What helps and hinders teachers'
capacities to be effective
We have known explicitly for at least thirty years, and probably implic-
itly for a good deal longer, that it is not the policy, or the programme,
that directly produces the effect … it is now virtually a given that
variability in effects among sites within a given intervention exceeds
variability between the interventions themselves, or between the inter-
vention and the control condition … interaction effects dominate main
(Elmore 2006: 4)
This chapter provides examples of key 'mediating' or 'intervening' factors within teachers' professional life phases and working contexts which interact to affect their effectiveness. It is organized in three parts. The first analyses how professional, situated and personal factors, which intervened in VITAE teachers' work and life contexts, affected their capacities to sustain their commitment in their different professional life phases; the second highlights the importance of the social context of teachers' work, focusing upon differences in the perceived effects of these, between teachers in primary and secondary schools and, between teachers in schools serving students from relatively advantaged and disadvantaged communities; and the third part discusses the role which continuing professional development played in their work lives.
Two broad groups of teachers were identified in VITAE: i) teachers who had sustained commitment (N = 229, 74 per cent). Within the group were those who had sustained commitment despite working in schools in challenging circumstances (N = 40); ii) teachers whose commitment was declining (N = 81).