- insights from a primary school in England and India. £4,500

Knowledge Exchange:

Mallika actively exchanges knowledge and consultancy with parallel higher education institutions on curriculum development, external examination and national and international research projects, and with the third sector by working with registered charities to promote children’s voice.

Mallika regularly presents her research at national and international conferences and is invited as a key note, for example, at BERA SIG event with the University of Bath; Teaching, Learning and Technology event organised by the Avinashilimgam Institute for Home Science and Higher Education for Women, Coimbatore, India; and at the OMEP (UK) AGM at University of Portsmouth.

Selected recent publications

Wall, K., Cassidy, C., Robinson, C., Hall, E., Beaton, M., Kanyal, M.; and Mitra, D. 2019. Look who’s talking: factors for considering the facilitation of very young children’s voices. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 17(4): 263-278.

Wall, K., Arnott, L., Cassidy, C. Beaton, M., Christensen, P., Dockett, S., Hall, E.; I’Anson, J.; Kanyal, M.; McKernan,G.; Pramling, I. and Robinson, C. 2017. Look Who’s Talking: eliciting the voices of children from birth to seven. International Journal of Student Voice, 2(1). 

Luff, P. and Kanyal, M., Shehu M. and Brewis, N. 2016. Educating the youngest citizens - possibilities for early childhood education and care in England. The Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies

Luff, P. and Kanyal, M. 2015. Maternal thinking and beyond: towards a care-full pedagogy for early childhood. Early Child Development and Care, Special Issue on Early Childhood Pedagogy, 85 (11-12), 1748-1761

Kanyal, M. 2014. Early Childhood Studies students’ participation in the development of a learning space in a higher education institution. Early Childhood Studies students’ participation in the development of a learning space in a higher education institution. Management in Education, 28(4): 149–155.

Kanyal. M. and Cooper, L. 2010. Young children's perceptions of their school experience: A comparative study between England and India. Procedia - Social and Behavioural Sciences, 2(2): 3605-3613. DOI: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.03.560

Book(s)/ book’s chapters:

Kanyal, M., Luff, P. and Osadiya, O., 2019, in P. Bamber (ed). Advocating for democratic, participatory approaches to learning and research for sustainability in early childhood. Teacher Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship: Critical Perspectives on Values, Curriculum and Assessment. London: Routledge.

Kanyal, M. (ed). 2014. Children’s Rights: promoting participation in education and care. London: Routledge

Kanyal, M. 2013. Indian children’s perceptions of their school environment, in S. Knigt, (ed). International perspectives on forest school. London: Sage

Kanyal, M. 2012. Promoting children’s participation in education: developing a culture of participation, in B. Boufoy-Bastick, (ed). Cultures of Teacher Education: Comparative international issues in curriculum, pedagogy and attainment, Strasbourg, France: Analytrics

Kanyal, M. and Cooper, L. 2012. Young children’s perceptions of their classroom environment: perspectives from England and India, In, T. Papatheodorou and J. Moyles (ed). Cross cultural perspectives in early childhood. London: Sage

Contribution in international research informed early years practice manuals:

Kanyal, M. 2014. Children’s drawings to understand their perceptions of the school environment in a school in north India. In: V. Johnson, R. Hart and J. Colwell (eds). Steps to engaging young children in research (Volume 1): the Guide. Education Research Centre. University of Brighton (Funded by Bernard van Leer Foundation).

Kanyal, M. 2014. Making interviews more engaging. In: V. Johnson, R. Hart and J. Colwell (eds). Steps to engaging young children in research (Volume 2): the Researcher toolkit. Education Research Centre, University of Brighton (Funded by Bernard van Leer Foundation).

Recent presentations and conferences

Kanyal, M. 2019. Using participatory approaches with early childhood studies students in higher education: reflections on the different stages of doctoral work. Paper presentation at European Early Childhood Educational Research Association conference EECERA ‘Early Years: Making it Count’, August 2019, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Kanyal, M. and Acton, F. 2018. Using the Creative Arts as a stimulus for inspiring writing: encouraging pupil participation and hearing pupil voice. Research paper presentation at ‘A Child’s World – New shoes New direction’, international conference at Aberyswyth University, Wales, July 2018

Wall, K; Cassidy, C.; Arnott, L. Beaton, M.; Kanyal, M.; Blaisdell, C.; Hall, H.; McKernan, G.; Mitra, D.; Pramling, I.; and Robinson, C. 2018. Look who’s talking: Factors for considering the facilitation of very young children’s voices. Conference paper presented at American Educational Research Association AERA, The Dreams, Possibilities, and Necessity of Public Education, April 2018, New York

Luff, P. Osadiya, O. and Kanyal, M. 2016. Who decides what is valuable and what should be measured? Advocating for democratic, participatory approaches to learning and research in early childhood. Paper presentation at Teacher Education for Equity and Sustainability Network Conference TEESNet, September 2016, Liverpool, UK

Luff, P. and Kanyal, M. 2016. Education for sustainability – conforming, reforming or transforming curricula? Conference paper presentation at International Conference at Liverpool Hope University, Children and Young People in a Changing World: Action, Agency and Participation, Liverpool, UK, June 2016