Looking ahead: The potential of curriculum leadership by middle leaders
The various chapters in this book have been attempts to unpack the complex construct of curriculum leadership, particularly in relation to the unique role of the heads of departments or middle leaders. We contend that Middle Leadership is a realm of leadership in schools that has not been given its due recognition, and that curriculum leadership by heads of departments needs to be understood as a distinct construct, and not merely perceived as a sum of its constituent components (i.e., combining definitions of curriculum and leadership). Many of the authors in this book (particularly Hairon et al. in Chapter 2, Mardiana and Lim in Chapter 3, Ratnam-Lim in Chapter 4 and Leong in Chapter 7) point out that the work of curriculum leadership cannot be accomplished by merely “copying and pasting” from theories or instructional models usually conceived in Western contexts, but requires the middle leaders in the school context to exercise active professional discretion in decision-making. The empirical studies cited in this book (particularly in Chapters 2, 3 and 10), however, indicate that middle leaders tended to be diffident about exercising curriculum leadership. This could partly be due to lack of clarity around the role and identity of “Middle Leadership”.