Teachers’ views of their working conditions and their principals’ abilities are vital in evaluating leaders’ ability and the formation of the organizational climate, especially when schools are engaged in reforms to improve educational services. Following the worldwide trend, Hong Kong began the implementation of inclusive education on a voluntary basis in 1997. It became an official policy in 2008 to place special educators in the school leadership structure by funding an additional vice principal who was to assume the role of the special educational needs (SEN) coordinator in addition to the usual managerial duties. Studies on the relationships between principal leadership and teacher leadership in implementing inclusive education reforms specific to Hong Kong are scarce. As part of the larger study that involved principals, the target teacher leaders (SEN coordinators), and selected teachers of student support teams for a comprehensive portrayal of relationships between leadership constructs, middle management, and inclusion outcomes across Hong Kong schools, this component adopted a cross-site case study design to look into what principals have done to create the school contexts that SEN coordinators find conducive to assume leadership roles for inclusive education. The 14 participants were purposefully sampled and asked three interview questions to respond to the overarching research question: (a) How did your principal mobilize you and other teachers to practice inclusive education? (b) How did your principal facilitate your leadership role in practicing inclusive education? (c) What has been done or what needs to be done to sustain your leadership role? Findings suggested three main sets of principal attributes grounded on several foundational attributes central to building teacher leadership: (a) visionary leadership, (b) building teacher leadership by partnership, and (c) creating conditions to sustain teacher leadership. The strong interconnectivity among these attributes and foundational attributes led to the emerging relationship model of effective leadership attributes. Such a relationship schema calls for a deeper understanding of how effective leadership attributes can be understood in relation to one another and may thus advance the evolution of leadership theories. Findings have also suggested the need to refine policies that facilitate resource capitalization to reduce workload and provide SEN coordinators with time for instructional and leadership training.
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2016|