Developing a model of instructional leadership in China

Allan David WALKER, Haiyan QIAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores instructional leadership practices in China. It has three interrelated purposes. The first purpose is to report data which contributes insights into how Chinese principals understand and enact instructional leadership. The second purpose is to examine how the societal context impacts the enactment of leadership and the third is to suggest implications for international understandings of successful school principalship. The study adopted a qualitative approach and interviewed 101 primary school principals across six regions in China. A model of instructional leadership comprising six dimensions and a set of sub-dimensions emerged from the data. The study also provides insights into how societal context shapes how Chinese principals enact leadership. The paper concludes with six propositions that attempt to capture the fluidity and complexity of the working lives of school principals in China. Copyright © 2020 British Association for International and Comparative Education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-167
JournalCompare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education
Issue number1
Early online dateMay 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2022


Walker, A., & Qian, H. (2022). Developing a model of instructional leadership in China. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 52(1), 147-167. doi: 10.1080/03057925.2020.1747396


  • Instructional leadership
  • China
  • Societal context


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