International Journal of Social Policy & Education

ISSN 2689-4998 (print), 2689-5013 (online)

DOI: 10.61494/ijspe

Teacher Leaders’ Participation in School-Based Decision-Making: Evidence from Chinese Primary Schools

Yaxing Zhang, Licong Chang&Shuiyun Liu


This paper focuses on the perceptions of teacher leaders regarding their participation in school-based decision-making during the contemporary Chinese curriculum reform. A qualitative study was conducted through interviewing with ten teacher leaders in ten Chinese primary schools. The data suggest that teacher leaders were involved in decisions about personnel, staff development, school-based curricular and instruction, general administration, school vision, and school culture. It was significant that much of teacher leaders’ decision-making reflected the notion of parallel leadership. Teacher leaders were closely aligning their working goals in conjunction with the decision-making of their principals and working at a different level to achieve the school development goals. Two significant characteristics of parallel leadership, namely mutual trust and shared purpose, explained the process of teacher leaders’ involvement in decision-making. Findings have important implications for principals and teacher leaders in China to reflect on their beliefs and practices.