A distributed perspective on middle leadership in IB continuum schools in North-East Asia (2019)

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Darren Bryant, Allan Walker, Yiu Lun Wong, Anthony Adames and Kokila Katyal

Growth mindsetThis study aims to enhance understanding of mid-level (“middle”) leadership in four International Baccalaureate (IB) continuum schools from a distributed leadership perspective. In IB World Schools, middle leaders can include programme coordinators, subject area coordinators, cross-school leaders or grade-level leaders. Data for this study were derived from interviews and focus groups, documents, observations and surveys. Additionally, four comparative case studies were conducted at continuum schools in Hong Kong, China, South Korea and Japan. The findings indicated that middle leaders collectively account for the largest proportion of leadership activities within schools. Given their potential roles in programme implementation, pedagogical improvement and innovation, it is important for schools to develop middle leaders through coaching, professional development, mentoring and appraisal systems. Researchers found that membership in a consortium or network of schools tended to enhance the impact of middle leaders beyond their own school. Lastly, unique aspects of IB programmes can broaden the scope of opportunities for middle leadership.

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