Make a place for teacher’s voice: The effectivness and feasibility of shared leadership in western-style early learning center in Hong Kong

Xinxin WANG, Choi Wa Dora HO

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Shared leadership has been advocated in transforming schools in the Western developed countries over the past few decades (Lambert 2002; Harris 2008). Recently, this prevailing ideology has been receiving increasing attention in early childhood education (Deakins, 2007; Ho, 2010; Ho, 2012; Ho & Tikly, 2012; Krieg, Davis & Smith, 2014; Stamopoulos, 2012). The concept of shared leadership has been characterized as "facilitative" (Conley & Goldman, 1994), "constructivist" (Lambert et al., 1995) and "adaptive" (Heifetz, 1994) in 1990s. More recently, the associated terms such as ‚balanced‛ (Waters & McNulty, 2003), ‚non-hierarchical‛, ‚distributed‛, ‚teacher leadership‛ (Ho, 2012) and ‚pedagogical leadership ‚ (Trevoer & Loanna, 2012) are used to describe the form of shared leadership. These terms have involved the ideas on sustainable model of leadership. Shared leadership therefore has become an essential part of sustainable development of education systems, which can be broadly defined as ‚the capacity for teachers to exercise leadership for teaching and learning within and beyond the classroom, to identify with and contribute to a community of teacher learners and leaders, and to influence others towards improved educational practice‛ (cited in Ho & Tikly, 2012, p.8). Shared leadership has been promoted as a key to school improvement and highquality education since it is able to generate ownership for school-wide student outcomes, shift the teachers’ roles in decision making and curriculum change from a centralized, top-down style of leadership to bottom-up decentralized leadership (Ho, 2010; Leeson, Campbell-Barr & Ho, 2012; Murray & Clark, 2013, Wilhelm, 2013). In Hong Kong, leadership in early childhood education has been characterized by hierarchical mode of practice in a policy-driven and highpower distance culture (Ho, 2012). The Guide to Pre-Primary Curriculum issued by the Education Bureau (2006) has presented the needs of redistributing authority and power in hierarchical structures and promoting teachers’ right to voice out their own individual opinions. However, few studies have been conducted to understand the situations in ECE in Hong Kong where several waves of western-oriented education reforms have been put into place in the recent years (Cheng, 2005; Mok, 2006). Since much of the research in the area of shared leadership has been mostly conducted in western contexts, there is a need to develop local research to critically review the Western theories of shared leadership if these theories are able to be successfully adapted for other political and cultural contexts. Grounded in the theory of contextual leadership, the proposed study deliberated in this paper will be conducted using a multi-case study research approach, aiming to examine the effectiveness and feasibility of shared leadership in Western-style preschool in Hong Kong. The results will provide an understanding of the ways in which shared leadership has been implemented in local preschools and the importance of introducing such western leadership practice in Hong Kong, a highly centralized Asia context. Data will be collected from four Western-style preschools through semi-structured interviews with the principals and two teachers from each case study school. The interviews will be transcribed verbatim and the interview transcriptions will be analyzed using the Thematic Analysis Approach (Guest, MacQueen, & Namey, 2012).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


Wang, X., & Ho, C. W. D. (2014, November). Make a place for teacher’s voice: The effectivness and feasibility of shared leadership in western-style early learning center in Hong Kong. Paper presented at Exploring Leadership and Learning Theories in Asia 3rd International Conference on Leadership & Learning in the Asian Century, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia.


  • Shared leadership
  • Early childhood education
  • Hong Kong
  • Making a place for teachers’ voice: Understanding shared leadership in western-style preschools in Hong Kong


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