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School Transformation under Educational Reform - A Case Study of Chinese High School

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Abstract:

Statement of Purpose
This is a case study which explores how the principal transforms a high school in Beijing, China and holds school accountable under Chinese education reform since 2001 mainly adopting school organizational theory (Bryk, et.al., 2010), and collective sense-making theory( Coburn, 2006). From Leithwood (2007) and Spillane (2001), leadership is essential for building an effective school to maximize student learning. The key is a leader’s ability to inspire teachers, parents, school community leaders and students around a common mission of school success, to supervise and support instructional practice and to create positive climate for both teacher and student learning (Hallinger, 2005). School is an organization that is composed with four essential support elements (Bryk, et.al, 2010), and the leader is central to hold people accountable around the other four elements. The purpose of this paper is to adopt organizational theory about school systems to explore how the principal works with people collaboratively to improve student learning by emphasizing curriculum and instruction, teacher professional development, school-centered learning climate, and parent-community involvement.
Theoretical Framework
Bryk and his colleagues (2010) in their longitudinal research on Chicago public schools claim the school is an organizational system in which leadership works as the drive to promote school improvement in concert with four other essential support elements that are instructional emphasis, teacher professional community, student-centered learning climate and parents-school-community ties. This paper embraces their theory as the framework to explore how one school in China under the challenge of national reform could react to align with the standard and promote school improvement. Meanwhile, Coburn (2001) puts forth a model of collective sense making that focuses on the ways teachers co-construct understandings of policy messages, make decisions about which messages to pursue in their classrooms, and negotiate the technical and practical details of implementation in conversations with their colleagues. Collective sense making argue that sense making is not solely an individual action in the organization; rather, it is the collective dynamic in the sense that is rooted in social interaction and share of knowledge among the people.
Research Method and Data Source:
This research is an exploratory case study which will analyze how the school is lead to successfully renovate under the national education reform with the focus on four school sub-systems. Qualitative interviews were conducted with the principal, two leadership team members and three teachers on their daily routines, school structure, teacher professional development, community ties and reaction towards reform. Data were also collected from their school website about the school mission, instructional practice, professional learning community, student involvement in community etc. relating to school sub-systems proposed by Bryk (2010) and collective sense making by Coburn (2001). All the data collected were coded into categories accordingly for analysis.
Findings and Conclusion:
The data demonstrated that the leader has to develop an explicit and all-inclusive vision, as well as a far-reaching and reliable plan for school direction and development. It is essential for the principal to work dedicatedly and collectively to build school community with all the teachers and work cooperatively on curriculum and instructional practice. To build a successful school, seeking reliable community support and parent active involvement is vital for instructional improvement and student comprehensive development; Moreover, the leader has to spend significant time on school curriculum, direct classroom supervision and working with teachers on the school’s instructional program, solving instructional problems, helping teachers secure resources, and providing staff professional development opportunity to help teacher learn and improve their instructional quality. It is not sufficient to promote deep-rooted reform unless the leader works to motivate all the leadership team, teachers, parents, community and students around the same goal to achieve school success.
As competing value leadership (Cameron et.al., 2006) argues, the leader may put their effort and resources equally to four quadrant- collaboration, hierarchical control, competition and creation, or they might consciously emphasize on one aspect at one time then shift to another when situation changes. Different leaders may have various leadership styles, but they must be fully aware that school is an organization with sub-systems for them to address simultaneously with cooperation and support from teachers for school success. Since NCLB, the school leader is under the pressure to hold school accountable, this study of Chinese school might be significant for the leaders to learn how they could lead school transform successfully and work collectively with people to build the school a better place for both adult and student learning.
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Association:
Name: Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference
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Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p717486_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Liu, Yan. "School Transformation under Educational Reform - A Case Study of Chinese High School" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Mar 10, 2014 <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p717486_index.html>

APA Citation:

Liu, Y. , 2014-03-10 "School Transformation under Educational Reform - A Case Study of Chinese High School" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p717486_index.html

Publication Type: Poster
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Statement of Purpose
This is a case study which explores how the principal transforms a high school in Beijing, China and holds school accountable under Chinese education reform since 2001 mainly adopting school organizational theory (Bryk, et.al., 2010), and collective sense-making theory( Coburn, 2006). From Leithwood (2007) and Spillane (2001), leadership is essential for building an effective school to maximize student learning. The key is a leader’s ability to inspire teachers, parents, school community leaders and students around a common mission of school success, to supervise and support instructional practice and to create positive climate for both teacher and student learning (Hallinger, 2005). School is an organization that is composed with four essential support elements (Bryk, et.al, 2010), and the leader is central to hold people accountable around the other four elements. The purpose of this paper is to adopt organizational theory about school systems to explore how the principal works with people collaboratively to improve student learning by emphasizing curriculum and instruction, teacher professional development, school-centered learning climate, and parent-community involvement.
Theoretical Framework
Bryk and his colleagues (2010) in their longitudinal research on Chicago public schools claim the school is an organizational system in which leadership works as the drive to promote school improvement in concert with four other essential support elements that are instructional emphasis, teacher professional community, student-centered learning climate and parents-school-community ties. This paper embraces their theory as the framework to explore how one school in China under the challenge of national reform could react to align with the standard and promote school improvement. Meanwhile, Coburn (2001) puts forth a model of collective sense making that focuses on the ways teachers co-construct understandings of policy messages, make decisions about which messages to pursue in their classrooms, and negotiate the technical and practical details of implementation in conversations with their colleagues. Collective sense making argue that sense making is not solely an individual action in the organization; rather, it is the collective dynamic in the sense that is rooted in social interaction and share of knowledge among the people.
Research Method and Data Source:
This research is an exploratory case study which will analyze how the school is lead to successfully renovate under the national education reform with the focus on four school sub-systems. Qualitative interviews were conducted with the principal, two leadership team members and three teachers on their daily routines, school structure, teacher professional development, community ties and reaction towards reform. Data were also collected from their school website about the school mission, instructional practice, professional learning community, student involvement in community etc. relating to school sub-systems proposed by Bryk (2010) and collective sense making by Coburn (2001). All the data collected were coded into categories accordingly for analysis.
Findings and Conclusion:
The data demonstrated that the leader has to develop an explicit and all-inclusive vision, as well as a far-reaching and reliable plan for school direction and development. It is essential for the principal to work dedicatedly and collectively to build school community with all the teachers and work cooperatively on curriculum and instructional practice. To build a successful school, seeking reliable community support and parent active involvement is vital for instructional improvement and student comprehensive development; Moreover, the leader has to spend significant time on school curriculum, direct classroom supervision and working with teachers on the school’s instructional program, solving instructional problems, helping teachers secure resources, and providing staff professional development opportunity to help teacher learn and improve their instructional quality. It is not sufficient to promote deep-rooted reform unless the leader works to motivate all the leadership team, teachers, parents, community and students around the same goal to achieve school success.
As competing value leadership (Cameron et.al., 2006) argues, the leader may put their effort and resources equally to four quadrant- collaboration, hierarchical control, competition and creation, or they might consciously emphasize on one aspect at one time then shift to another when situation changes. Different leaders may have various leadership styles, but they must be fully aware that school is an organization with sub-systems for them to address simultaneously with cooperation and support from teachers for school success. Since NCLB, the school leader is under the pressure to hold school accountable, this study of Chinese school might be significant for the leaders to learn how they could lead school transform successfully and work collectively with people to build the school a better place for both adult and student learning.


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