Leading curriculum reform in China: Principals in the middle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters


The curriculum reform in China presents radical changes not only to how and what students learn, but also to how principals lead, relationships within the school and connections with governments and parents. The purpose of the chapter is to present a snapshot of some of the struggles faced by secondary school principals in Shanghai during their implementation of the curriculum reform. Based on the empirical evidence, this chapter attempts to explain, from the principals' perspectives, why they fail to perform the expected "curriculum leader" role. The explanation is presented in the form of three propositions. They include the important principal role to win resources, the dominant expectation to produce good performance on exams and the pressure of culturally and structurally engrained relationships. The chapter ends with the discussion of some implications for leadership to enhance learning in the future. Copyright © 2012 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCurriculum reform in China: Changes and challenges
EditorsHong-biao YIN , John Chi-Kin LEE
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherNova Science
ISBN (Print)9781614709435
Publication statusPublished - 2012


Qian, H., & Walker, A. (2012). Leading curriculum reform in China: Principals in the middle. In H-B Yin & C. K. J. Lee (Eds.), Curriculum reform in China: Changes and challenges (pp. 47-59). New York: Nova Science.


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