Bethan Morris-Tran

Doctoral researcher

Transforming Education, Transforming Lives: Learning Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

Research Supervisors: Professor Julie Allan and Dr Karl Kitching


Scholarship from the YTL Foundation

Bethan Morris-Tran

As suggested in the title, my research project aims to get a better understanding of the realities of the changes that the pandemic has made in our education system: what challenges it has introduced, what struggles it has highlighted and what problems it has made worse.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic the education sector has experienced enormous disruption. The transition from classroom to online and remote learning has introduced many challenges for both teachers and students and in many cases exacerbated existing inequalities. In order to inform our educational recovery, this study’s purpose is to explore the learning and teaching experiences of students and teachers and how they have influenced their mental wellbeing. Throughout this project, the hope is that by gaining insights into the challenges and triumphs of individuals that it will inform our educational decision-making, and contribute in a small way to building a better education system in our recovery.

My rationale behind focusing particularly on mental wellbeing was due to how challenging the pandemic has been on individuals’ mental health. Many individuals have faced extremely stressful situations, and studies show that there is an increased need for mental health services. By taking into account the impact our mental wellbeing has on every aspect of our life it allows us to craft a more complete understanding of the current situation, and helps better inform what our recovery should consist of.

In order to explore this area further I will be distributing surveys, and then following up a random selection of participants with group interviews (separate group interviews for teachers and students). In terms of numbers I would propose distributing the survey to at least 25 teachers and 25-50 students. Then I would conduct 2-4 group interviews, e.g 1-2 with teachers in groups of 5, and the same for students. The students and teachers would preferably be from a range of subjects, and a range of year groups.



  • MPhil Education (Globalisation and International Development) - Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge
  • BA (Hons) Education Studies - Manchester Metropolitan University

Research interests

  • International development
  • Educational responses to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Social class and education
  • Educational governance
  • International rankings and testing on educational agendas

Research projects

Current Project - STORIE (in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam)

STORIE is a research project with an empowerment approach to storytelling, that is based on aim of making higher education more inclusive. It aims to do this by collecting narratives from students and staff, as part of a regenerative living systems approach to gather data and promote previously unheard voices to be part of a process of inclusive change. As project curator, Bethan's role involves assisting with the data collection and analysis.

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