Assignment 2 Part B – Reflective critical analysis

In my initial thoughts on leadership (Harcourt, March 9, 2015) I lamented that I had been so preoccupied with library management, that I had not even thought about my role in terms of leadership in my school. After nearly completing this unit I have made the mental shift to understanding I have huge potential to become a leader in my school and to have a great impact on my students learning through developing literacy programs, developing a collaborative culture in the school to embed twenty first century skills into the curriculum and working towards transforming my library physical space to align with modern pedagogy requirements.

As mentioned in my blog post (Harcourt, May 11, 2015) as I am new to the library I identify with the contribution of Adrienne Matteson in School Libraries: What’s now, what’s next, what comes after (2011) titled ‘New’. She writes that she is observing, collecting information about her colleagues and library procedures. She is making note of how the students access the collection and what is popular and where there are holes in resources. I feel that this is what I have been doing, and in particular focusing on the manual labour of shelving, covering, acquiring new titles and weeding. This unit has shaped my understanding of what my role in the school should be. I realise that I need to create opportunities to be in classrooms, working with teachers and students to navigate the information they have have at their fingertips, and to be introducing new technology tools that facilitate learning.

In order to be a leader I know I must be a life-long learner who reflects on my practice and commits to ongoing personal professional development. As stated in MacBeath & Dempster (2009, p.32) , “Leaders need to learn and leaders learn as they lead”. As mentioned in my blog post (Harcourt, April 13, 2015) the revising of prominent learning theories was instantly beneficial to my teaching. In addition to this I have found inspiration in the readings particularly in relation to my developing understanding of how technology plays such a role in defining the TL position and responsibilities, and how the web 2.0 is changing pedagogy and the future possibilities.

In response I have opened a Twitter account and started to follow leaders in the field and institutions recommended to me, I have begun to experiment with ScoopIt in curating materials, with help from my ICT technician my library now has Flickr, Pinterest and Instagram accounts, and I have ambitions to create some Library Guides in the near future to create an online presence in our school for the library and its services and resources. I have been using Diigo and thinking about ways that I can incorporate wikispaces to foster collaboration with my students. Suddenly I feel I am starting to get connected to the 21st century – and am feeling positive that I am on the right track to make my library relevant and recognised as the centre of school learning in the school.

While creating accounts is fun and feeling connected is good – I realise that I still need to focus my energies on HOW these tools can help me to connect with my students and HOW they enhance student learning. For now these advancements play a role in my personal learning journey and continuous learning and development of digital literacy, applications to learning will come with time as I become my competent.

I also understand that part of my role is to bridge the gap between student experience of digital media and literacy at home and in school in order to become more relevant and authentic. As O’Connell (O’Connell, 2012, p. 5) states school libraries have a role to play in modern interactive knowledge environments and if they adapt to the digital needs of their students they can successfully provide ‘motivation, differentiation, collaboration and connections necessary for 21st learning’. The library collection is no longer defined by its physical space – I must work towards creating a library presence that is portable and accessible anytime, anywhere. This could also enable a collaborative approach to collection development where students become stakeholders in the process – application such as Shelfari and Goodreads are on my radar. This unit has also reaffirmed my understanding that is it my job to guide my students to be responsible and valuable digital contributors by understanding their digital footprint and other aspects to digital citizenry.

I really like the quote: ‘collaborate; advocate; educate; innovate’ from the youtube clip School Library Leadership: Leading Libraries into the Future (MansfieldUniveristy, 2011). It does encompass my growing understanding of the TL role and how I can make my teaching practice matter and successfully lead change through building and maintaining relationships, as this is the key factor that determines how successful a leader will be in leading change (Winzenried, 2010, p. 45).

This unit has refined my definition of what a leader is. I love the idea of ‘Leading from the middle’ as described in Coatney (Coatney, 2010). This style of leadership using social influence, where leadership is not a position but a process sits well with me. While my ideas on the ideal transformational leader in my first blog post (Harcourt, March 9, 2015) have not really changed, what has changed is that now I think it can apply to me.

References

Coatney, S. (2010). Leadership from the middle: Building influence for change. The many faces of school library leadership (pp. 1-12). Santa Barbara, Calif.: Libraries Unlimited.

Harcourt, C. (April 13, 2015). Assignment 1 part b: reflective critical anlaysis [Blog post]. from https://harcourtc.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/assignment-1-part-b-reflective-critical-analysis/

Harcourt, C. (March 9, 2015). My initial thoughts on leadership [Blog post]. from https://harcourtc.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/blog-post-1-my-thoughts-on-leadership/

Harcourt, C. (May 11, 2015). Reflection on Module 6-7 – Learning without frontiers…[Blog post]. from https://harcourtc.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/reflection-on-module-6-7-learning-without-frontiers/

MacBeath, J. E., & Dempster, N. (2009). Leadership for learning. Connecting leadership and learning: Principles for practice (pp. 32-52). London: Routledge.

Mansfield Univeristy (Producer). (2011, 18 October). School library leadership: Leading libraries into the future. [Video File] Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RzmrhDmjeQ&feature=youtu.be

O’Connell, J. (2012). Learning without frontiers: School libraries and meta-literacy in action. Access, 26(1), 4-7.

School Libraries: What’s Now, What’s Next, What’s Yet to Come (2011). K. Fontichiaro, & Hamilton, B (Ed.) Retrieved from http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/96705

Winzenried, A. (2010). Visionary leaders for information. Towards an organisational theory for information professionals. (pp. 1-58). Wagga Wagga NSW: Centre for Information Studies: Charles Sturt University.

Reflection on Module 6-7 – Learning without frontiers…

Reading the material in Module 6 and 7 in recent days and preparing for the final assignment in this unit has contributed to me feeling very overwhelmed by the task of becoming a teacher librarian! I have found the readings very interesting and inspiring, particularly in relation to my developing understanding of how technology plays such a role in defining the TL position and responsibilities, and how the web 2.0 is changing pedagogy and the future possibilities.

What has become obvious to me as my understanding of the TL leadership role is being clarified is that I must move from being a library manager to a facilitator of learning using collaboration with students and teachers as a vehicle to embed all forms of literacy in the curriculum.

I identified with the contribution of Adrienne Matteson in School Libraries: What’s now, what’s next, what comes after (2011) titled ‘New’. She writes that she is observing, collecting information about her colleagues and library procedures. She is making note of how the students access the collection and what is popular and where there are holes in resources. As I too am new to the library this year, I feel that this is what I have been doing, and in particular focusing on the manual labour of shelving, covering, acquiring new titles and weeding. I realise that I need to create opportunities to be in classrooms, working with teachers and students to navigate the information they have have at their fingertips, and to be introducing new technology tools that facilitate learning.

This post itself reflects that my thinking is not yet clear, however, this unit is defining what my role should be and what I should aspire to.

References

School Libraries: What’s Now, What’s Next, What’s Yet to Come (2011). K. Fontichiaro, & Hamilton, B (Ed.) Retrieved from http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/96705

Assignment 1 part b: Reflective critical analysis

This assignment has helped foster ideas for me to develop leadership in my school through the delivery of information services to our school community. Prior to taking on this unit I admit I had never really thought or known about leadership theories or change management as a process that can be carefully executed. I have found it very useful to engage with these and now have a deeper understanding of leadership as a dynamic process and a result of the complex interactions that can happen in a school (Avolio, Walumbwa, & Weber, 2009).

Previously I think my thoughts on leadership were more focussed around a definition of management. I now understand that leadership can appear at any level of the school hierarchy and is most powerful when shared. The quote from Sergiovanni (2005, p.95), “Wise leaders try to rely on others and build upon their leadership capacity”, has resonated with me and I feel empowered by the realisation that the teacher librarian in a school is well positioned to take on a leadership role.

Reflecting upon my practice during this unit I realised that I do show leadership in decision making in the TL position already in areas such as resourcing the curriculum and (currently) developing policies. I have identified that I need to now make myself part of the overall decision process that will affect my library, such as belonging to more committees, such as the ICT committee, and I understand that I can show leadership by implementing such things as inquiry learning scope and sequence across the school, take initiative to demonstrate and implement staff PD of new technology/web tools and sharing of new resources, creating a digital literacy program and being more proactive to collaborate with teachers to implement it in units of work, and generally participate and contribute to planning meetings and other initiatives in the school.

As mentioned in Collay (2011) creating and sustaining collaboration is powerful and a necessary form of leadership. What has become very obvious to me is that our school library is not using best practice in regards to adopting 21st century learning culture of inquiry. My hope is that armed with some tools from this unit I can begin to create a collaborative culture and to begin to manage change in our school library to benefit all of our school community and to create a library that enables 21st century skills to be developed.

The TL should be a trusted and valuable resource for staff and students who can change their leadership style to suit the context, task and purpose (Marzano, McNulty, & Waters, 2005). In order to be useful I know I must be a life-long learner who reflects on my practice and commits to ongoing personal professional development. As stated in MacBeath & Dempster (2009, p.32), “Leaders need to learn and leaders learn as they lead”. With this in mind I actually enjoyed reminding myself of prominent pedagogy theories during this unit and feel it has benefitted me already in my teaching.

While I am hesitant to say that I will be a transformational leader, I would like to be, and the fact that I have learned some tools to achieve this has affirmed my position and excited me to create a vision for the future for my library and our school.

References

Avolio, B. J., Walumbwa, F. O., & Weber, T. J. (2009). Leadership: current theories, research, and future directions. Annu Rev Psychol, 60, 421-449. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.60.110707.163621

Collay, M. (2011). Teaching is leading. Everyday teacher leadership: Taking action where you are (pp. 75-108). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Marzano, R. J., McNulty, B. A., & Waters, T. (2005). School Leadership that Works: From Research to Results (pp. 13-27). Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Leading Change – Tapscott’s open leadership model for change

Don Tapscott (TED, 2012) outlines 4 principles of an open leadership model for the future for managing change.

– collaboration;
– transparency;
– sharing; and
– empowerment.

He describes our current society entering an ‘age of networked intelligence’ or group intelligence. Leadership in this type of model is present but there is not one leader, rather a momentum of thought.

How can these principles be applied to school libraries or teacher librarians??

Collaborating with classroom teachers, senior teachers, students and the wider school community when initiating change ensures that you engage with those around you with skills and experiences that can contribute to change. Creating a scenario of interdependence where you can use others to develop and progress is essential to creating change beyond your own capabilities only. An example of this is conferencing with teachers about developing collaborative units of work, or working with senior management, teachers and students to develop a new library design.

Being transparent means an open process to communicate and share information. Communicating goals and values, progress and setbacks breeds integrity in the change process and creates trust, a vital component to ensuring successful change (Browning, 2013. p15). Producing mission statements, library policy documents, library development plans, newsletter reports and end of year reports are a way of communicating clearly to the school community.

Sharing information refers to the practice of providing intellectual property for the use of others or to gain feedback. In practical terms this could involve providing copies of end of year reports to other schools to analyse and compare data or to copy a program or unit of work that has had an impact on student learning.

The concept of empowerment reminds us that by empowering those around us to be responsible for change or to have a role in the process of change gives everyone a sense of power and freedom, and a stake in the outcome. In this way there is a sense of inclusion and the result is more likely to successful. This could mean brainstorming ideas to improve lending rates, delegating tasks like improving the website or making displays more visible, to library staff and seeking feedback how to make things better.

Consider how this understanding of the 4 principles can support you in leading change at your school or in your school library?

Upon reflection I feel that the main message of this style of leadership is that being connected to your learning community is the key to successful change. Working closely with others, seeking valuable knowledge and experience, sharing your goals, ideas and vision and allowing others to fully see what you are hoping to achieve is essential. In this way all involved feel a sense of ownership and the final outcome is surely better as it is a culminating product or not just one leader but a collective.

References

TED. (2012, June 28). Don Tapscott. Four principles for the open world [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfqwHT3u1-8

Browing, Paul. Creating the conditions for transformational change. Australian Educational Leader; v.35 n.3 p.14-17; September 2013. Retrieved from http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/fullText;dn=200657;res=AEIPT

Seven steps of problem solving

Primary – Relief from face-to-face teaching for classroom teachers is often covered by the teacher librarian. This means that it is difficult to plan any collaborative teaching opportunities with the teachers. You are also concerned that the student learning in the library may not be contextually relevant to the learning in the classroom. How could you approach this problem?

Definition- Limited collaboration and planning opportunities between the classroom teacher and teacher librarian.

Data- Student learning in the library is not linked or related to classroom units of work and outcomes.

Cause analysis- No time allocated for teacher librarian and classroom teachers to cooperatively plan and discuss guided inquiry teaching and integration of information literacy

Solution planning and implementation- assign the teacher librarian to a particular grade or class for the whole year and organise a relief teacher to cover the teacher relief periods so the teacher librarian and classroom teacher can use that time to plan. this may only be necessary at the start of the year or term

Evaluation and Effects- Assess the students outcomes through formal and informal assessments and student/teacher informal feedback

Standardisation- progressively implement collaborative planning and guided inquiry to the whole school to ensure student learning is relevant to the library and classroom

Evaluation of process- evaluation of the process as a whole school during a staff meeting or allocate time during a student-free PD day to discuss successes and failures, or what can be improved

My initial thoughts on Leadership

I have started in the TL position this year, and as yet I realise I have been consumed by learning how to do my job and running an efficient library rather than analysing and reflecting upon my place as a leader in the library/school. Our school library has long been neglected and not recognised within our school as the centre of learning. I hope through this course I can sharpen my focus on what I can do to realign the school library as an important connector and learning generator, and how I can build myself into a more effective leader in the school community.

The Leadership Style Quiz results were no surprise to me. I prefer a participatory/democratic style of leadership where ideas, opinions and suggestions are welcomed and fully explored. I like working in a group and feel that in that way individual strengths can be exploited to achieve group goals. However, I must be honest and state I am aware that in the school setting at times I do allow myself to follow and feel comfortable having guidelines set for me. This is due to my lack of confidence in my abilities and experience, not for want of being in cruise mode. When I think of those whose leadership qualities I admire and would want to emulate the following Transformational Leadership characteristics come to mind:

*confidence and a clear vision
*ability to communicate their vision and steps to achieve it
*builds an atmosphere of trust and high expectations
*ability to build and nurture personal relationships
*inspires others through doing and achieving
*strong work and moral ethic
*willingness to listen and being approachable