Dr. Anna Dillon

Dr. Anna Dillon

Dr. Anna Dillon

Associate Professor


  • PhD from Technological University, Dublin (2011)
  • Master of Arts in Education from the University of Limerick (2005)
  • Bachelor of Education from the University of Limerick


Dr. Anna Dillon is an Associate Professor at Emirates College for Advanced Education. She has worked in the UAE since 2013, initially as a public school teacher and Head of Faculty in a kindergarten, and then as a teacher educator at Zayed University. She has held a variety of different administrative roles including Director of the Early Childhood Learning Center, an on-campus laboratory school at Zayed University, Chair of the Department of Education Studies, and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at Zayed University.

She previously worked in Ireland as a teacher educator in Mary Immaculate College at the University of Limerick and Hibernia College. She started off her career as a classroom teacher in an Irish-language immersion setting, and then became the principal of 2 different small schools while continuing to work as a teacher of multi-level classes. She holds a PhD from Technological University, Dublin (2011), a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Limerick (2005) and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Limerick.

Her PhD studies were funded by a full scholarship from the Center for Early Childhood Development at Dublin City University. She also holds a TESOL certificate from INTESOL, a Certificate in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning from the University of British Columbia and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (Advance HE). Her research interests include bilingual education, early childhood education, translanguaging, co-teaching, teacher education, English Medium Instruction, and Third Culture Kids. Her most recent publication, Teacher education and EMI in the UAE and Arabian peninsula – past, present, and future perspectives, co-authored with Prof. Kay Gallagher, explores the role of language in teacher education in the GCC, and the affordances of a translanguaging pedagogy in the region. Anna is passionate about languages and believes in each individual harnessing their full linguistic repertoire to enhance their communication skills. She is fluent in Irish, is at a B1/ B2 CEFR level in French and German, has a smattering of some of the Romance language and is currently learning Slovene.


  • Dillon, A., Nichols, E. & Foster, A. (forthcoming). The superhero garden project – outdoor gardening in early childhood education in the UAE. Children, Youth and Environments.
  • Gallagher, K. & Dillon, A. (2022). Teacher education and EMI in the UAE and Arabian Peninsula - Past, present and future perspectives. In T. Steinhagen and D. Coelho (Eds.) Plurilingual Pedagogy in the Arabian Peninsula: Transforming and Empowering Students and Teachers. Taylor and Francis
  • Said, F.F.S., Jaafarawi, N. & Dillon, A. (2021). Mothers’ Accounts of Attending to Educational and Everyday Needs of Their Children at Home during COVID-19: The Case of the UAE. Soc. Sci. 2021, 10, 141. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10040141
  • Chell, G., Mikkilä-Erdmann, M., Iiskala, T. & Dillon, A. (2021). A comparative study of academic literacy in English medium instruction programs in UAE and Finland. Issues in Educational Research, 31(1), 56-75. http://www.iier.org.au/iier31/chell.pdf
  • Dillon, A., Chell, G., Grey, I., Gallagher, K. & Moussa-Inaty, J. (2021). English Medium Instruction and the potential of translanguaging practices in higher education. Translation and Translanguaging in Multilingual Contexts.
  • Hojeij, Z., Dillon, A., Grey, I., Perkins, A. & Malkawi, R. (2019). Selecting high quality English/Arabic dual language texts for young children in multicultural contexts - A UAE Case. Issues in Educational Research 29(4).
  • Dillon, A. & Gallagher, K. (2019). Cross-cultural teaching for emergent Arabic-English biliteracy in Kindergarten. Paper 143909. American Educational Research Association Conference (AERA) Proceedings.
  • Dillon, A. & Gallagher, K. (2019). The experience of co-teaching for emergent Arabic-English literacy. The Qualitative Report 24(7).
  • Dillon, A. (2019). Innovation and Transformation in Early Childhood Education in the UAE. In Gallagher, K. (ed) Education in the United Arab Emirates. Springer: Singapore.
  • Dillon, A. & Ali, T. (2019). Global nomads, cultural chameleons, strange ones or immigrants? An exploration of TCK terminology with reference to the United Arab Emirates, Journal of Research in International Education 18(1) 77–89.
  • Dillon, A., Aguleh, H. & Al Seyabi, N. (2019). Our collaborative action research project: Integration of music to improve literacy in a kindergarten classroom. TESOL Journal. https://doi.org/10.1002/tesj.400
  • Dillon, A., Hojeij, Z., Perkins, A. & Malkawi, R. (2018). Examining the text quality of English/ Arabic dual language children’s picture books. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2017.1415867
  • Hathorn, C. & Dillon, A. (2018). Teacher Inquiry: Implications for Teacher Professional Development in the United Arab Emirates. Issues in Educational Research 28(1), 99-119. http://www.iier.org.au/iier28/hathorn.pdf
  • Dillon, A. (2018). Finding Innovation and Imagination in a Bag of Loose Parts. Childhood Education 94(1), 62-65. https://doi.org/10.1080/00094056.2018.1420369
  • Dillon, A. (2016). An exploration of linguistic neo-colonialism through educational language policy – an Irish perspective. Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 14(3).
  • Dillon, A. (2009). Metalinguistic awareness and evidence of cross-linguistic influence among bilingual learners in Irish primary schools. Language Awareness, Volume 18, Issue 2, 182 – 197.