Leadership in International Schools

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Principal Investigator
Professor Allan Walker
Director of APCLC, The Education University of Hong Kong
Funding Source
Professorial Chair Research Fund, HKIEd


The number of international schools in the Asia-Pacific Region is growing exponentially. Because of the exacting nature of these schools, the different levels of systemic support and diverse composition of student and staff backgrounds, leading instruction effectively is a complex exercise. Many international schools follow one or more of the IBO programs (PYP, MYP, DP) and continue to work through the challenges this brings. Despite the growth of the international school sector very little is known about how and why instructional leadership is enacted in international schools - this leaves a substantial gap in the literature.

The purpose of this study is three-fold.
  1. to identify what constitutes principal instructional leadership in international schools recognized as ‘high performing’, across a range of national settings which are; 
  2. describe the intersection of school intentions, teacher beliefs, and instruction of global education
  3. build an empirical basis for the development of localized theories of supportive institutional contexts in global education instructional practices that will contribute to international scholarship and the promotion of teaching in schools;
  4. build an empirical basis for the development of a descriptive theory of ideologies embedded in international and local schoolteachers’ global education conceptions and instruction that will contribute to international scholarship and teacher education.

Book Chapters 
  1. Hallinger, P., Lee, M., & Walker, A. (in press). Common leadership strategies for International Baccalaureate (IB) program transitions with different emphases: Comparing IB schools in Asia and other regions. In Tan, P., & Harrison, R. (Eds.), The International Baccalaureate as education innovation for a better world? Trends and experiences in Asia. London: Routledge.
  2. Lee, T. H., Walker, A., & Hallinger, P. (2016). South Asian perspectives: Developing Successful and Effective School Leadership. In Pashiardis, P.,& Johansson, O. (Eds.), Successful school leadership: International perspectives, pp. 27-40. New York: Bloomsbury.
  3. Lee, M., Wright, E., & Walker, A. (2016). The emergence of elite International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme schools in China: A ‘Skyboxification’ perspective. In Koh, A. & Kenway, J. (Eds.), Elite schools: Multiple geographies of privilege (Education in global context), pp. 50-69. London: Routledge.
  4. Szeto, S. Y., Cheng, Y. N., & Walker, A. (2016). Practicing successful and effective school leadership. In Pashiardis, P., & Johansson, O. (Eds.), Successful school leadership: International perspectives,pp. 121-137. New York: Bloomsbury.
  5. Lee. M., Wright, E., Walker, A. & Leung, L. (2015). Leading International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme schools in developing countries: A review of issues and challenges.  In G. Jean-Marie, S. Sider, & C. Desir (Eds.), Comparative international perspectives on education and social change in developing countries and indigenous peoples in developed countries, pp. 253-274. Charlotte, North Carolina: Information Age Publishing.
  6. Walker, A., & Qian, H. Y. (2015). Principal leadership in diverse cultures: A comparative study. In Normore, A. & Nancy, E. (Eds.), Cross cultural collaboration and leadership for modern organizations, pp. 216-234. IGI-Global. DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8376-1
  1. Walker, A., & Team. (2014). Confidential research report: The International Baccalaureate Continuum: Student, teacher and school outcomes.Hong Kong: The Joseph Lau Luen Hung Charitable Trust Asia Pacific Centre for Leadership and Change, Hong Kong Institute of Education.
  2. Walker, A., Bryant, D. B., & Lee, M. (2014, March 20-22). The International Baccalaureate continuum: Student, teacher and school outcomes.Paper presented at the IB Asia Pacific Annual Conference 2014, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, Singapore.
  3. Bryant, D. A., & Walker, A. (2013, March 22). The impact of the IB continuum on student, teacher, and school outcomes: Preliminary findings of research in the Southeast Asian context. Paper presented at the International Baccalaureate Asia Pacific Annual Conference 2013, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Competitive External Research Grant Awarded

The International Baccalaureate Research Fund on The International Baccalaureate Continuum 2013/2014 awarded to Prof Allan Walker and his research team at APCLC, HKIEd (R2099/ HKIEd).