Perceptions and its influencing factors of teacher leadership in early childhood education in China: A mixed-methods study in Xiamen City


Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


Since 2010, developing teacher leadership has been one of the principal reform policies to promote high-quality early childhood education in China. The purpose of this study was to explore various school stakeholders’ perceptions of teacher leadership and identify its influencing factors in preschools in China. Consequently, this study aimed to answer the following research questions: (1) How is teacher leadership perceived by various school stakeholders in preschools in China? (2) Are there differences in the perceptions of various school stakeholders on teacher leadership? (3) What are the factors that influence teacher leadership as perceived by various school stakeholders?
This study used a mixed-methods sequential exploratory design. Accordingly, in Phase One, the qualitative study was to explore the research question 1. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews with 21 research participants. Three themes of teacher leadership emerged from the qualitative content analysis: school-level leadership, peer-level leadership, and building relationships with parents. The findings of the qualitative study were used to develop the Teacher Leadership Scale, which consisted of three constructs: staff management and development, peer learning and support, and communication with parents. The three factors that influence teacher leadership were identified as Power Distance, School Culture, and Authority Openness.
In Phase Two, the quantitative study was conducted to examine research question 2 and 3. The Teacher Leadership Scale for examining research question 2 was delivered to 918 samples and used to test the Hypotheses which were generated from the literature review. Analytical strategies for testing Hypotheses included independent-samples T test and one-way analysis of variance. The three existing scales—Power Distance, School Culture Scale, and Authority Openness—were used to examine their relationships with teacher leadership (research question 3). Analytical strategies in this step included correlation matrix and structural equation model. The results showed that (1) Power Distance had a significantly positive influence on staff management and development but a negative influence on communication with parents; (2) School Culture had a significantly positive influence on peer learning and support; and (3) Authority Openness had a significantly positive influence on staff management and development, peer learning and support, and communication with parents.
The research findings and results for each research question were discussed by connecting them with a global discourse of teacher leadership. The limitations of this study have been highlighted. Based on the findings and results of this study, some implications were raised for education policy, school leadership, and teachers’ leadership development. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018


school culture
school policy
hypothesis testing
reform policy
structural model
analysis of variance
content analysis


  • Authority openness
  • Chinese culture
  • Early childhood education
  • Power distance
  • School culture
  • Teacher leadership
  • Kindergarten teachers -- In-service training
  • Kindergarten teachers -- China -- Xiamen Shi -- Case studies
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (Ph.D.)--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2018.
  • Alt. title: 幼兒園教師領導力的認知及其影響因素調查
  • Alt. title: 中國幼兒園教師領導力的認知調查:以廈門市為例