Journal Publications

Title and Abstract
Qian, H. Y.,
& Walker, A.

Leading schools with migrant children in Shanghai: Understanding policies and practices. International Journal of Educational Management, 31(5), 564-579

Purpose – The purpose of the paper is threefold: to sketch the current policy context that frames the education of migrant children in Shanghai; to explore the work lives of school leaders in the privately owned but government-supported schools; and to understand the socio-cultural and educational factors that shape the leadership practices in these schools.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper drew from publicly accessible policy papers and interview data with four principals leading migrant children’s schools in Shanghai.
Findings – Migrant children's schools have received increasing policy recognition and attention. Principals of these schools have strived to adopt various leadership strategies to enhance the quality of education as received by migrant children. However, due to the institutional barriers such as hukou, multiple challenges continue to face migrant children and leaders leading migrant schools.
Originality/value – This is one of the first few papers that collected data from principals leading migrant children's schools. The paper contributes to further understandings about leadership in high-needs school context and about education quality and equity in relation to PISA success in Shanghai.
Li L.,
Hallinger, P., Kennedy, K.,
& Walker, A.

Mediating effects of trust, communication, collaboration on teacher professional learning in Hong Kong primary schools. International Journal of Leadership in Education. 20(6), 697-716

This study tests mediated principal leadership effects on teacher professional learning through collegial trust, communication and collaboration in Hong Kong primary schools. It is based on a series of single mediator studies, and uses the same convenience sample of 970 teachers from 32 local primary schools. It also adopts regression-based macros, integrated with bootstrapping, to examine and compare sizes and proportions of potential mediating effects of the three human relational variables. The findings affirm the role and nature trust, communication, and collaboration play in the mediated relationship. In contrast, the mediating power of collaboration is non-significantly stronger than that of communication, and is more than double that of trust. The conclusion is that a school environment featuring mutual trust, effective communication and genuine collaboration is a core condition for teacher learning and change. Provided that the forces that bind people together in schools are multiple, principals are recommended to create school culture and conditions strategically for teacher learning to thrive.
Szeto, E., & Cheng, A. Y. N.

Developing early career teachers’ leadership through teacher learning. International Studies in Educational Administration. 45(3), 45-64

Developing early-career teachers' leadership is a part of teacher learning both inside and outside schools. Teachers' learning processes have not yet been explored in relation to principals' delegation and teachers' recognition of leadership roles in a culturally hierarchical structure. This article discusses a cross-case study of four early-career Chinese teachers' experiences of leadership development in the Hong Kong school system. After teaching for five years, the teachers' leadership capabilities are reflected in their functional roles, membership, and promotion in their schools as approved by their school principals. Implications for teacher leadership development through teacher learning are also discussed.
Chen, J.

Exploring primary teacher emotions in Hong Kong and Mainland China: A qualitative perspective. Educational Practice and Theory. 39(2), 17-37(21).

This study aims to understand teacher emotions through interviewing 53 primary teachers in Hong Kong and Mainland China. Content analysis was employed to analyze the data. Teachers reported 68 different types of emotions which decreases as distance from the teachers increases at the five nested ecological system ‐ microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macro-system, and chronosystem. Teachers mentioned the most emotions at the microsystem level (50 emotions), followed by the exosystem (36), the mesosystem (30), the macrosystem (10), and the chronosystem (seven) levels. These emotions comprised 34 positive emotions (e.g., happiness, caring, pride) and 34 negative emotions (e.g., pressure, sadness, worry). Attention should be paid to the high proportion (50%) of negative emotions described by Hong Kong and Mainland China teachers. Findings may help teachers to understand how to regulate their emotions but also provide strong references for teacher education, teaching, and teacher lives.
Cheng, Y. C., &
Yuen, T. W. W

Broad-based national education in globalization: Conceptualization, multiple functions and management. International Journal of Educational Management, 31(3), 265-279

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the worldwide discussion of conceptualization, multiple functions and management of national education in an era of globalisation by proposing a new comprehensive framework for research, policy analysis and practical implementation.
Design/methodology/approach – Based on a review of the diversity in definitions of national education, the controversies in policy and implementation of national education are discussed. The different interpretations of national education stem from different assumptions and perspectives. Each of them seems too confining in globalisation. To overcome the controversies, this paper calls for a re-conceptualisation of national education from a broader perspective.
Findings – The conceptualisation of broad-based national education is premised on two fundamental principles. First, national education which is meant for development is a process by which humankind moves forward at multiple levels including the personal, local, national and global levels. Second, national education nowadays must be understood against a globalised context, in which there are multiple, complex and dynamic developments at play including technological, economic, social, political, cultural and learning developments of not only individuals and local communities within the nation but also the global world beyond the nation. In brief, broad-based education serves multiple functions at multiple levels. With national identity understood in a broader perspective, the multiplicity and complexity of national education may be better addressed. Identifying with one’s own nation is a dynamic and complicated process in which interaction and integration between the different levels and different functions of civic identities are involved. The approaches to management, implementation and pedagogy of broad-based national education are also discussed.
Research limitations/implications – The new framework of conceptualisation and the comparison between the characteristic profiles of broad-based and narrow-based national education provide new implications and possibilities not only for policy and implementation but also for research involving multiple functions and multiple levels.
Originality/value – The new perspectives associated with the broad-based national education will contribute to future research worldwide in this area.
He, P., &
Ho, D.

Leadership for school-based teacher professional development in early childhood education: The experience of a Chinese preschool. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 20(6), pp. 717-732.

In recent years, the role of school principals in providing leadership, and the impact of that leadership in promoting teacher professional development for building school capacity has attracted increasing attention worldwide. The study described in this paper explores the practices of leadership for promoting school-based teacher professional development (SBTPD) through a case study of a preschool in Hong Kong, the Special Administrative Region of China. The case study examines leadership and SBTPD. Semi-structured interviews were used for data collection. The research participants were the management team and teachers from the case study school. The findings of the study indicate that direction setting, communication and collaboration were associated with the practice of leadership for promoting SBTPD. We argue that teacher participation in decision-making is an important factor influencing the practice of leadership and its impact on SBTPD. There are implications for developing a critical awareness of the constraints that limit the extent to which SBTPD can be empowering in the hierarchical school structure in a Chinese educational context.
Wan, S. W. Y.,
Law, E. H. F., &
Chan, K. K.

Teachers’ perception of distributed leadership in Hong Kong primary schools. School Leadership & Management, DOI: 10.1080/13632434.2017.1371689

The purpose of the study is to examine Hong Kong teachers’ perceptions of distributed leadership. Data were collected from six primary schools with a total of 155 teachers responding to a self-developed survey. Descriptive, reliability, and MANOVA data analyses were done with the application of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) programme. Using exploratory factor analysis (EFA), 14 components were identified, including: (1) school organisation, (2) school vision, (3) school culture, (4) instructional planning, (5) improvement of learning and teaching, (6) teacher leadership, (7) principal leadership, (8) output effectiveness, (9) quality effectiveness, (10) change effectiveness, (11) organisation and planning effectiveness,(12) interpersonal relationship effectiveness, (13) value effectiveness, and (14) overall effectiveness. Inter-correlations were found among the identified components. Significant differences were found between teachers with different roles with the highest involvement and dimensions of school organisation, teacher leadership and interpersonal relationship effectiveness. Meanwhile, significant differences were revealed between teachers’ roles in the highest positions and dimensions of improvement of learning and teaching, as well as principal leadership. Such findings suggest that teachers’ perceptions of distributed leadership were related to teachers’ roles, including delegated responsibilities and degree of role participation in the schools. Implications for practice and research are discussed at the end of the paper.
Lee, D. H. L.,
& Chiu, C. S.

“School banding”: Principals’ perspectives of teacher professional development in the school-based management context. Journal of Educational Administration, 55(6), 686-701

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore how principals’ leadership approaches to teacher professional development arise from school banding and may impact upon teacher professional capital and student achievement.
Design/methodology/approach – The case study is situated within the context of school-based management, comprising reflective accounts of nine school principals selected by stratified sampling from a sample of 56 Hong Kong schools to represent Bands One, Two, and Three schools. The reflective accounts were triangulated with observations of teachers and analysis of school websites.
Findings – First, under school-based management, principals remain obliged to recognize the power of state-defined examinations in determining the schools’ future priorities. Second, the exercise of school autonomy in response to this obligation varies, depending upon the competitive advantage schools have in the school banding system. Ideally, effective school-based management is dependent upon the principal’s capacity to facilitate good instructional practices. However, principals need to adjust their leadership practices to school contextual demands. Third, adaptations to contexts result in the varied developments of teacher capacities in schools, corresponding with the types of principal leadership adopted.
Originality/value – While statistical studies have identified attributes of exemplary principal leadership, few studies have examined the qualitative reasons for the exemplification of these attributes, and the influence of the school context in shaping these attributes. Departing from assumptions that leadership attributes are intrinsic to individuals, this paper considers how principals contextualize leadership in teacher professional development to the schools’ student academic achievement.
Choi, T. H.

Hidden transcripts of teacher resistance: A case from South Korea. Journal of Education Policy, 32(4), 480-502.

This paper explores teachers’ resistance against pedagogic reform in South Korea, which was instituted in the form of an in-service teacher certification. Ideas for the reform, Teaching English in English (TEE), were borrowed from ‘native-English-speaking countries’ and implemented without systematic localization, therefore, it was not surprising that teachers resisted it, although hidden from the reform managers to avoid disciplinary action. The paper starts with a description of the educational context in South Korea, which has fashioned teachers’ practices of resistance. The conceptualization of resistance follows, drawing on studies from varied disciplines, including Foucault’s work on resistance ‘of conduct’ (counter-conducts) and Scott’s ‘invisible’ resistance. Findings from a case study of the TEE certification are then discussed. Teachers were engaged in various forms of lowprofile resistance, which culminated to impact on the fate of the certification. The paper highlights the potential impact of resistance on the course of a reform, which has often been disregarded as nonconstituent or unimportant or even misunderstood as compliance by reform managers and researchers. Thus, it contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of teachers’ resistance in the context of educational reforms, which has wider implications, as borrowed educational reforms are becoming all too frequent around the world.
Szeto E., &
Cheng, A. Y. N.

Principal-teacher interactions and teacher leadership development: Beginning teachers’ perspectives. International Journal of Leadership in Education, Latest Articles, 1-17.

Teacher leadership lies at the heart of school improvement. Leadership development among beginning teachers, however, is often neglected. This paper examines the role of principal–teacher interactions in the leadership development of a group of beginning teachers. Using a case study design, interviews were conducted and documentary evidence was collected. The results showed that the beginning teachers were able to take up leadership roles in schools both formally and informally. Development of teacher leadership requires constructive and regular communication with teachers and encouragement of their continuing professional development. Three types of effects on principal–teacher interactions in developing teacher leadership were identified: ‘inspirational’, ‘empowering’ and ‘allowing’. These interaction patterns contribute to the international knowledge on teacher leadership development in schools. Implications for school leadership are discussed.
Qian, H. Y.,
Walker, A.,
& Li, X. J.

The west wind vs. the east wind: Instructional leadership model in China. Journal of Educational Administration, 55(2), 186-206.

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop a preliminary model of instructional leadership in the Chinese educational context and explore the ways in which Chinese school principals locate their instructional-leadership practices in response to traditional expectations and the requirements of recent reforms.
Design/methodology/approach – In-depth interviews were conducted with 22 selected primary-school principals in Shenzhen and Guangzhou. A qualitative analysis was conducted to categorise the major leadership practices enacted by these principals.
Findings – An initial model of instructional leadership in China with six major dimensions is constructed. The paper also illustrates and elaborates on three dimensions with the greatest context-specific meanings for Chinese principals.
Originality/value – The paper explores the ways in which Chinese principals enact their instructional leadership in a context in which “the west wind meets the east wind”; that is, when they are required to accommodate both imported reform initiatives and traditional expectations. The paper contributes to the sparse existing research on principals’ instructional leadership in non-Western cultural and social contexts.
Hallinger, P.,
& Walker, A.

Leading learning in Asia -- Emerging empirical insights from five societies. Journal of Educational Administration, 55(2), 130-146.

Purpose – This paper synthesizes findings from five studies of principal instructional leadership conducted in East Asian societies. The authors first identify similarities and then differences in approaches to instructional leadership across the societies. Then the findings of the synthesis are compared with broad findings from the global literature on principal instructional leadership.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper employs a thematic approach to synthesizing findings from the five qualitative studies.
Findings – We identified numerous similarities in practices of instructional leadership leadership across the five societies. These included first a top-down approach to defining the mission and goals of schools whereby principals worked within a fairly narrow zone of discretion. Second, we principals devoted relatively little attention to Coordinating the Curriculum due to working within strict national curriculum frameworks. Third, principals executed their instructional leadership practices with an ever-present sense of the need to honor hierarchical relations and maintain harmony. Differences across the five societies centered on the extent to which the instructional leadership role of principals was explicitly defined and the extent to which they received training for the role.
Originality/value – This synthesis sought to build upon reviews of research published in a special issue of the Journal two years ago. The synthesis and this body of research papers have contributed towards moving empirical research on educational leadership leadership broadly, and instructional leadership in particular forward in east Asia.
Hallinger, P.,
Walker, A.,
Trung, G. T., &
Nguyen, D.,
& Nguyen, T. T.

Perspectives on principal instructional leadership in Vietnam: A preliminary model. Journal of Educational Administration, 55(2), 222-239.

Purpose – Worldwide interest in principal instructional leadership has led to global dissemination of related research findings despite their concentration in a limited set of Western cultural contexts. An urgent challenge for our field lies in expanding the range of national settings for investigations of instructional leadership. The current study addressed this challenge in the context of Vietnam, a nation with a very limited formal knowledge base on school leadership (Hallinger & Bryant, 2013). Our goals in this investigation were to: 1. Describe the perspectives of Vietnamese primary school principals towards their role as instructional leaders; 2. Illuminate instructional leadership practices perceived as important by the principals; 3. Develop a preliminary model of instructional leadership within the Vietnamese education context.
Design/methodology/approach – This study was a qualitative inquiry that sought to illuminate the perspectives of Vietnamese principals towards their role as instructional leaders. The research employed semi-structured interviews with 27 primary school principals. Data analysis employed a form of grounded theory method in order to synthesize results gathered from the principals into a preliminary conceptual model.
Findings – The study yielded a preliminary model of primary school principal instructional leadership in Vietnam. Our model evidences similarities to Western models of instructional leadership by including dimensions focusing on setting direction, managing curriculum and instruction and developing the school learning climate. Differences also emerged in terms of two new constructs, Building Solidarity and Managing External Relationships. Other distinctive practices of Vietnamese instructional leaders also emerged in the findings which the authors suggest can be linked to the nature of the institutional, political and socio-cultural context of education in this society.
Research limitations/implications – Key limitations arise from the focus on primary schools, small size of the sample, absence of data from the Northern region of Vietnam, and lack of verification of principals' perspectives with data from other stakeholders.
Originality/value – This study is one of the first empirical studies of school leadership submitted for publication in international refereed journals. Moreover, we are unaware of any other studies that have sought to conceptualize the instructional leadership role of principals in Vietnam. Moreover, the study illustrates how conceptualizations of school leadership are shaped by features of specific societies. This finding lends credence to scholarly admonitions concerning the universality of leadership theories.
Hallinger, P.,
Tang, S.,
& Lu, J.

Learning to make change happen in Chinese schools: Adapting a problem-based computer simulation for developing school leaders. School Leadership & Management ,

School leader training has become a critical strategy in educational reform. However, in China, there still exists a big gap in terms of how to transfer leadership knowledge into practice. Thus, tools that can integrate formal knowledge into practice are called for urgently in school leader training. This paper presents the results of a research and development (R&D) approach to adapt an existing online computer simulation, Making Change Happen™, for use in Mainland China. The paper describes the process used to inform and assess our cultural adaptation of the simulation, as well as the response of Chinese principals to learning through this innovative method. Results affirmed the necessity for cultural adaptation of ‘Western’ curricula and tools for use in the Chinese context. The positive response of the Chinese school principals to learning via an online computer simulation suggested future potential for employing technology-facilitated, active learning modes in China. Implications are outlined for theory, research, and practice.