How do principals practise leadership for social justice in diverse school settings? A Hong Kong case study

Sing Ying Elson SZETO, Yan Ni Annie CHENG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose: Empirical research on leadership for social justice is in progress in many parts of the world. The purpose of this paper is to explore principals' school-leadership journeys in response to social-justice issues caused by specific contextual changes at times of uncertainty. It seeks to answer the following key questions: What social-justice issues do principals identify as arising from their schools' transformation due to contextual changes? How do principals practise leadership for social justice in response to these contextual changes at different levels?
Design/methodology/approach: This paper is based on qualitative data from a cross-case study of two principals' school-leadership journeys. The authors pay particular attention to the understanding of leadership for social justice grounded in principals' efforts to foster equality in learning development for a diverse student population.
Findings: Timely adverse conditions may be required to foster leadership for social justice in schools. The principals reacted to contextual changes at several levels, planning and implementing innovative and flexible interventions to ensure equality in students' learning development. These findings contribute to international accounts of educational leadership.
Research limitations/implications: This study of leadership for social justice in schools is contextually specific. Therefore, more empirical comparisons of school leadership are required in future studies, as principals' practices vary between education settings.
Originality/value: This paper offers insights into the evolution of leadership for social justice in schools in response to contextual changes. Principals' leadership strategies can be reoriented and their actions reshaped to overcome threats to social justice in schools. Accordingly, although leadership for social justice in school communities is culturally and pedagogically inclusive, it is also socially distinctive. Copyright © 2017 Emerald Publishing Limited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-68
JournalJournal of Educational Administration
Volume56
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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social justice
Hong Kong
leadership
school
equality
learning
empirical research
student
uncertainty
threat
planning

Citation

Szeto, E., & Cheng, A. Y. N. (2018). How do principals practise leadership for social justice in diverse school settings? A Hong Kong case study. Journal of Educational Administration, 56(1), 50-68. doi: 10.1108/JEA-08-2016-0087

Keywords

  • Diversity
  • Leadership
  • Ethnic minority
  • Chinese principals
  • Migrant students
  • Social-justice issues