School leadership for civic learning: The case of socio-political turbulence in Hong Kong

Koon Lin Wong, John Chi Kin Lee, Kerry J. Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Currently, the challenges deriving from the complex and dynamic socio-political context in Hong Kong influence principals’ and teachers’ relationships and interactions. Academic autonomy in Hong Kong secondary schools is not simply granted by the principals, it is influenced by the society, school conditions and key stakeholders. This study employed qualitative methods to examine how principals negotiate the political context surrounding citizenship education and how these practices influence the civic learning in schools. The results revealed that in school citizenship education, when principals lacked a clear vision of citizenship education, most teachers were compliant and avoided discussing controversial political topics with their students. Such teachers had less autonomy and consequently less self-efficacy. When principals mediated the diverse needs of students and balanced the different expectations of school stakeholders, there were both compliant and critical teachers. Teacher autonomy and self-efficacy were also affected by the current socio-political context in Hong Kong. When principals had a clear school civic mission, the results differed across schools. These findings suggest that principals have to reflect on their own understanding of the purposes and perspectives of citizenship education significantly to meet the multiple demands of a complicated and turbulent socio-political environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-530
Number of pages20
JournalEducational Management Administration and Leadership
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • Citizenship education
  • civic learning
  • school leadership
  • teacher autonomy
  • teacher self-efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Strategy and Management


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