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Variations in the work and lives of teachers: relative and relational effectiveness

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The VITAE project is a four-year (2001–2005) research study, commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills, conducted with 300 teachers in 100 schools in seven local education authorities in England. The project aimed to identify factors that may affect their work and lives over time and how these factors may, in turn, impact on their teaching and subsequent pupil progress and outcomes. It combined quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection and analysis in order to define and examine notions of teachers' relational and relative effectiveness. The first part of the paper addresses the nature of effectiveness and three key themes relating to the changing contexts of teachers' work, lives and effectiveness: the challenge of reform to notions of professionalism; professional identities; changes in teachers' work and lives. The research design and early findings and their effects upon the development of the research form the second part. The final part of the paper discusses three sets of understandings which are fundamental to any consideration of teachers' work, lives and effectiveness: relative and relational effectiveness; teacher identities; teachers' life and work contexts. The research suggests that policy-makers, school leaders and teachers themselves need to attend to these if teacher recruitment, retention and standards are to improve.
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Keywords: Effectiveness; Professional identity; Pupil outcomes; Teachers' work and lives

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Nottingham, UK

Publication date: 2006-04-01

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