Personal details

Dr Mallihai Tambyah
Course Coordinator
Faculty of CI, Education & Social Justice,
School of Teacher Education & Leadership
Senior Lecturer
Faculty of CI, Education & Social Justice,
School of Teacher Education & Leadership
Discipline *
Specialist Studies in Education, Cultural Studies, Literary Studies
+61 7 3138 3496
View location details (QUT staff and student access only)
Identifiers and profiles

PhD (Queensland University of Technology)

Professional memberships
and associations
  • member – AARE (Australian Association for Research in Education)
  • member – ATEA (Australian Teacher Education Association)
  • member – QHTA (Queensland History Teachers’ Association)
  • member – QCT (Queensland College of Teachers)
  • Vice President –  SEAQ (Social Educators Association of Queensland)

Initial teacher education, Teachers' work, Teacher Identity, Phenomenography, Australian National Curriculum, History teachers, Social Studies, Studies of Society And Environment (SOSE)

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


Mallihai Tambyah is a social science educator who lectures in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership in the Faculty of Education at QUT. She teaches and researches in the area of primary and secondary school social education curriculum studies. Mallihai was Program Coordinator of the Bachelor of Education (Primary) at QUT Caboolture campus from 2013 – 2015. Background:Mallihai completed her PhD in 2012 at Queensland University of Technology. She has a Master of Arts (History) from Duke University, USA, and has taught for several years as a secondary History/SOSE and English teacher in Queensland. Mallihai’s PhD thesis titled, “Middle school social sciences: Exploring teachers’ conceptions of essential knowledge” receieved a QUT Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award in 2013. The thesis was a phenomenographic investigation of what Queensland middle-school teachers of Studies of Society and Environment (SOSE) consider to be essential knowledge for teaching an integrated social education curriculum.  The study is significant in the context of the Australian national curriculum which is inspired by a return to discipline-based teaching in the social sciences.  The research uses the research specialisation of phenomenography to study teachers’ conceptions of knowledge.   Research interests: As a former secondary modern history teacher, and one committed to excellence in teaching practice,  Mallihai is also interested in researching:

  • the relationship between teachers’ knowledge for teaching and their professional identity.
  • pre-service teacher identities and professional knowledge in the social sciences.
  • the way that phenomenography is used to conduct research into education and teaching.
  • middle school history teachers’ conceptions of history as a discipline.
  • how Blackboard is used as a teaching tool in pre-service teacher education.

Currently Mallihai is co-researcher with Associate Professor Deborah Henderson and Professor Kerry Mallan on a QUT Faculty of Education Grant titled, “History teachers’ perspectives on national and civic identities in multicultural Australia: the role of texts”.  She has worked on a Faculty of Education Teaching and Learning project on faculty and student perceptions of Blackboard as a learning management system for teacher education. Grants: Mallihai holds a 2011 QUT Women in Research Grant to investigate teachers’ perceptions of history and pedagogy in the middle years of schooling. Mallihai was admitted as a Senior Fellow of The Higher Education Academy in recognition of attainment against the UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and learning support in higher education in July 2016.

This information has been contributed by Dr Mallihai Tambyah.


Mallihai is the lecturer and unit coordinator for a range of Faculty of Education units on:

  • Secondary History Curriculum Studies
  • Primary Humanities and Social Sciences Curriculum Studies

In each of these units Mallihai promotes the importance of subject knowledge in the social sciences, supported by inquiry-based teaching approaches.  It is essential that pre-service social education teachers are fully aware of the importance of having strong disciplinary knowledge as the basis of their knowledge for teaching Humanities and Social Sciences in primary and secondary school contexts. In her curriculum studies units, Mallihai is particularly interested in developing pre-service teachers’ self-efficacy and emerging teacher identity as social science teachers.  She promotes the development of these personal qualities by engaging pre-service teachers in researching and developing curriculum units, reflective writing on professional practice and in promoting online communities of practice to further teachers’ knowledge.

This information has been contributed by Dr Mallihai Tambyah.


Reviewer for the following journals:  International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education (IRGEE); Australian Education Review (AER).

Humanities Learning Area Reference Committee (LARC), Queensland Studies Authority (2012 – 2014)

The Queensland Studies Authority (now Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority) authorizes curriculum for the state of Queensland, Australia.  The committee provides information to the Authority on a variety of curriculum issues and reform initiatives.

This information has been contributed by Dr Mallihai Tambyah.


For more publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.


Awards and recognition

Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
Reference year
Teaching & Learning Award: Teaching Excellence. Full-time Academic Award (2010)
Appointment to State/National/International Reference Group or Government Committees
Reference year
Humanities and social sciences Learning Area Reference Committee