Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine how instructional leadership, a concept imported
from Western scholarship, has been conceptualized in the Taiwanese context and how principal
instructional leadership is realized in schools. The development trajectory of principal instructional
leadership is delineated by examining empirical studies in the past two decades.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper adopts an exploratory approach to review the
Taiwanese empirical literature on principal instructional leadership. A total of 80 studies were
systematically analyzed and common themes were identified.
Findings – This paper finds that a hybrid model of the conceptualization of instructional leadership
has been developed in Taiwan. Principals performed more indirect than direct leadership behaviors.
A gap exists between the ideal instructional leader and the reality.
Research limitations/implications – The development of a formal theory of instructional
leadership is expected as various substantive theories are developed and more data are accumulated.
To yield the desired outcome of knowledge acceleration, the coordination of research efforts across
scholars and institutions is a must.
Practical implications – The articles reviewed suggest less effort spent by principals on the
teachers. Yet with a national promotion of teacher learning community, as well as cooperative and
collaborative learning in recent years, principal instructional leadership behaviors are expected to rise
in terms of ensuring instruction quality and professional development.
Originality/value – This paper is an attempt to accumulate knowledge about principal instructional
leadership in Taiwan. It is a contribution to the exploration of indigenous perspectives and practices
and the understanding and building of educational leadership in Asia.
Journal of Educational Administration 53(4), p.492-511