Dr Mabel Encinas

Dr Mabel Encinas joined the London Met in 2019 as a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies and Education.

"I come from a family of educators committed to ongoing self-improvement, to maximise all young people's chances to flourish and enrich our multicultural society. I believe that education has the potential to challenge inequalities and to transform individual and community lives."

Mabel holds a PhD in Education and an MSc in Educational Research. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Mabel is also convenor of the Sociocultural and Cultural-Historical Special Interest Group (SIG) as well as an elected Council Member of the British Educational Research Association (BERA). She is also a published poet, children's writer and live artist.

close up of female lecturer dr mabel encinas

Dr Mabel Encinas

Dr Encinas is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies and Education. She started her career as a Special Education teacher, who then has worked in a diversity of fields, in combination with her teaching in Higher Education. She was a systems engineer for IBM for ten years, has also been a live artist as part of the London Biennale, and is a published poet and writer with strong community connections in the education and literary worlds. She is a committed advocate to inclusive education, social justice and student and community engagement, she brings these experiences together to her teaching and research in the field of education.

Dr Encinas teaches at undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) levels, and supervises doctoral students. Her current research student, Ama Agyeman, researches the lived-experiences of parents whose children have been permanently excluded from school, with an Interpretative phenomenological analysis approach. Dr Encinas is a member of the Ethics Panel of the School and has facilitated academic writing retreats as social spaces in which researchers at any stage of their careers write together and share their experiences and strategies for overcoming writing blocks and writing more fruitfully.

In Mexico, Dr Encinas participated in and led various projects. She was Deputy Director of Curriculum and in-service Teacher Education for the Educational Programme of Internal Migrant Workers' Children (1998,1999). She led the Spanish (her mother-tongue) area in the Project Secondary Schools for the 21st Century (2000, 2001), while working for the National Pedagogic University in Mexico. She coordinated the first pilot of the Project Encyclomedia (2001), in which electronic the national primary school textbooks were linked to relevant online sites. She also worked as a consultant for the National Institute of Adult Education in Mexico in the area of Language and Communication (2003, 2004).
In the UK, Dr Encinas has worked at the Institute of Education (IoE), now UCL, where she studied her PhD. At the IoE she work in various programmes/projects: the Latin American Programmes Coordination, the Teaching and Learning Research Programme (TLRP), the National Curriculum Project for the Mexican Ministry of Education, and the European Union Funded Project Innova Cesal that worked with Higher Education Institutions in Latin America. Later she worked at the University of Suffolk, where she taught at UG and PG levels and was the course leader for the BA (Hons) Early Years and Primary Education Studies.
Her current research focuses on the use of creative strategies in early years learning. This research comprises two strands. The first strand consists of a coproduced project with and organisation of the voluntary sector, Musiko Musika, which involves monitoring a programme originally developed by this organisation, that supports 2 to 4 years-old children’s learning and development in relation to Communication and Language, and Personal, Social and Emotional development. The second strand involves using an art-based board game, that she created to 4-5 years-old children’s learning and development in relation to Communication and Language, and Mathematics.
Dr Encinas current interests and aims include expanding her research, continuing transforming her teaching to respond in creative ways to her students’ needs, and engaging in distributed leadership, which involves collective collaboration and concertive action. With this approach, she has been an external examiner for UG and PG programmes, PhD exams and programme validations at various universities, including: the University of Hull, The Open University, the University of Bedfordshire, Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Leeds.

Dr Encinas has been teaching at UG and PG levels on education related modules such as Creative Thinking and Representation in Early Childhood, Children’s Rights, Challenging Inequalities in Education, and Contemporary Theories of Early Childhood. She has also taught: Research Methods, Technology Enhanced Learning, Emotions and Cognition, Child and Adolescent Development, Philosophy of Education, and Educational Psychology, among others. She also participated in the Social Justice Framework CPD team.

For 30+ years she has worked in higher education in Mexico and in the UK, in face-to-face and online environments, supporting students' learning and research. She has supervised dissertations for undergraduate and postgraduate courses, as well as doctoral students, and has been particularly interested in learning in the workplace while working with in-service teachers. She has engaged both in action research and self-study, which consist of a developing research approach for professional learning, with both of which she has developed her pedagogy and has supported others doing the same.

Dr Encinas is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Academic Publications

Encinas, M. (forthcoming – 2023) ‘Academic publishing as a novice lesbian scholar: An intersectional experience’ In: Mcculloch, S. Novice LGBTQ scholars’ practices in writing for scholarly publication. Abingdon, Oxfordshire: Routledge.

Bamsey, V., Andrews, M, Encinas, M. and Fogarty, L. (2020) Education or Schoolification in the Early Years, TATYC occasional paper 16. London: Association for Professional Development in Early Years. Autumn issue.

Encinas, M. (2018) ‘El papel de las emociones en el aula, una aproximación histórico cultural’. In: Giménez Dasi, M. and Quintanilla Cobián, L. Desarrollo emocional en los primeros años de vida: debates actuales y retos del futuro. Madrid: Pirámide, pp. 177-193

Kitagawa, K., & Encinas, M. (2014) Young people’s transitions in London and temporal orientations of agency. [IOE Research Briefing]. London: UCL Institute of Education

Kitagawa, K., & Encinas, M. (2014) Young people’s transitions in London and temporal orientations of agency. London Review of Education, 12(1), 77-89.

Verdejo, P., Encinas, M. & Trigos, L. (2011) Humanidades y ciencias sociales: Estrategias para la innovación de los procesos de evaluación en la docencia universitaria [Strategies for innovation in assesment processes in higher education teaching]. In: Zalba Azzoni, E. and Orta Martínez, M. (eds.) Estrategias para la evaluación de aprendizajes: pensamiento complejo y competencias [Strategies for assessment of complex thinking and competencies]. Mexico: Innova-Cesal.

Non-academic publications

Encinas, M. (forthcoming - 2024) I am Lupita from Oaxaca. Uttoxeter: Victorina Press.

Encinas, M. (2018) I am Adila from Gaza. Market Drayton: Victorina Press.

Encinas, M. (2018) Septiembre (short story) In: Rivera-Fuentes, Consuelo & Magnet, Odette (Eds.) Violeta Walks on Foreign Lands (Violeta Anda en Tierras Extrañas) Short stories. Market Drayton: Victorina Press.

Encinas, M. (2017) Some poems. In: Rivera-Fuentes, Consuelo (Ed.) Unravelling Memories. Bilingual Poetry. Market Drayton: Victorina.

Hispanic-American Women Writers on Memory (now Las Juanas) (2016) Wonder-Makers: Navigators of the

Thames: Stories and Other Narrative. Santiago: Escaparate - Reprinted in 2021 by Victorina Press

Hispanic-American Women Writers on Memory (now Las Juanas) (2015) Wonder-Makers: Navigators of the

Thames: Poetry Santiago: Escaparate - Reprinted in 2021 by Victorina Press

Selected newspaper articles


Dr Encinas was recently interviewed by the London Met Lab team.

She has regularly presented papers in a range of conference, including:

  • the British Educational Research Association (BERA): Writing Retreats for Researchers - From the Ivory Tower to the Bootcamp
  • the American Educational Research Association (AERA): The study of emotions from a Cultural Historical Approach
  • The International Society for Cultural-historical Activity Research (ISCAR): A Vygotskian Approach to the Study of Emotions
  • the European Educational Research Association (EERA): Emotions in the Classroom
  • the International Association for Research in L1 Education (ARLE): Using technology for secondary school reading and writing - Consejo Mexicano de Investigación Educativa: Los maestros y las tecnologías de la Información y comunicación
  • the Consejo Mexicano de Investigación Educativa (COMIE)
  • the Congreso National de Psicología en España: Las Emociones desde una perspectiva sociocultural
  • the Social Pedagogy Association Conference: Our Shared Common Lands - A boardgame for family learning

Dr Mabel Encinas, PhD Education and Psychology, MSc, BA (Hons), SFHEA

Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies and Education

E: m.encinas@londonmet.ac.uk