Anitha Devi PILLAI


English Language & Literature (ELL)

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Ph.D. (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore); M.A. (National University of Singapore); B.A. (Hons.) (University of New South Wales, Australia)


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Research Interests
Academic Writing, Community Literacy Practices, Genre Studies, Teaching and Assessment of General Paper and Project Work, Text Analysis, Writing Pedagogy

  • Writing teachers need to be readers and writers themselves.

    Dr. Anitha Devi Pillai taught General Paper and Project Work at a junior college before joining NIE in 2006. She teaches courses on writing pedagogy, academic writing, language and literacy, language teaching methods and communication skills.

    She is the recipient of the Singapore University of Social Sciences Teaching Merit Award in 2013 and 2014. In 2017, she received the Research Excellence Award from Pravasi Express for her research on the Singapore Malayalee community.

    Her doctoral thesis focused on the discourse structures of student research papers and the acculturation practices of students to academic writing. 

    She has published books, book chapters and journal articles on writing pedagogy, teacher education and community literacy practices. She has also delivered keynote addresses at international conferences in Singapore and the Asian region.

    She is a Cambridge-certified International English Testing System (IELTS) examiner for IDP Education (Australia) and the Chief Examiner for English Proficiency Test (Writing component). She also developed tests to assess the written language proficiency of teachers from China seeking entry into NIE’s Postgraduate Diploma in English Language Teaching program.

    She is effectively bilingual in English and Tamil, and speaks Malayalam fluently.

    In addition to her academic and professional publications, she has also written poetry, short stories and newspaper articles that have been published locally and abroad.

    She believes strongly that writing teachers need to be readers and writers themselves, and this belief guides her in everything she does.

    Research Projects

    Singapore Malayalee Story

    PI: Anitha Devi Pillai

    Duration: 2013 – 2016

    The Information Seeking Behavior of Academic Discourse Students and Effect on Student Research Papers

    COPI: Anitha Devi Pillai

    Duration: 2013 – 2015

    Process Learning from Experience to Application

    COPI: Anitha Devi Pillai

    Duration: 2013 – 2014

    Teacher and Student Perceptions of Peer Assessment for English Writing

    COPI: Anitha Devi Pillai

    Duration: 2012 – 2015

  • Undergraduate & Post-graduate (Pre-service)

    • AAE23M Language and Literacy
    • ACE 422/32A Teaching of English at Secondary Level (Writing)
    • AUE 201 The Study of Language
    • QCE 520  Language Teaching Approaches
    • QLK 501 & QLK 520 Communication Skills for Teachers (Primary/Secondary)



    • MEd 901 Academic Writing for Postgraduate Students


      Diploma (Pre-service)

    • DLK 201/231 Communication Skills for Teachers
    • DUE 103/105 Digital Storytelling



    • IEL 2069 Researching Essay Writing in our Classrooms
    • IEL 2074 Teaching Expository Writing in Secondary Schools
    • QUE 514 Understanding and Implementing English Language Curriculum

    1. Shreenjit Kaur (2016) A Study of EL Teachers' Perceptions of Writing Pedagogies & Practices in Singapore
    2. Selvi Peters (2017) A Textual Analysis of Primary School Students’ Writing in Singapore
    3. Chan Swee Yin Adeline (Current) Implementation of EL Portals in Secondary Schools: Impact on EL Curriculum & Teaching Practices
    4. Mahathir Aziz (Current) Difficulties faced by Secondary School Students when writing an Argumentative Essay