People & Research: Yenny Hinostroza Paredes is concerned with Chilean teacher educators’ reflexivity and sense of agency in their professional lives

The AGORA Research Centre brings together a wide diversity of researchers and research groups interested in current issues of social justice and equality in education. Here we will present their research. This time, we introduce PhD Researcher Yenny Hinostroza Paredes, University of Helsinki.

What are your research topics?

Currently, my main research topic is related to the critical realist analysis of the interplay between human agency and structure in teacher education and higher education systems. Specifically, in my doctoral research, I examine teacher educators’ reflexivity and sense of agency in their professional lives amid Chilean universities’ managerial structures and cultures of governance. Other research topics I’m interested are discourses of professionalism in higher education, precarisation and datafication of the academic labour, and the disciplinary field of comparative and international education.

How does your research re­late to is­sues of so­cial justice and equal­ity?

I’m concerned with how the forces of markets in education, and the logics of managerialism and accountability in university-based teacher education may render problematic Chilean teacher educators’ particular commitments to issues of equality and social justice. When they aren’t meaningfully included in policy discussions, programme decision-making is shifted to managers and teaching/teacher education are commodified, I wonder through my research how much room of manoeuvre remains for them to make a difference. What I’ve found is, yes, there is room for social justice and equality through their agency, particularly in collegial and classroom practices. In a nutshell, Chilean teacher educators’ agency emerges not only from concerns about career development or work-life balance, but also from concerns like poverty, inclusivity and a strong critique against Chilean neoliberal society.

Tell something about your latest/​​​​​current research?

Currently, with my supervisors, I’m working on a manuscript about Chilean and Finnish university-based teacher educators’ reflexivity as a decision-making process that offers them directional guidance to act in and over their (professional) lives. In a way, I would like to understand better the diversity of professional paths they take, even when facing similar circumstances, and how their agentic trajectories help transform or reproduce current structures of academic work.

Also, I’m writing a chapter for a forthcoming book on teacher education and comparative and international studies, where I propose the use of critical realist analytical tools (abduction and retroduction) for a multi-layered examination of education systems that acknowledges the macro (global education trends) and also the micro (human agency).

What kind of discussions would you wish to initiate with your research?

I want to initiate a very much necessary—but non-existing—discussion about Chilean teacher educators’ beings and doings. I believe teacher educators are a particular group of academic professionals too valuable for university-based teacher education. It’s extremely relevant to understand their specific career path development as such a unique group to implement appropriate supporting mechanisms in education contexts, like the Chilean one, characterised by managerial governance and constant reform.

Published 7.10.2022