Development of teacher leadership: The impact of principal-teacher interactions

Yan Ni Annie CHENG, Sing Ying Elson SZETO

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Similar to other places in Asia, Hong Kong is deeply rooted in a typical hierarchical structure of Chinese society that power distance between the teachers (lower position) and principals (higher position) exists in schools. Practice of teacher leadership seems to be a distant future for beginning teachers. This paper examines the development of beginning teacher leadership through teacher-principal interactions. What effects of the interactions have on beginning teachers’ leadership development? How do principals’ leadership practices infuse beginning teacher leadership in the interactions? The findings are derived from interviews and collected documentary evidence of twelve beginning teachers teaching in primary, secondary and special schools. The teachers provided detailed accounts of their interactions with school principals over the past two years through which the teachers’ leadership development was directed and situated in specific school cultures. Results unveil that different school cultures could affect the teachers’ aspiration for and development of leadership in curriculum and instruction. Influences of principal-teacher interactions on development of teacher leadership are identified in four types of school cultures. The effects of the influences are then contextualized as “higher-power distance”, “policy-driven”, “hierarchical” and “individualistic”. Implications for development of teacher leadership are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


Cheng, A., & Szeto, E. (2014, July). Development of teacher leadership: The impact of principal-teacher interactions. Paper presented at The British Educational Leadership, Management & Administration Society Conference 2016 (BELMAS 2014): Educational policy and practice: Can leaders shape the landscape?, Ettington Chase Conference Centre, Ettington, UK.


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