Teachers Matter offers the most definitive portrait of teachers’ lives and work to date. At a time when teaching standards are high on the political and social agenda, the quality and commitment of teaching staff is seen as paramount and they are viewed as pivotal to the economic and social well being of society. But:
What are the influences that help or hinder teachers’ commitment?
Is there an association between commitment and pupil attainment?
Why are teachers’ identities important?
What are teachers’ needs and concerns in different professional life phases?
Does school context count?
Based on a DfES funded study of 300 teachers in 100 primary and secondary schools in England, the authors identify different patterns of influence and effect between groups of teachers, which provide powerful evidence of the complexities of teachers’ work, lives, identity and commitment, in relation to their sense of agency, well-being, resilience and pupil attitudes and attainment. This, in turn, provides a clear message for teachers, teachers’ associations, school leaders and policy makers, in understanding and supporting the need to build and sustain school and classroom effectiveness.
The book addresses issues such as the importance of career development, the relationships between school leadership, culture and teachers’ lives, maintaining a work-life balance, identity and well-being and the connection between commitment, resilience and effectiveness in the classroom.
Original and highly relevant, Teachers Matter is invaluable reading for teachers, head teachers, researchers and teacher educators.
Christopher Day, Professor of Education, University of Nottingham
Christopher Day (corresponding author) is Professor of Education in the Teacher and Leadership Research Centre, School of Education, University of Nottingham. Recent publications include: Developing Teachers and Teaching: the challenges of lifelong learning (1999), Falmer; International Handbook of C.P.D. (Editor with J. Sachs, 2004); A Passion for Teaching (2004) Routledge; and (Leadership Book). He is editor of Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice.
Gordon Stobart, Reader, University of London
Gordon Stobart is Reader in Education at the Institute of Education, London. He is Co-Director of the VITAE project and recently evaluated the Key Stage 3 Strategy Pilot (DfES funded). He is convenor of the Assessment Reform Group, which campaigns for more use of formative assessment in teaching and learning, and editor of the journal, “Assessment in Education: Principals, Practice and Policy”. He previously worked as a secondary school teacher and as Educational Psychologist before moving into educational research. Recent publications include: Assessment: a teacher’s guide to the Issues (3rd Ed., 1997).
Pam Sammons, Professor of Education, University of Nottingham
Pam Sammons is Professor in Education in the Teacher and Leadership Research Centre, School of Education at the University of Nottingham. She is Co-ordinating Director of the VITAE project (DfES funded). Pam joined the School of Education in 2004, previously she was a Professor at the Institute of Education, University of London and Co-ordinating Director of the International School Effectiveness and Improvement Centre (1999-2004). Pam has led many research studies involving both primary and secondary schools, she also has interests in the evaluation of policy initiatives. Publications include: School Effectiveness: Coming of age in the 21st century (Swets & Zeitlinger, 1999); Impvoement through Inspection: An evaluation of the impact of Ofsted’s work, (with Matthews, London Ofsted/Institute of Education. HMI 2244, 2004); England: a country report (in Hans Dobert, Eckhard Klieme, Wendeline Sroka (eds.): Conditions of school performance in seven countries – a quest for understanding the international variation of PISA results. Waxmann 2004).
Alison Kington, Senior Research Fellow, University of Nottingham
Alison Kington is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Education, University of Nottingham. She is Principal Research Officer on the VITAE project in the Teacher and Leadership Research Centre, a four-year (2002-2005), longitudinal study of variations in teachers’ work, lives and their effects on pupils, funded by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES). Alison has previously been involved in, and led, a range of research projects at the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) and the Roehampton Institute where her research has been predominantly in the areas of classroom relationships and interaction, the professional development of teachers, and the use of new technologies to enhance teaching and learning. Prior to that she worked as a primary school teacher.
Qing Gu, Research Fellow, University of Nottingham
Qing Gu is a Research Fellow in the School of Education, University of Nottingham. She is Research Officer on the VITAE project. She was Assistant Lecturer in the School of Foreign Studies of Anhui University, China, where she was also Counterpart of a three-year Department for International Development (DFID) teacher education project. She has researched and published in language education, teacher education and comparative education in both national and international journals. Her current research interests are teacher professional development and intercultural education.
Table of Contents
List of Contributors
Why teachers matter: policy agendas and social trends
The VITAE research: a synergistic approach
The schools, their teachers and their pupils: expectations, experiences, perceptions
Studying teachers’ work and lives: research contexts
Teachers’ professional life phases: a research informed view of career long effectiveness
Emotional contexts of teaching: agency, vulnerability and professional identities
What helps and hinders teachers’ capacities to be effective
Teacher effectiveness, pupil attainment
Teachers who break the mould
Real and resilient: how teachers sustain their effectiveness
Commitment and effectiveness: contexts which make a difference to standards
Future proofing classroom and school effectiveness: why teachers matter most
List of Figures/Tables
List of Abbreviations