The west wind vs the east wind: Instructional leadership model in China

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to develop a preliminary model of instructional leadership in the Chinese educational context and explore the ways in which Chinese school principals locate their instructional-leadership practices in response to traditional expectations and the requirements of recent reforms. Design/methodology/approach: In-depth interviews were conducted with 22 selected primary school principals in Shenzhen and Guangzhou. A qualitative analysis was conducted to categorize the major leadership practices enacted by these principals. Findings: An initial model of instructional leadership in China with six major dimensions is constructed. The paper also illustrates and elaborates on three dimensions with the greatest context-specific meanings for Chinese principals. Originality/value: The paper explores the ways in which Chinese principals enact their instructional leadership in a context in which “the west wind meets the east wind”; that is, when they are required to accommodate both imported reform initiatives and traditional expectations. The paper contributes to the sparse existing research on principals’ instructional leadership in non-western cultural and social contexts. Copyright © 2017 Emerald Publishing Limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-206
JournalJournal of Educational Administration
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


primary school

Bibliographical note

Qian, H., Walker, A., & Li, X. (2017). The west wind vs the east wind: Instructional leadership model in China. Journal of Educational Administration, 55(2), 186-206.


  • China
  • Instructional leadership
  • Primary school principals