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Dr Maya Gunawardena

Maya GunawardenaPosition

Assistant Professor - Teacher and Community Education
Program Director TESOL Bruce and Online

Contact details

T: +61 2 62015174
L: Building 6 Room D5

Click to view Dr Maya Gunawardena's Research profile


Maya Gunawardena is currently an assistant professor in teacher education at the faculty of Education, University of Canberra, and she formerly worked as a lecturer and a research fellow at UNSW. She is interested in empowering teachers with the knowledge of ecologies and epistemologies of learning sciences. Her research includes topics such as personalized learning, teacher beliefs and application of their pedagogical content knowledge, learning experiences and materials design, scaffolding students’ higher-order thinking, and practice of evidence-based learning. She has extensive experience in teaching in K-12 classrooms and tertiary institutes in Australia and Sri Lanka.

Maya obtained her PhD in Education from University Canberra. She obtained her master’s degree in Language Teaching from University of Lancaster, UK and master’s in Linguistics from University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. She currently researches and publishes in the fields of teacher education, applied linguistics, and literacy and TESOL teaching.

Recent peer-reviewed publications:

  1. Gunawardena, M., & Wilson, K. (2021). Scaffolding students’ critical thinking: A process not an end game. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 41, 100848.
  2. Gunawardena, M., & Brown, B. (2021). Fostering Values Through Authentic Storytelling. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 46(6), 3.
  3. Gunawardena, M. (2019). Pedagogies for scaffolding thinking in ESL: Integrating first principles of learning. In Li Li. Thinking skills and creativity in second language education: case studies from international perspectives. Routledge: UK
  4. Devereux, L., Wilson, K., Kiley, A, & Gunawardena, M. (2018). The proof of the pudding … analysing student written texts for evidence of a successful literacy Intervention. Journal of Academic Language Learning, 12 (1). 239-253
  5. Gunawardena, M., Sooriyampola, M. & Walisundara, N. (2017).  Scaffolding thinking in ESL lessons: Negotiation of challenges. Journal of Thinking Skills and Creativity. 24, 279-285
  6. Gunawardena, M. (2017). Insights and implications from the literacy teaching models. International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies, 5 (1), 94-100.
  7. Ranawake, G., Gunawardena, M. & Wilson, K. (2017). Teaching academic literacy in disciplinary contexts: Insights and implications from a discourse study; International Journal of Learning and Teaching.
  8. Gunawardena, M. (2016). Macro and micro strategies to stimulate students’ criticality. International Journal for Cross-Disciplinary Subjects in Education (IJCDSE), 7 (2) 2726 – 2734.
  9. Gunawardena, M. (2015). Disciplinary enculturation in Critical thinking: Do we adopt a strategic approach? (pp. 111-117). KDU International Research conference, Management Social Science and Humanities. Conference proceedings.
  10. Petraki, E & Gunawardena, M. (2015). The key ingredients of an effective grammar lesson: Perceptions from high school ESL students. Asian EFL Journal. vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 59 - 84.
  11. Gunawardena, M. (2014). Developing effective pedagogies for grammar: The two in one approach. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 8 (3), 100-106.
  12. Gunawardena, M. & Petraki, E. (2014). Critical thinking in the EAP classroom: Tensions and challenges in the Sri Lankan context (pp. 65-72). In Liyanage, I.  & Walker, T. Globalizing EAP practice:  Negotiating tensions and challenges (Eds). Sense Publishers: Australia.
  13. Petraki, E. & Gunawardena, M. (2014).  A tale of two cities: investigating teachers and students’ beliefs on grammar pedagogy in English language teaching. Free Linguistics Conference 2013, conference proceedings: The Hong Kong Polytech University: Hong Kong.

Recent conference presentations

  1. Gunwardena, M. (July 2021) Keynote speaker:The triarchic relationship between teachers’ cognition, pedagogy, and assessment of critical thinking in university. Professors’ Association for Critical Thinking, Pakistan
  2. Gunwardena, M. (2020) Discussant: ACT TESOL Conference, Canberra
  3. Gunwardena, M. (February 2019) Invited Speaker: Education research to impact communities, Post Graduate Institute of Peradeniya University, Sri Lanka
  4. Gunwardena, M. (8th July 2019). Wondering, pondering and enlightening: an approach to foster values in the primary school. International conference on Education and social sciences: Global Academic Institute, Paris
  5. Gunawardena, M. Promoting thinking skills in teaching ESL; 42nd Annual International Conference on Language Teaching and Learning: Nagoya, Japan, 28th November 2016.
  6. Forsyth, M., Gunawardena, M & Devereux, L (2016). Theory into practice: peer learning, peer mentoring and work integrated learning, Learning and Teaching, 4th May, UNSW Canberra.
  7. Gunawardena, M. (2015). Implications and insights from literacy teaching practice. NACADA International conference.  26th June, University of Melbourne.
  8. Gunawardena, M. (2015). Peer to Peer Instruction. Learning and Teaching Day, 6th May, UNSW Canberra.
  9. Gunawardena, M. (2015). Peer instruction and intervention in teaching academic literacy practices. Biennial AALL conference. Wollongong University. 25th November.
  10. Gunawardena, M. (2014).Disciplinary enculturation in critical thinking:   Developing effective pedagogies and assessment strategies. A paper presented at the Canadian International Education Conference, Cape Briton University Nova Scotia, Canada. Thursday 26th June 2014.
  11. Gunawardena, M & Ranawake, G. (2014). First year students’ difficulties in writing science. University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Saturday 5th  July 2014.
  12. Gunawardena, M. (2014) Disciplinary enculturation in critical thinking: Do we adopt a strategic approach? International research conference 2014. Kothalawala Defence University, Sri Lanka. Friday 22nd August 2014.
  13. Gunawardena, M & Akbari, N. (2014). A pragmatic approach to enhance writer-reader interaction in thesis writing. HDR Writing conference. University of Sydney.  Friday 3rd October 2014
  14. Gunawardena, M & Akbari, N (2014). Reader-writer interaction in thesis writing, Symposium on Embedding Language Development, Academic Literacy and Numeracy in Higher Education Curriculum and Teaching Practice. Queensland University of Technology. Friday  28th November