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.

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