The effect of department leadership on teacher professional learning in China: A multilevel moderated mediation model

Shengnan Liu, Philip Hallinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There is growing interest in the topic of middle-level leadership, including department and subject leaders. However, published research has largely failed to consider the underlying mechanisms through which middle-level leaders influence teacher professional learning. This study investigated how and under what conditions department leadership is beneficial to teacher professional learning. This research examined “school collectivism” as a boundary condition that was hypothesized to influence the effects of departmental leadership on teacher resilience and professional learning. Survey data on these constructs were collected among 3219 teachers in 121 primary and middle schools located in mainland China. Multilevel moderated mediation modeling was employed to assess the simultaneous effects of conditional and mediating factors on teacher engagement in professional learning. The results revealed that department leadership could influence teacher resilience which also mediated the relationship between department leadership and teacher professional learning. This indirect effect of department leadership on teacher professional learning was strengthened when school collectivism was reinforced. The findings add to the current literature first by empirically verifying the impact of middle-level leaders on teachers, as well as by highlighting school-level conditions that can shape the exercise of middle-level leadership.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEducational Management Administration and Leadership
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • department leadership
  • Middle-level leaders
  • multilevel moderated mediation
  • school collectivism
  • teacher professional learning
  • teacher resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Strategy and Management

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