Beyond teaching: Teachers as the agents of change for school development in early childhood education

Choi Wa Dora HO

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Traditionally, the role of teachers is largely confined to the context of teaching in the classroom. Recently, teacher as the agents of change is increasingly viewed as a key factor determining the quality of modern schools. This paper aims to offer insights into how teacher leaders act as the change agents for school development in a Chinese educational context. Early childhood education in Hong Kong is selected as a research site for study. The local early childhood education sector has historically been characterized by minimum training and a modified form of apprenticeship. With the public call for quality early childhood education, the Hong Kong government has been increasing investment in teacher professional development. Given that, the qualifications of early childhood teachers have been improved in the last decade. Therefore, preschool teachers have identified themselves as professionals. Adopting a case study approach, the study reported in this paper is to examine the changing role of teacher leaders for school development. Semi-structures interviews were conducted with preschool principals, key stage coordinators (also known as student cohort coordinators), and classroom teachers to investigate their perspectives on teachers as the agent of change. The findings indicated that the key stage coordinators who are teachers holding functional posts took on leading roles beyond classroom in various areas including curriculum and pedagogy, teacher professional development, home-school collaboration, and community-school involvement. Meanwhile, the classroom teachers mainly acted as followers in the change process. The practice of teacher as change agents is emerging in early childhood education in Hong Kong where hierarchical power and structure is a pervasive source of influence. However, the practice of change agency was largely operated in hierarchical structures. That was different from the form of change agency can be created within a non-hierarchical collaborative network which is separate from the managerial power as documented in the Western literature.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


Ho, D. (2017, June). Beyond teaching: Teachers as the agents of change for school development in early childhood education. Paper presented at the 2017 International Academic Conference on Business Stockholm, 2017 International Conference on Education Stockholm & 2017 International Conference on Technology in Education, Stockholm, Sweden.


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