Leadership and School Organisation

Description of Task Force

Globalisation has continued to fuel the development of new educational reform policies over the last two decades. These policies are intended to decentralise decision-making in education systems, develop and empower teachers, raise teaching and accountability standards, and develop more productive relationships between schools and communities. The primary purpose of enhancing these school improvement processes is to bring about diverse learning outcomes in students that are more in tuned with the 21st century competencies. Understandably, the importance of school leadership to support these new educational reform policies at the school organisational level will continue to grow, along with the amplification in the demands placed on educational leaders.

In the Singapore education context, the recent introduction of the Leader Growth Model (LGM) framework by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in 2014 bears testament to the importance of developing the capacity of educational leaders in Singapore schools in view of increasing demands placed on education and increasing social complexities. The framework states six major domains of school leadership: (1) Ethical leader, (2) Educational leader, (3) Visionary leader, (4) Culture builder, (5) Change leader, and (6) Network leader – all anchored on an educational philosophy that view leadership as anchored in values and purpose, inspiring all towards a shared vision, committed to growing people, and leading and managing change. This philosophy can also be captured in the following key words – LEAD, LEARN and INSPIRE. The Leader Growth Model framework also attempts to mirror the framework given for teachers which was introduced several years earlier – coined as the Teacher Growth Model (TGM).

Singapore is, however, not alone in the effort at investing resources to develop and strengthen school leadership in schools. Literature on school leadership is replete with conceptual commentaries and research reports corroborating and purporting the assertion on the importance of school leadership supporting educational reforms. These educational reforms eventually aspire to enhance teaching and learning experiences, and thus to improve student life chances. While this is encouraging, the field of school leadership suffers several weaknesses. First, lack of common agreement to its definitional term. Second, insufficient work on consolidating the myriad adjectival variants of the term (e.g., the potential overlaps between instructional and transformational leadership). Third, lack of consideration in the use of Item Response Theory (e.g., Rasch modelling) to generate sharper estimates to measure the construct/s of leadership and its related variables in the school improvement and effectiveness frame. Fourth, the insufficient use of robust methodological designs and analyses to corroborate evidences that reveal direct and indirect impact on school processes and student learning outcomes (e.g., multilevel modelling). Fifth, the lack of attention on investigating students’ learning growth in the various academic subjects. Sixth, the lack of empirical study investigating students’ non-academic learning outcomes. Finally, the lack of empirical study and theorising of school leadership in non-Western contexts.

In sum, the School Leadership and Organisation research area builds on past and existing research work on school leadership and school organisation. It will centrally explore the impact of school leadership in all its variant forms (e.g., instructional, transformational and distributed) and across different levels (e.g., principal, vice-principal, middle managers, and teacher leaders) on student learning outcomes in both academic and non-academic domains (e.g., 21st century competencies) through its impact on school improvement processes (e.g., culture building, teacher learning, leadership development, curriculum development, organisational development, and partnerships with stakeholders) taking into consideration system level factors (e.g., performance management, school self-evaluation, and cluster structure), and macro national factors (e.g., cultural, social, political, and economic).

This central purpose forms the foundation supporting the objectives of the School Leadership and Organisation research area:

  1. Provision of a coherent overall framework for the programmatic research on the research area
  2. Platform for dialogue and exchange of ideas and information in the research area
  3. Space for collective support among members of the taskforce
  4. Springboard for burgeoning researchers to develop and deepen their research knowledge and skills in the research area
  5. Development of a community of researchers that establishes and deepens the body of knowledge on school leadership in local and international contexts
  6. Partnership with schools in the provision of relevant theoretical lenses and perspectives on school leadership in action
  7. Partnership with educational policymakers in the provision of relevant theoretical lenses and perspectives on educational leadership

List of team members:

List of team members' publications related to the research theme:

  • Jonathan Goh Wee Pin
    • Dimmock, C., & Goh, J. W. P. (2011). Innovative principals’ practices in Singapore: A school system in transition. In J. MacBeath & T. Townsend (Eds.), International Handbook on Leadership for Learning (pp. 225–242), The Netherland: Springer Publishers.
    • Dimmock, C., & Goh, J. W. P. (2011). Transformative pedagogy, leadership and school organization for the 21st century knowledge-based economy: The case of Singapore. School Leadership and Management, 31(3), 215–234. 
    • Goh, J. W. P. (2006). To niche, or not to niche? – A cautionary note on the development of so-called niche areas in Singapore schools. International Studies in Educational Administration, 34(3), 51–62.
    • Goh, J. W. P. (2009). Parallel leadership in an ‘unparallel’ world: Cultural constraints on the transferability of Western educational leadership theories across cultures. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 12(4), 319–345.
    • Goh, J. W. P. (2011). When East and West collide: Applying Western-based work motivation theories in Chinese societies in South East Asia. In D.E. Laouisset (Ed.), Managerial transfer of technology. New York, NY: Nova Science Publishers.
    • Goh, J. W. P., Lee, O. K., & Hairon S. (2009). A comparison of self-ratings of teachers’ and their reporting officers’ teaching and leadership skills across Singapore and Bahrain. International Journal of Educational Research, 48, 258–273.
    • Goh, J. W. P., & Tan, C. H. P. (2009). Developing niche area in schools: Toward the marketization of education in Singapore. The New Educational Review. 18(2), 235–252.
    • Hairon, S., & Goh, J. W. P. (in press). Pursuing the elusive construct of distributed leadership: Is the search over? Educational Management, Administration and Leadership.
    • Hairon, S., Goh, J. W. P., & Lin, T. B. (in press). Distributed leadership to support PLCs in Asian pragmatic Singapore schools. International Journal of Leadership in Education: Theory and Practice.
    • Hairon S., Goh, J. W. P. & Teng, A. K. W. (2014). Professional learning communities in teacher internship programme in Singapore. In J. C. de Mora (Ed.), Practical knowledge in teacher education – Approaches to teacher internship programs. London, UK: Routlege.
  • Hairon Salleh
    • Dimmock, C., Hairon, S., & Tan, C.Y. (in press). Curriculum and leadership in multi-ethnic and multi-faith schools in Singapore: How a secular government proactively shapes the future. In J. Chapman, S. McNamara, M. Reiss & Y. Waghid (Eds.), The international handbook on learning, teaching and leading in faith-based schools. London, UK: Springer.
    • Goh, J. W. P., Lee, O. K., & Hairon, S. (2009). A comparison of self-ratings of teachers’ and their reporting officers’ teaching and leadership skills across Singapore and Bahrain. International Journal Of Educational Research, 48(4), 258–273.
    • Goh, J. W. P., Lee, O. K., & Hairon, S. (2010). Self-rating and respondent snonymity. Educational Research, 52(3), 229–245
    • Hairon, S. (2006). Action research In Singapore education – Constraints and Sustainability. Educational Action Research, 14(4), 513–523.
    • Hairon, S. (2008). Teacher professional development in the TSLN era: Current challenges and future direction. In E. T. Tan, & P. K. Ng (Eds.), Thinking Schools, Learning Nations: Meeting the challenges of globalisation (pp. 87–103). Singapore: Pearson.
    • Hairon, S. (2011). Professional learning communities in Singapore schools: Potentialities and issues. In W. Choy, & C. Tan (Eds.) Education reform in Singapore: Critical perspective (pp. 149–164). Singapore: Pearson.
    • Hairon, S., & Dimmock, C. (2012). Singapore schools and professional learning communities: teacher professional development and school leadership in an Asian hierarchical system. Educational Review, 64(4), 405–424.
    • Hairon. S., & Goh, J. W. P. (in press). Pursuing the elusive construct of distributed leadership: Is the search over? Educational Management, Administration and Leadership.
    • Hairon, S., Goh, J. W. P., & Lin, T. B. (in press). Distributed leadership to support PLCs in Asian pragmatic Singapore schools. International Journal of Leadership in Education.
    • Hairon, S., & Tan, C. (2008). Habermas and teacher leadership through reflection. The New Educational Review, 15, 114–125.
    • Hairon, S., & Goh, J. W. P., & Teng, A. K. W. (in press). Professional learning communities in teacher internship programme in Singapore. In J. Calvo de Mora (Ed.), Practical knowledge in teacher education – Approaches to teacher internship programs. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
    • Tan, C., & Hairon, S. (2011). Negotiating the school curriculum for the Malay Muslims in Singapore. In Z. Bekerman & T. Geisen (Eds.), International Handbook Migration, Minorities, and Education (pp. 543–558). The Netherlands: Springer.
    • Tan, C., & Hairon, S. (2008). Continuing madrasah education In Singapore: Towards teachers as reflective practitioners. Educational Awakening: Journal of the Educational Sciences (Publisher: International Islamic University Malaysia), 81–101.
  • Catherine Chua Siew Kheng
    • Chua, S. K. C. (2009). A new concept of ‘Bilingualism’ for the IT Age. Current Issues in Language Planning, 10(4), 442–455.
    • Chua, S. K. C (2010). Singapore’s language policy and its globalised concept of bi(tri)lingualism. Current Issues in Language Planning, 11(4), 413–429.
    • Chua, S. K. C (2011). Singapore’s E(Si)nglish-knowing bilingualism. Current Issues in Language Planning, 12(2), 1–22.
    • Chua, S. K. C (2014). A new model of bilingualism for Singapore: Multilingualism in the 21st century. In V. Zenotz, J. Cenoz & D. Gorter (Eds.), Minority languages and multilingual education (pp. 65–84). New York, NY: Springer.
    • Chua, S. K. C., & Baldauf, R. B. Jr. (2011). Global language: [De]colonization in the new era. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Handbook of research in second language learning and teaching (Vol. 2; pp. 952–969). New York, NY: Routledge.
    • Chua, S. K. C., & Baldauf, R. B. Jr. (2011). Micro Language Planning. IN Hinkel, E (ED.), Handbook of research in second language learning and teaching (Vol. 2; pp. 936–951). New York, NY: Routledge.
    • Chua, S. K. C., & Choy, K. W. W. (in press). The Singapore education journey: From colonialism to globalism. In C. Joseph. & J. Ravinder (Eds.), Equity, opportunity and education in postcolonial Southeast Asia. New York, NY: Routledge. 

List of projects from this research group:

  1. A Theory-driven Synthesis and Evaluation of NIE Curriculum and Pedagogical Innovation and Reform Research
  2. AcRF RP7/07THP: A Study of the Implementation of a New Curriculum at Madrasah Al-Irsyad Al-Islamiah
  3. Building Cultural Change Capability: Joseph Lau Luen Hung Charitable Trust Asia Pacific Centre for Leadership and Change, Hong Kong
  4. Citibank Grant: Financial Literacy Project
  5. EP 1/04 KS: Parallel Leadership in Singapore
  6. LE RS 11/08 NFS: Impact and Generative/Study on Leaders in Education Programme
  7. LSL 08/06 DN: Distributed Leadership in School ICT Reform
  8. OER 03/10 CD: Leadership and Organizational Change in Singapore Schools: A Baseline Study. Education Research Funding Programme.
  9. OER 14/11 VC: Through the Lens of the School: School-based Curriculum Innovation
  10. OER 14/12 HS: The Impact of Community-based Teacher Learning on Student Learning Outcomes
  11. OER 28/12 DN: Instructional Leadership in Singapore and East Asia
  12. OER 11/13 TPL: PERI Summative Evaluation Follow-up Study (2014): Quantitative Survey
  13. OER 33/12 SA: From the Bottom to the Top: Investigating Learning Strategies and PISA Mathematics and Science Outcomes of Students of Differing Abilities in Singapore
  14. OER 42/12 ISC: Turning Achievement Around: Predictors of Academic Resilience of Academically At-risk Students in Singapore
  15. OER 68/12 SA: Investigating the Effects of Private Supplementary Tutoring on Primary Students’ Academic Achievement, Motivation, Self-concept, and Engagement
  16. OER 6/13 RK: Nurturing Positivity: A Positive Psychology Intervention to Enhance Well-being, Engagement, and Achievement among At-risk Students
  17. OER 7/13 MEM: Asian Pedagogies: Investigating Singapore as a Microcosm
  18. Research Study on implementation of emerging 21st century competencies (21CC)
  19. SUG 5/11 HS: A Case Study of Instructional Leadership Development in a Singapore Primary School
  20. SUG 6/11 HS: The Development Needs of Network Leaders in Singapore
  21. SUG TIMSS 2011: Secondary Analysis of Mathematics Data
  22. SUG 22/13 RK: Synthesizing the Evidence on Positive Education: A Narrative Review and a Meta-analysis
  23. The Implementation of a Broad-based, Inquiry-oriented International Curriculum within a Singaporean Senior School Context: Transitional Experiences, Challenges and Enablers