Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

A study of primary school heads’ perceptions of the new Moral and Civic Education (MCE) curriculum of 2001 and the implications for its implementation in Hong Kong

By Wing-hung Cheung


The research studies school heads’ perception of the implementation of the new Moral and Civic Education (MCE) curriculum in Hong Kong primary schools. The MCE curriculum is positioned as a key task in curriculum reform since 2001. The present study recognises school leadership role in steering curriculum delivery in which school heads’ perception is one of the determinants in shaping curriculum execution.\ud Qualitative approach is adopted to uncover the factors affecting the perception of school heads and subsequent implementation strategies. Purposive sampling of six primary school heads is identified for interview to collect data. Content analysis is employed to make inferences from the data reviewing how school heads’ personal belief and values orientation affect the delivery of the curriculum. The MCE curriculum, resting on virtue ethics projecting desirable values to be promoted, is appealing to the school heads. The MCE curriculum designed as values education, resonates Chinese culture emphasizing cultivation of virtue through education while at the same time addressing the societal expectation of the call for promoting national identity with the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997. Given the social and political context of Hong Kong, positive attitude is exhibited by all the sample school heads but they respond differently to the curricular role, reflecting a wide spectrum of understanding of the curriculum and pedagogical competency. The research findings propose the importance of a heightened awareness of school heads’ cognition of the curriculum but their attitude towards the curriculum is deterministic how the curriculum is implemented. The attitude taken hinges on the values and belief of school heads vis a vis organisation values of the school. A model portraying school heads’ awareness, attitude and action for curriculum implementation is recommended to further study school leadership with implications for theory building and practice

Topics: school leadership, values and valuation, virtue ethics, perception, curricular leadership, values education, Moral and Civic Education curriculum
Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2011
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (1993). (eds) Greenfield on Educational Administration: Towards a Humane Science, London: Routledge, (quoted in The Values of educational administration edited by
  2. (1989). A Changing Social and Education Context in
  3. (1994). A Daoist Theory of Chinese Thought: A Philosophical Interpretation,
  4. (1997). A First Look at Communication Theory,
  5. (1988). A Position in Transition?
  6. (2000). A review of two decades of research on the principalship using the Principal Instructional Management Rating Scale. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association,
  7. (1984). A typology of operant values in school administration.
  8. (1992). a) School leadership development: evaluating a decade of reform,
  9. (1996). Administrative
  10. (1965). Administrative Behaviour, 2nd ed.
  11. (1997). Administrative Philosophy: Values and Motivations in Administrative Life,
  12. (1985). Aims, Values and Education,
  13. (1989). Allowing the principal to provide instructional leadership,
  14. (1984). Alternative Perspectives on School Improvement,
  15. (2004). Approaches to Qualitative Research: A Reader on Theory and Practice (Oxford:
  16. (1985). Assessing the instructional leadership behavior of principals,
  17. (2002). Australian education policy: An Introduction to Critical Thinking for Teachers and Parents (2nd ed) Katoomba, NSW:
  18. (1990). Basic Content Analysis,
  19. (1983). Becoming critical: Knowing through Action Research.,
  20. (2000). Building a New Structure for School Leadership,
  21. (1998). Building Leadership Capacity in Schools,
  22. (2003). Centering Educational Administration: Cultivating Meaning,
  23. (1999). Changing Leadership for Changing Times,
  24. (2001). Character Education: A Guide for school Administrators, Lanham MD:
  25. (1991). Character,
  26. (2002). Citizenship - Bernard Crick: Citizenship must begin to replace ethos in the classroom in The Independent Friday,
  27. (1991). Civic Education for Positive Pluralism
  28. (1988). Civic Education for Positive Pluralism. Working Paper presented to the Conference on Education for Citizenship in Multi-Ethnic Societies,
  29. (1998). Codebook Development for Team-based qualitative analysis quoted in Krippendorff,
  30. (1993). Cognition, Values and Organisational Structure : Hodgkinson in perspective,
  31. (2004). Competing Paradigms in Qualitative Research
  32. (1994). Competing Paradigms in Qualitative Research,
  33. (2005). Conceptualizing Research in Educational Leadership,
  34. (1998). Conditions fostering organizational learning in schools,
  35. (1992). Constructive activity learning from text,
  36. (1993). Constructivist Assessment: A Casebook,
  37. (1969). Content Analysis for Social Sciences and Humanities,
  38. (2004). Content Analysis: An Introduction to Its Methodology, 2nd Edition,
  39. (1990). Curriculum: Perspectives and practice,
  40. (2001). D.C. Principal’s training designed to boost instructional leadership,
  41. (1993). Defining the Principalship: Instructional Leader of Middle Manager,
  42. (1916). Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education,
  43. (1995). Developing Democratic Education, Ticknall, Derbyshire: Education Now Publishing Cooperative.
  44. (1992). Developing expert leadership for future schools.
  45. (1989). Developing instructional leadership teams in secondary schools: A framework,
  46. (1996). Dilemmas for School Leaders and Administrators in Restructuring, In
  47. (2003). Distributive leadership: Full report available at :
  48. (1998). Does Professional Community Affect the Classroom?
  49. (2005). Doing Qualitative Research: A Practical Handbook 2nd Edition. London :
  50. (2007). Early Confucian Ethics Concepts and Arguments,
  51. editors (2008) The Content Analysis Reader,
  52. (1977). Education and Education of Teachers,
  53. (1988). Education and the Moral Emotions’
  54. (1981). Education for justice: A Modern Statement of the Socratic View’ .
  55. (2000). Educational Administration : Concepts and Practices,
  56. (1994). Educational Administration : Inquiry, Values and Practice,
  57. (1992). Educational Administration: Intellectual trends,
  58. (2002). Educational leadership : Taking Account of Complex Global and Cultural Contexts
  59. (1991). Educational leadership : the Moral Art.
  60. (1990). Educational Leadership and Academic Achievement
  61. (1995). Educational Psychology: Principles and Applications,
  62. (1979). Effective Schools for the Urban Poor,
  63. (1996). Empowerment in four primary schools: they don’t really care,
  64. (1986). Entirely on school based approach Code (R) Perceived role as SH Descriptions RHR Role of school head as education professional Perceived role of SH; leadership or managerial role ( running “a smooth ship’ (Leithwood and Montgomery,
  65. (2002). Espoused values of organizations,
  66. (1980). Essay on Aristotle’s Ethics,
  67. (2008). Ethical Educational Leadership in Turbulent Times, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  68. (2001). Ethical Leadership and decision making in education Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  69. (1996). Ethical Leadership,
  70. (1999). Examining educational purposes and underlying value orientations in schools
  71. (1996). Exploring Educational Administration,
  72. (2007). Fun
  73. (2001). Globalisation and the UK Competition State: No Room for Transformational Leadership in Education?
  74. (2001). Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet, Basic Books.
  75. (1990). Grounded Theory Research: Procedures,
  76. (1999). Habituation and Training in Early Moral Upbringing
  77. (1974). Handbook of Leadership: A Survey of Theory and Research,
  78. (2002). Hong Kong Principals’ Dilemmas, Basic Management and Consequence
  79. (1992). Human Rights Education,
  80. (1990). Hume and Moral Emotions
  81. I.L and Santora J.C.(1999) Leadership and values: Australian executives and the balance of power, profits and people,
  82. (1999). Implementation of shared governance for instructional improvement: Principals’ Perspective,
  83. (1986). Improving Principal effectiveness: The Principal Profile,
  84. (1993). Instructional leadership in primary and secondary schools in Western Australia,
  85. (2006). Interpreting Qualitative Data: Methods for Analyzing Talk, text and Interaction, 3rd Edition.
  86. (1998). Introduction to Social Research: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches. London : Sage Punch, M
  87. (1994). Introduction: Entering the field of qualitative research.
  88. (2000). Introduction: Justifying a Cross-cultural Comparative Approach
  89. (2006). John Dewey and the Idea of Experimentalism, Education and Culture,
  90. (2004). Keynote address, first National Forum on Values Education,
  91. (1987). Knowledge and Teaching: Foundations of the New Reform in
  92. (1984). Leadership and excellence in schooling,
  93. (1999). Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World, Berrett-Koehler,
  94. (1995). Leadership as an Organizational Quality,
  95. (1994). Leadership by design:
  96. (1994). Leadership for school restructuring,
  97. (2001). Leadership grant aimed at schools in South,
  98. (2002). Leadership in Organizations, Fifth Edition, Upper Saddle River,
  99. (1989). Leadership Myths and Realities,
  100. (2002). Leadership,
  101. (2002). Leadership, restructuring and organisational outcomes,
  102. (2003). Leading Educational Change: reflections on the practice of instructional and transformational leadership,
  103. (2000). Learning and teaching about values : A review of recent research,
  104. (1989). Manger and Instructional Leader: A Precision Balancing Act,
  105. (1982). Means and Ends in Education, London: George Allen and Unwin.
  106. (1999). Moral and Ethical Dilemmas in Catholic School Settings.
  107. (1996). Moral Leadership: Getting to the Heart of School Improvement,
  108. (2004). Moral values and the Arts in Environmental Education: Towards an Ethics of Aesthetic Appreciation,
  109. (1992). Morality and the Emotions,
  110. (2003). N.Y.C. Chancellor Aims to Bolster Instructional Leadership,
  111. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry,
  112. (2002). Neuendorf (
  113. (1992). New settings and changing norms for principal development, The Urban Review,
  114. (1999). Next Generation Methods for the Study of Leadership and School Improvement
  115. (1960). On Education, quoted
  116. (1986). On Sheep and Goats and School Reform,
  117. (1998). Organization, Market and Community as Strategies for Change: What Works Best for Deep Changes
  118. (2000). Paradigmaic controversies, contradictions and emerging confluences
  119. (1999). Preface, ix-xvi in The Values of Educational Administration edited by
  120. (2000). Principal and teacher leader effects: a replication,
  121. (1990). Principal instructional leadership and school achievement: validation of a causal model,
  122. (1990). Principal self-renewal through the visiting practioner role,
  123. (1992). Principals as instructional supervisors,
  124. (1965). Problems in Education: A Comparative Approach, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, quoted in School Leadership and Administration edited by
  125. (2005). Promoting Active Citizenship in Schools and Communities in England: Emerging Lessons from Policy,
  126. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks,
  127. (1990). Qualitative Evaluation and Research Methods, 2nd Edition.
  128. (2005). Qualitative Research in Counseling Psychology: A Primer on Research Paradigms and Philosophy of Science.
  129. (2001). Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences 4th Edition. London : Allyn and Bacon.
  130. R.(1991) Components of chief education officers; problems solving strategies,
  131. (1996). Reassessing the principal’s role in school effectiveness: a review of empirical research, 1980–1995,
  132. (1992). Reframing Organizations,
  133. (2009). Research Design : Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches, Sage Publication.
  134. (2003). Research Design Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches,
  135. (2000). Research Methods
  136. Research-based Character Education,
  137. (1990). School goals, principals and achievement,
  138. (2003). School Leader Development: Current Trends from a Global Perspective in:
  139. (1997). School Leadership: Some Key Ideas,
  140. (1999). Self-regarding and Other-regarding Virtues
  141. (1996). So You Think Team Leadership is Easy? Training and Implementation Concerns,
  142. (1977). Social Learning Theory. Englewood Cliffs,
  143. (2004). Social Research Methods, 2nd edition,
  144. (1983). Sour Grapes: Studies in the Subversion of Rationality,
  145. (2002). Starting at Home: Caring and Social Policy,
  146. (1998). Supervision: A redefinition (6th ed.).
  147. (1969). Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and Method,
  148. (1999). The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader,
  149. (1943). The Abolition of Man,
  150. (1992). The Alternative Paradigm,
  151. (1996). The Analects – Confucius,
  152. (2002). The Change Leader,
  153. (2009). The Content Analysis Reader,
  154. (1991). The Educational Imagination,
  155. (1990). The Effective Elementary School Principal, Palm Springs:
  156. (1998). The Essential Communitarian Reader,
  157. (1992). The Evolving Role of American Principals: From Managerial to Instructional to Transformational Leaders,
  158. (1966). The General Inquirer: A computer approach to content analysis,
  159. (2002). The heart and soul of leadership: The personal journey,
  160. (2001). The influence of leadership style on teacher job satisfaction,
  161. (1990). The influence of values on school administrators,
  162. (1994). The Leadership Paradox: Balancing Logic and Artistry in Schools,
  163. (1997). The Middle Level Principalshi,
  164. (1997). The Moral sense,
  165. (1992). The Move Toward Transformational Leadership, Educational Leadership,
  166. (2008). The nature and specialized purposes of Educational leadership 21-41
  167. (1973). The Nature of Human Values,
  168. (2001). The New Meaning of Educational Change,
  169. (1983). The Philosophy of Leadership,
  170. (1999). The Practice of Jen,
  171. (1959). The Presentation of Shelf in Everyday Life,
  172. (2003). The Principal's Companion, Thousand Oaks,
  173. (1996). The Principal’s Role in School Effectiveness: A Review of Methodological Issues,
  174. (1991). The Principalship: A Reflective Practice Perspective,
  175. (1983). The Reconstruction of Patriotism,
  176. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professional think in action,
  177. (1982). The role of the elementary principal in program improvement,
  178. (1915). The School and Society,
  179. (2000). The School Improvement Journey: Perspectives on Leadership,
  180. (1986). The social context of effective schools,
  181. (1993). The Spirit of Community Rights, Responsibilities, and the Communitarian Agenda,
  182. (1970). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 2nd ed.,
  183. (1998). The Values of School Administration: Preferences, Ethics and Conflicts,
  184. (1999). The Virtue Approach to Moral Education
  185. (1987). Thinking through Confucius,
  186. (2003). Toward a Conceptual Framework for Leadership Inquiry,
  187. (1995). Toward a Theory of School Administration: The centrality of Leadership,
  188. (1991). Toward a theory of school leadership, Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association,
  189. (1999). Transformational leadership effects: a replication,
  190. (1992). Transformational leadership: Where does it stand?
  191. (1979). Understanding Human Values, New York : The Free Press Rorty, Amélie O.
  192. (2004). Understanding Valuation Processes: Exploring the Linkage between Motivation and Action,
  193. (1987). Use, but don't abuse, the principles of instructional effectiveness,
  194. (2000). Value Pluralism, Democracy and Education for Citizenship in Poliics, Education and Citizenship edited by
  195. (1987). Values and decision making in educational administration.
  196. (2007). Values and Ethics in Educational Administration,
  197. (1999). Values and Valuation : A Naturalistic Inquiry
  198. (1951). Values and value-orientations in the theory of action: An exploration in definition and classification, in Parsons, T and Shils, E. (eds) Towards a General Theory of Action,
  199. (1996). Variations in values orientations in the implementation of multi-grades: Implications for Moral Leadership,
  200. (1998). Virtue: Confucius and Aristotle, Philosophy East and West:
  201. (1990). Virtues, Character and Moral Dispositions in Virtue Ethics and Moral
  202. (1991). W.D.(1987a,) Day-to-day administrative behaviour in schools, Paper Association, Washington, D.C. Greenfield, W.D.(1987b,), Role demands of the principalship: Implications for principal preparation and selection,
  203. (2002). What Do You Call People with Visions? The role of vision, mission and goals in school improvement,
  204. (1998). What Teachers, Parents, Governors and Pupils Want from Their Heads?,
  205. (2003). What We know About Successful School Leadership, a Report by Division A of AERA, National College for School Leadership,
  206. (1998). What’s worth fighting for out there? Canada: Ontario Public School Teachers' Federation.
  207. (1956). When Prophecy Fails,

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.