ERIC Number: EJ1111524
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Sep-5
Abstractor: As Provided
Learning-Centered Leadership and Teacher Learning in China: Does Trust Matter?
Liu, Shengnan; Hallinger, Philip; Feng, Daming
Journal of Educational Administration, v54 n6 p661-682 Sep 2016
Purpose: In this era of global education reform, teacher professional learning (TPL) has emerged as a key factor in efforts to create sustainable school improvement. The same holds in Mainland China where ambitious curriculum reforms have been undertaken since 2000. The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of learning-centered leadership (LCL) and teacher trust (TT) in fostering TPL in Chinese schools. More specifically, the authors examined two research questions: (1) What is the nature of the relationship of LCL to TT and professional learning?; and (2) How LCL practices influence TT and professional learning. Design/methodology/approach: The study employed a cross-sectional survey design. The authors collected survey data from 1,259 teachers in 41 primary and secondary schools in three different Chinese provinces. The research employed confirmatory factor analysis to confirm the measurement model and structural equation modeling to examine interactions among the three main variables. Findings: The results affirmed a positive association between LCL and TPL, and highlighted TT as a significant mediator in this relationship. Additional analyses distinguished between the effects of different dimensions of LCL on TT and TPL. Although the results of these analyses were broadly consistent with prior findings reported in the literature, divergent findings also emerged. More specifically, there was a limited use and no significant impact of "leadership modeling" on either TT or professional learning. Research limitations/implications: The authors suggest that this pattern of leadership practice is linked with features of China's institutional cum socio-cultural context. The authors recommend the use of qualitative and mixed methods studies capable of gaining further insight into relationships. Practical implications: These findings in Mainland China reaffirm the efficacy of school-level leadership that builds a safe, trusting but focussed environment for teacher learning in the workplace. This is a potentially significant finding in a society where the use of top-down directives and reliance on legitimate authority by leaders can rob teachers of the motivation and initiative that undergirds sustainable professional learning. The findings, in concert with those of other scholars, suggest that "building trust" represents a useful strategy for principals who seek to establish productive learning environments for their teachers. Originality/value: The value of this study lies in two areas. First, this is one of a growing but still limited set of quantitative empirical studies of school leadership in Mainland China. Second, the study tests the nature of mediation in the relationship between leadership, trust and TPL, a topic of relatively recent vintage in the educational leadership literature.
Descriptors: Structural Equation Models, Teacher Education, Trust (Psychology), Foreign Countries, Educational Change, Curriculum, Educational Practices, Instructional Leadership, Correlation, Case Studies, Teacher Surveys, Elementary School Teachers, Secondary School Teachers, Factor Analysis, Mixed Methods Research, Safety, Faculty Development, Principals, Statistical Analysis, Teacher Attitudes
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Elementary Education; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A