Distributed leadership and teacher’ self-efficacy : the case studies of three Chinese schools in Shanghai
OppiaineMaster's Degree Programme in Educational LeadershipMaster's Degree Programme in Educational Leadership
This study looks into the distributed leadership and its influence on teachers’ self-efficacy in three Chinese schools in Shanghai. Against the background of the eighth national curriculum reform launched in 2002, the Chinese schools are seeking for the new way to enhance the school-based curriculum. On top of that, the trend of decentralization also encourages the school principals to involve the teachers in the school leadership practice. The relationship between distributed leadership and teachers’ self-efficacy in this study is examined from the angle of principals’ empowerment strategies. A mixed methods approach is applied to collect both qualitative and quantitative data from the three schools. The research data is collected through one questionnaire survey, 13 individual interviews, and 4 days’ participant observation. The qualitative data is synthesized into three case studies, while the quantitative statistics were tested and analyzed by SPSS software. The findings of this study indicate that distributed leadership exists in the three research schools in various forms. School principals empower the teachers at both individual and group levels. The power is delegated through both formal and informal channels. According to the situation, school leadership can be distributed either in a long-term form or in a short-term ad hoc form. The quantitative survey data supports the qualitative findings. On average, the respondents from all the three research schools show a high level of self-efficacy in decision making, interpersonal relationships & cooperation, teaching & research, and teachers’ influence on school culture. Teachers attribute their high level self-efficacy to principal’s empowerment, peer recognition, a democratic culture, and a strong moral basis of the school. It is worth noting that the distributed leadership practice presented in this study carries the Chinese characteristics. There is more horizontal cooperation among teacher leaders than vertical cooperation between the school principal and the teacher leaders. The young teachers are more active in taking the leadership roles. Both teachers’ initiatives and principal’s empowerment play a key role in leadership distribution. Distributed leadership should be rooted in daily school practice and school culture. In the last part of the thesis, the author summarized the limitations of this research and made her recommendations for future studies.
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