Journal of East China Normal University(Educational Sciences) ›› 2022, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (2): 114-126.doi: 10.16382/j.cnki.1000-5560.2022.02.009

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Educational Leadership Reform and Teachers’ Professional Development from the Perspective of “the Fourth Way”: Theoretical Approach and Practical Pattern

Gang Zhu1, Shirley Dennis2   

  1. 1. Institute of International and Comparative Education, East China Normal University, Shanghai, 200062, China
    2. Lynch School of Education and Human Development, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
  • Online:2022-02-01 Published:2022-01-21


Amid the global education reform movement dominated by neoliberalism, the internationally-renowned education reform and teacher education scholar Professor Dennis Shirley and his colleagues proposed the “Fourth Way” aimed at promoting sustainable development, innovation and inclusive global education reform. At present, the “Fourth Way” reform model has been implemented in countries such as Finland and South Korea. In response to a series of new imperatives in educational reforms, Dennis Shirley considered “leading from the middle” and community organizing as breakthrough points for the new reform model. In view of the importance of teacher education in the global education reform, Dennis Shirley proposed the concept of mindful teachers and explored the five types of professional capital that need to be developed in teacher education, namely human capital, social capital, decisional capital, moral capital and symbolic capital. At the same time, Dennis Shirley also pays attention to the well-beings of teachers and the different kinds of teacher culture in the context of educational reform. In response to the global issues faced by human being, such as the new coronavirus pandemic and climate change, Dennis Shirley called for more cross-cultural dialogues and exchanges to address these challenges. Scholars at home and abroad have conducted in-depth academic dialogue on the theoretical approach and practical patterns on the above issues, in order to show the reform of educational leadership and teacher professional development from the perspective of “the global fourth way”.

Key words: the global fourth way, leading from the middle, community organizing, professional capital, teacher culture