Antecedents, Mediator,
and Moderators of
Teacher Innovation in Schools:
Evidence from Hong Kong

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Project Investigator
Dr. Lu Jiafang
Associate Director
and Research Fellow of APCLC,
The Education University of Hong Kong
Professor Allan Walker
Professor Chiu Chi Shing
Dr. Ko Yue On James
Dr. Lam Bick Har
The Education University of Hong Kong
Professor Huang Xu
Hong Kong Baptist University
Funding Source
General Research Fund
Project Duration


Teacher innovation, which is collective introduction and application of novel and useful ideas initiated by teachers, is crucial for inherently rewarding teachers, cultivating creativity in students, sustaining professional learning communities, and differentiating “stuck schools” from “moving schools”. However, despite the well documented merits, open exchange and exploration of creative ideas in schools could entail a risk because other school members, especially school leaders, may interpret and react to the creative ideas and practices differently. Moreover, engagement in deep, integrative dialogue among teachers, which is essential for transforming creative resource inputs into teacher innovation, has been a constant challenge for schools. In contrast to the vast literature on top-down introduction and implementation of innovative projects in schools, little is known about the types of teacher innovation, and even less on how voluntary, bottom-up innovative practices emerge among teachers.

Using a two-phase research design, the project team attempts to:

  1. Develop a parsimonious taxonomy of teacher innovation at primary and secondary schools;
  2. Examine the determinants and process of teacher innovation; and
  3. Investigate under which conditions schools are most conducive to teacher innovation.

Based on extant literature on innovation, a provisional four-type taxonomy of teacher innovation is proposed. The study also draws on the componential theory, the interactional perspective, and school improvement literature, and proposes hypotheses regarding the factors and processes that enable teacher innovation.

Expected Outcomes

  • To enable a timely documentation of teacher innovative practices in Hong Kong, which facilitates a more nuanced understanding of the educational achievements as well as challenges in the society;
  • To establish a theoretical model that predicts teacher innovation, which will lay a useful foundation for future studies on teacher innovation in Hong Kong and elsewhere.

For more information about the study, please contact Dr. Lu Jiafang at the email: or at the phone (852) 2948 6274.