Exploring Chilean early years educators’ professional identities through their figured worlds

Opazo Perez, Maria Jose (2020) Exploring Chilean early years educators’ professional identities through their figured worlds. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

[img] PDF (Thesis - as examined) - Repository staff only - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (12MB)


Chile has a long tradition of early years education, which started 150 years ago. Nowadays, the interest in this educational level has grown, aligned with concerted international evidence which acknowledges the benefits that children have when they attend early years education. However, the evidence regarding early years educators in Chile has been scarce. My research aims to address this by exploring the professional identities of Chilean early years educators, understanding identity as an ongoing and dynamic process. Through the study of their everyday experiences in educational settings funded by the State and based on the qualitative tradition, I adopt a phenomenological approach and visual and narrative methodologies such as photo-elicitation, semi-structured interviews and observations in a purposive sample of nine early years educators.

Findings are presented in the form of portraits of each of the participants. By using a practice theory of self and identity, findings show that early years educators are constructing an ethical caring professional identity by developing emotional relationships with children, and by pursuing broader educational purposes, even though they are working in a highly market oriented educational system in Chile. Findings also show that the educators are forming distinctive professional identities, informed by the meetings they have with their colleagues, alongside the training courses they have undertaken.

With respect to the implications for Chilean educational policies, I strongly recommend the promotion of such professional collaboration within early years education, since they constitute spaces for authoring, which in turn, strengthens the professional identities of the educators.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Hall, Christine
Keywords: Early years teachers; Professional identity; Figured worlds; Chilean early years settings; Early childhood educators, Chile
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1705 Education of teachers
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 60258
Depositing User: Opazo Perez, Maria
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2020 04:40
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2020 04:40
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/60258

Actions (Archive Staff Only)

Edit View Edit View