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Catalina Iglesias Sociology of Education Alumni

Catalina Iglesias

MA in Sociology of Education Alumni in Action

What is your current position/organization?

I'm currently working as a Research Assistant in a project at the Faculty of Education of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. The project consists in analyzing the level of alignment between the Faculty's teacher training model and the requirements for Teacher Training established by national public policies.

What was your thesis question? Can you write a few sentences about it?

My thesis focused on two countries with the highest levels of educational quality and equity according to OECD indicators, Finland and Singapore. The question guiding my thesis was: how did these countries come to be among the best educational systems in the world? To answer this questions, I did an extensive literature review on these countries, comparing the different sets of public policies that have given shape to their educational systems, the circumstances that preceded their implementation and their overall effects. I argued that, considering the evidence on teacher effects on achievement, policies that focus on teacher education, empowerment and development are the right policy drivers to trigger successful reforms and achieve higher levels of quality and equity in education.

What made you choose the SOED program?

Education is complex and multidimensional in its nature, given the different spheres of social life that interact with it and determine its effects, such as race, gender, neighborhood, family, policy, among others. I chose the SOED program because it offered a comprehensive scope to approach education related issues, with the option to tailor our course selection to topics of our interest.

How did the SOED program help shape your career path?

The SOED program reinforced my conviction of following a career path in the field on research and public policy. The program allowed me to gain a deeper and more critical understanding of the larger social, economic and political contexts that give shape to educational institutions and policies. It also helped me to acquire new analytical skills and techniques in order to promote the use of evidence based research in the development of new public policies, keeping a balance between theory and practice.

What was your favorite part of the SOED program?

Coming from Chile, having the opportunity to learn from a different educational system gave me a new perspective on the issues pertaining to my own country. Moreover, the experience of engaging with students from different contexts and disciplines, and learning from their experiences and insights, enriched my learning process and made me more critical of my own assumptions.