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Article
Publication date: 25 September 2019

Dong Nguyen, Alma Harris and David Ng

The purpose of this paper is to outline key findings from a contemporary review of the international empirical literature focused upon teacher leadership. It synthesises…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to outline key findings from a contemporary review of the international empirical literature focused upon teacher leadership. It synthesises what is currently known about the nature, practice, conditions and impact of teacher leadership and to outline patterns in the contemporary empirical research base.

Design/methodology/approach

This review is based on an analysis of 150 empirical articles published in Scopus/SSCI-indexed journals between January 2003 and December 2017.

Findings

The paper draws upon this contemporary knowledge base to explore: contextual and methodological patterns of teacher leadership research; definitions of teacher leadership; and evidence on the enactment of teacher leadership, factors influencing teacher leadership and impacts of teacher leadership.

Originality/value

This paper highlights the progress and issues of the empirical research on teacher leadership since 2003 and identifies gaps in the knowledge base as well as areas for future scholarly enquiry.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 58 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 16 October 2017

Alma Harris and Michelle Suzette Jones

The purpose of this paper is to outline a Development and Research (D and R) approach to systematic and focused professional collaborative inquiry developed as part of an…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to outline a Development and Research (D and R) approach to systematic and focused professional collaborative inquiry developed as part of an externally funded project, Disciplined Collaboration and Evaluation of Professional Learning (DCEPL), and highlight a model of professional collaboration that was aimed at generating meaningful teacher engagement within, between, and across schools. The “Disciplined Collaboration” (DC) approach was designed to prepare and equip teachers to work with a model of collaborative inquiry that was highly structured and had built-in assessment measures to help teachers judge the impact and progress of their collaborative work. The literature on professional learning highlights that superficial models of collaboration, unstructured approaches to collective learning, and a lack of adequate evaluation measures are some of the reasons why teachers’ professional collaboration may not have the impact anticipated or expected.

Design/methodology/approach

The DCEPL program was a D and R project that aimed to support teachers in generating their own local approaches to school-based innovation and change. As a D and R project, a framework for collaboration that became known as “DC” model was developed and shared. The project involved eight schools in different states and territories in Australia. In the first two years, the schools engaged intensely with the “DC” model, in ways that aimed to promote innovation and change. Subsequently, in a phase of consolidation, schools have refined and extended their collective work. From the outset, a range of data sources were available to schools to assist them with gauging the progress and impact of their collaborative inquiry. Data sets included a baseline assessment, a maturity model that charted progress against a rubric, documentary analysis, and an online portal. A sequenced data collection and evaluative approach, every six months, routinely captured the process and the progress of the inquiry work in each of the schools. It also illuminated progress across the D and R project.

Findings

The feedback from the project and data analyses suggest that all eight schools in the project engaged with the “DC” model; and in most cases, used a whole school approach to improvement. More generally, the findings point to several conclusions about working within a DC framework: first, that authentic collaborative inquiry, i.e., which makes a positive difference to learners, benefits from a clear operational model and consistent rules of engagement for teachers. Second, that the DC model, offered teachers clear guidelines about the process of active collaboration and its evaluative requirements from the outset. Third, while inevitably, the process of DC varied across schools, the focus upon improving learning and learning outcomes was central.

Originality/value

The DC model presents a new framework or a new approach in supporting teachers’ collaborative inquiry. The DC model emphasizes improvements in student learning as the main outcome of teachers’ collaborative work. In addition, it has feedback and impact measurement within its design thus, allowing teachers to naturally evaluate progress and outcomes.

Details

Journal of Professional Capital and Community, vol. 2 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-9548

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Article
Publication date: 10 April 2017

Alma Harris, Michelle Jones, Kenny Soon Lee Cheah, Edward Devadason and Donnie Adams

The purpose of this paper is to outline the findings from a small-scale, exploratory, study of principals’ instructional leadership practice in Malaysian primary schools…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to outline the findings from a small-scale, exploratory, study of principals’ instructional leadership practice in Malaysian primary schools. The dimensions and functions of instructional leadership, explicitly explored in this study, are those outlined in the Hallinger and Murphy’s (1985) model.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is part of a larger international, comparative research project that aims to identify the boundaries of the current knowledge base on instructional leadership practice and to develop a preliminary empirically based understanding of how principals conceive and enact their role as instructional leaders in Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. Using a qualitative research design, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 primary school principals in Malaysia. The sample comprised principals from 14 Government National schools (SK), nine principals from Chinese schools (SJKC) and seven principals from Tamil schools (SJKT). The qualitative data were initially analysed inductively, and subsequently coded using ATLAS.ti to generate the findings and conclusions.

Findings

The findings showed that the Malaysian principals, who were interviewed, understood and could describe their responsibilities relating to improving instructional practice. In particular, they talked about the supervision of teachers and outlined various ways in which they actively monitored the quality of teaching and learning in their schools. These data revealed that some of the duties and activities associated with being a principal in Malaysia are particularly congruent with instructional leadership practices. In particular, the supervision of teaching and learning along with leading professional learning were strongly represented in the data.

Research limitations/implications

This is a small-scale, exploratory study involving 30 principals.

Practical implications

There is a clear policy aspiration, outlined in the Malaysian Education Blueprint, that principals should be instructional leaders. The evidence shows that principals are enacting some of the functions associated with being an instructional leader but not others.

Originality/value

The findings from this study provide some new insights into the principals’ instructional leadership practices in Malaysia. They also provide a basis for further, in-depth exploration that can enhance the knowledge base about principals’ instructional leadership practices in Malaysia.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 55 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 23 November 2017

Philip Hallinger, Donnie Adams, Alma Harris and Michelle Suzette Jones

Over the past several decades, instructional leadership has gradually gained increasing currency as a key role of school principals throughout much of the world. This is…

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Abstract

Purpose

Over the past several decades, instructional leadership has gradually gained increasing currency as a key role of school principals throughout much of the world. This is also the case in Malaysia where educational research, policy and practice have brought the instructional leadership role of the principal front and center. The purpose of this paper is to assess the conceptual models, research methods, and foci of scholars in the study of principal instructional leadership in Malaysia over the past 30 years.

Design/methodology/approach

Systematic methods were used to identify all studies conducted in Malaysia that had used the Principal Instructional Management Rating Scale (PIMRS) (Hallinger, 1982/1990/2015) as the data collection instrument. This search yielded a database of 120 studies completed between 1989 and 2016 written in both English and Bahasa Malay. Common data were extracted from the 120 research reports, coded and entered into a MS Excel spreadsheet for analysis. Quantitative methods were employed to analyze modal trends and synthesize patterns in the data across the studies.

Findings

The search identified 120 PIMRS studies, 90 percent of which had been conducted since 2005. This represented a surprisingly large corpus of studies. Over 75 percent of the Malaysian studies of principal instructional leadership had been conducted as graduate (master and doctoral) theses, relatively few of which had achieved publication in journals. The authors’ analysis found that most studies had used lower order (i.e. bivariate, direct effects) conceptual models and relied heavily on descriptive and simple correlational statistical tests. The lack of consistent results within the database of studies was attributed largely to limitations in research design and quality.

Research limitations/implications

The 120 PIMRS studies conducted in Malaysia comprise a surprisingly large corpus of research on principal instructional leadership. Indeed, the Malaysian corpus is second only to the USA in terms of the number of PIMRS studies of principal instructional leadership. Nonetheless, limitations in the research models and methods employed in these studies suggest a need for stronger methodological training before Malaysian scholars can achieve the goal of contributing useful knowledge to the local and global knowledge base. Specific recommendations are offered for strengthening the quality of research.

Social implications

The recent expansion of higher education in Malaysia – like other developing societies – has yielded progress in the scope of research production. However, numerous challenges remain in transforming the potential for useful knowledge production from graduate research into reality.

Originality/value

This is the first review of research on principal leadership conducted in Malaysia. The review follows efforts by scholars to systematically identify the boundaries of knowledge in educational leadership and management within East Asian societies (e.g. China, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan and Hong Kong). Moreover, this is the first review of research that examines the use of the PIMRS in a single society.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 56 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 21 March 2008

Alma Harris

This paper aims to provide an overview of the literature concerning distributed leadership and organisational change. The main purpose of the paper is to consider the…

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18070

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide an overview of the literature concerning distributed leadership and organisational change. The main purpose of the paper is to consider the empirical evidence that highlights a relationship between distributed leadership and organisational outcomes.

Design/methodological approach

The paper draws on several fields of enquiry, including organisational change, school effectiveness, school improvement and leadership. It systematically analyses the evidence in each field and presents a synthesis of key findings.

Findings

The evidence shows first, that there is a relationship between distributed leadership and organisational change, second, that there is evidence to suggest that this relationship is positive and third, that different patterns of distribution affect organisational outcomes.

Originality/value

The significance and originality of this paper lies in the fact that it: takes a normative position on distributed leadership and is chiefly concerned with the question of organisational impact; demonstrates the importance and necessity of further research about the way in which distributed leadership influences organisational outcomes; and acknowledges the methodological challenges in conducting research on distributed leadership but argues that such research will make a significant contribution to knowledge and theory generation in the leadership field.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 46 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 24 July 2020

Alma Harris

This article explores how school leaders are responding during COVID-19 and what forms of leadership practice are emerging.

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15201

Abstract

Purpose

This article explores how school leaders are responding during COVID-19 and what forms of leadership practice are emerging.

Design/methodology/approach

This article draws upon the contemporary leadership literature and scholarly work.

Findings

This article proposes that the current crisis has shifted school leadership dramatically towards distributed, collaborative and network practices.

Originality/value

This article offers a commentary about the changing role of school leaders and their changing leadership practice during this pandemic.

Details

Journal of Professional Capital and Community, vol. 5 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-9548

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2012

Alma Harris

The purpose of this paper is to focus on distributed leadership in schools and explore the implications arising from this model of leadership for those in formal…

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8817

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to focus on distributed leadership in schools and explore the implications arising from this model of leadership for those in formal leadership positions. It considers how the role of the principal, in particular, is affected and changed as leadership is more widely shared within the organization.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws upon a wide range of research literature to explore the available empirical evidence about distributed leadership and organizational outcomes. The analysis focuses particularly on the evidence base concerning distributed leadership and student learning outcomes.

Findings

This analysis of the available evidence highlights the potential for distributed leadership to make a difference to organizational change and improvement. It suggests that principals need to relinquish power and authority; that there is an inevitable shift away from leadership as position to leadership as interaction and that principals will need to build a high degree of reciprocal trust to negotiate successfully the fault lines of formal and informal leadership practice.

Originality/value

The paper contributes a contemporary overview of literature about the impact of distributed leadership and analyses the implications for the role of the school principal.

Details

Journal of Management Development, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0262-1711

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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2014

Michelle Jones and Alma Harris

The purpose of this paper is to focus on the way in which principals in different countries are securing successful organisational change through systematically building…

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6925

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to focus on the way in which principals in different countries are securing successful organisational change through systematically building social capital. It argues that how a school works as a cohesive unit and how people collaborates will ultimately define organisational performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws upon the international literature to explore how principals are building the social capital for organisational improvement but is not a review of the literature. It adopts a cross-cultural perspective and explores collective capacity building for organisational improvement.

Findings

This paper concludes that “disciplined” professional collaboration is an important way in which principals can create and sustain the social capital for organisational change.

Originality/value

The paper is a conceptual piece that proposes that creating social capital, rather than individual or professional capital, is now an essential task for principals seeking successful organisational change and improved outcomes. It explores the idea of “disciplined collaboration” as a methodology for building social capital in a rigorous, effective and sustainable way.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 27 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 21 March 2008

Alma Harris

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4275

Abstract

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 46 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 27 September 2011

Alma Harris

The purpose of this paper is to outline how collective capacity building is supporting system‐wide reform in one country. It seeks to outline the way in which professional…

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2455

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to outline how collective capacity building is supporting system‐wide reform in one country. It seeks to outline the way in which professional learning communities within, between and across schools are creating an infrastructure for improving professional practice and raising standards.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is both descriptive and analytical. It draws on the international literature pertaining to system‐wide reform and the empirical evidence concerning professional learning.

Findings

The paper highlights some of the challenges in building the collective capacity for change throughout an entire system and reflects on progress to date. The paper concludes by arguing that despite the compelling case for collective capacity building, the real test is to make it happen.

Research limitations/implications

The professional learning communities (PLC) programme in Wales is gathering evidence about impact but as the programme is just completing its first year of implementation these findings are not yet available.

Originality/value

This paper adds to prior analyses and discussion of collective capacity building by providing a system‐wide perspective.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 49 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

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