ETL523 – Assignment 2: Part b Reflection

The ability to read, write, interact and share across a range of platforms, tools and media (O’Connell, 2012; Stripling, 2010) represent the essential skills necessary to succeed into the future. Teaching and learning in the digital age involves a change in emphasis towards participation, creating and sharing; more active learning rather than passive consumption of content delivered in a static manner (Wheeler, 2015). Assignment two forced me to look at my school’s current situation in regards to the digital learning environment. It became clear to me that my school is not currently harnessing technology for 21st century learning or preparing our students with future skills. Staff professional development, in particular, is needed to rectify low digital literacy standards amongst staff to work towards rectifying this.

The most important I have learned during this unit is that integrating technology into our pedagogy and learning should be viewed and taught in a positive way with the emphasis on the unlimited opportunities that are presented when we connect outside of our classroom. This shift in attitude requires a re-think about how we deliver the curriculum, new modes of teaching learning, creation of a personalized PLNs and a re-focus on how we preparing students for the future where digital fluency is a necessary skill to succeed.

Previous to this unit my understanding of what digital citizenship was mainly consisted of what students should not do and punitive policies that discipline those who plagiarise or aren’t using Creative Commons correctly. What I have learned is digital citizenship consists of a broad range of skills, habits and attitudes, and effectively utilising the digital learning environment in an ethical and productive way should be part of our everyday practice. We should be teaching by doing (Lindsay, 2016b), being models of digital citizenship in our everyday digital lives by integrating technology into our practice and habits, and connecting globally to expand our learning networks.

In an earlier blog post I reflected on the challenge of working collaboratively to achieve a group wiki. This was an excellent reminder of how our students feel when set such tasks and the difficulties they face using new digital tools and applications. Assignment one required me to learn new ways to communicate and to learn a range of new Web 2.0 applications. These skills have been immediately relevant to my practice in that I have shared with students through my library blog and when assisting students with organising their own work, new ways to connect and showcase their learning.   Students have responded well and are now recognising that I, and the library staff as a whole, are valuable resources in their learning, a small shift but nevertheless important for ongoing change. I am also evaluating how I can leverage my PLN to curate more effectively for my school community (Valenza, 2012) and for this to be one way I can demonstrate good digital citizenships skills by doing.

As in other units I have completed, the theme of leadership and the integral role of the TL to influence and lead change is apparent in this unit. I resonated with Lindsay (2016a) with the term ‘teacherpreneur’, a teacher who leads and achieves change by being relentless in their quest for the best student outcomes, perhaps in ways that may be considered disruptive.

Reflecting on my own practice, I realise that I need to be more focused on elevating my educational practice in terms of my ICT skills, understanding of the curriculum and ways to innovate its delivery, nurturing my PLN to forge connections with likeminded educators, and being able to lead others to share my vision. I am still a ‘work in progress’ for confidently leading by example, but this unit, and the course in general, is helping me to become the ‘outlier’ I would like to be.

References

Lindsay, J. (2016a). The global education leader. In The global educator: Leveraging technology for collaborative learning & teaching. Eugene, Oregon: International Society for Technology in Education.

Lindsay, J. (2016b, July 19). How to encourage and model global citizenship in the classroom [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/global_learning/2016/07/how_to_encourage_and_model_global_citizenship_in_the_classroom.html

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

Stripling, B. (2010). Teaching students to think in the digital environment: Digital literacy and digital inquiry. School Library Monthly, 26(8), 16–19.

Valenza, J. K. (2012). Curation. School Library Monthly, 29(1), 20.

Wheeler, S. (2015). Learning with “e”s: Educational theory and practice in the digital age. United Kingdom: Crown House Pub Ltd.

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ETL507 – Study Visit reflection

Study Visit: Melbourne CBD 4-7 April

The State Library of Victoria

The mandate of the library to preserve, give access to and to share Victoria’s history and historical items was very clear.

The re-development of the site is already affecting how staff are working in the space, and it was stated that the changes will mean that more staff are working in open plan offices and on the floor more openly. The use of space will mean that there are more dedicated areas for different segments of society, more areas for children, public venue spaces, and gallery spaces. I think this reflects how the library is responding to changes in its patrons needs and adapting to entice more visitors both onsite and digitally.

It was so interesting to hear from the marketing and media team members and to hear first hand how social media channels are supporting and enhancing the delivery and discovery of the library collections. This form of connection with the community is relating to different audiences in new ways, and promotes the library brand, its programs and messages very effectively. This is a reminder in our own practice that we can make huge changes and connect with our audience, even on a low budget, if social media is harnessed in a positive way.

I was not aware that the library is not allowed to weed the collection, that there is a legal requirement and strict protocols to follow to keep items in the collection ongoing. The issue of storage and how to store the collections, and the obvious need to be very careful what is selected into the collection was apparent. The importance of a strong collection development policy cannot be overstated.

The AGE (Broadmeadows) Library

This library is a public library run by the Hume Council, and is such subject to pressures and constraints of being overseen by a body that does not necessarily understand the importance or role of the library in the community. Examples were given such as the mobile library service, that it is difficult to make changes to programs unilaterally, without council approval and process. The importance of keeping good statistics and using benchmarks from similar libraries in the state to advocate for services, funding and maintenance of programs was evident.

This library responds to the need of its diverse community in various ways. Patrons typically come from low socio-economic backgrounds, are migrants, have English as a new language and may not have literacy in their first language. The library has reinstated a Children’s Librarian to administer programs for parents and young children and to entice new mothers in to the library. There are collections in Arabic and Turkish for migrants, a range of programs for youth, the elderly, learning support for students, maker spaces, outreach programs amongst other targeted services including dedicated community spaces.

This library supports its community in simple but important ways by providing equitable access to technology, Wi-Fi and equipment, safe spaces, printers, photocopying, all with assistance. It is important to keep in mind that although borrowing may be not strong the library is an important space in other ways for patrons.

This library is an example of delivering a broad service to a large range of people, but perhaps doing too much on too little. It relies on volunteers (bilingual) and the ability of staff to adapt to change, up skill and be spread thin to continue to keep delivering services. It is an important hub in the community, which perhaps is not always valued by governing bodies, who find it hard to measure its importance without hard data.

MLC (Methodist Ladies College) Senior School Library

This visit was inspiring. I was very interested in the process that MLC went through to make radical changes to the physical and digital environments and how staff are facilitating connections with departments and teaching staff throughout the school to implement digital literacy programs and collaborative teaching and support. Staff took considerable time to collect data and used research to inform decisions. Considerable effort is being made to structurally embed the library and its services into the curriculum. This process is only possible with strong support from management, which was very evident during the visit.

The transformation of the physical space was particularly interesting. The downstairs space has curved shelving, with the non-fiction print genrefied. The study spaces had varied furniture, which was all flexible and easily moved around, to encourage different study styles – collaborative and individual – and technology to facilitate presentation, collaboration and critical thinking. The library staff relayed that feedback from students was positive and there was evidence that students were becoming more independent in their learning and were performing better in groups as a result of the changes.

The space was definitely welcoming and innovative. The focus of the space was the students, how they learn best and what skills should be developed, how can the design and planning of the space create an environment for everyone (including staff) to be always learning, adapting, curious and connected.

It was obvious that an enormous amount of money has been spent on the library transformation to a 21st century space. The actual amount spent and the library yearly budget was not divulged, but it is an example of what money can deliver for students. The gap between this and what many teacher librarians have at their disposal in terms of budget is huge, and left me a bit flat and envious, as most students will not have the opportunity to have those facilities and programs at any time in their schooling.

As I work in a library that is currently transitioning, I found it useful to see the possibilities, and consider a more research driven process for change management.

Public Records Office of Victoria (PROV)

The function of the Public Records Office is to keep (state and local) government records of enduring value and importance. The records show on public record the state’s interactions with its citizens over time.

Not having any experience with archives, the way the collection is stored and categorised was new to me. Records are kept in their original system and organised by the Australian Series System. This is based on the archival principles of provenance and original order. This means that the PROV cannot disturb the system in which records have been kept, and must be tolerant in its cataloguing of missing information and incomplete data when present.

The difficulty in digitising the collection and the time it takes to accurately do this is immense, and relies on dedicated volunteers. The way the organisation uses volunteers with commercial interests in the data is a mutually beneficial way for the collection to worked on for digital preservation, and a good example of working with partner organisations for the public good. The importance of meta data for information retrieval and creating systems to allow easier access for patrons also is difficult. The new website shown demonstrated that as the records are not uniform in their cataloguing, and individual items are not necessarily recorded, even with digital access, a great deal of skill and understanding of the process of storing items is needed to access the collection.

As I have no experience in the archiving and preservation area understanding how the documents can be used in various research projects, and how documents can reveal so much about everyday life over time was really great. In terms of my school library, it reminded me to not forget to provide links for students to public institutions for their own research and information discovery.

William Angliss Institute of TAFE

The Institute is a specialist learning and training centre for the food, tourism, hospitality and event sectors and as such the Learning Resource Centre’s (LRC) services and resources reflected the need to cater for VET courses through to higher education, a range of ages languages and cultural backgrounds.

The LRC provides services and resources typical of most educational institutions including: information literacy programs, research skills, courses on plagiarism, online Libguides and tutorials etc. What was apparent is that government funding cuts had affected staffing, hours of operation, capital improvements, acquisitions and collection development, and morale. Grants had enabled the LRC to install RFID technology and a mobile technology pod, which basically was a closed pod used for quiet work, but none of this had changed circulation statistics or encouraged use of the collection. This led me to think that sometimes money given in grants, and regular budget money, can be wasted if not targeted into clear areas of need, and sometimes trendy new technology is really not necessary to enable access; adequate staffing and relevant and up to date resources will do that on their own.

As the Institute was moving towards offering a range of higher degrees I found it very interesting how the LRC was going to adapt to support academic staff in their own research and course delivery. It was noted that two university liaison librarians had been employed in recent times to support the program, but as the Institute suffers from cuts in funding, resourcing these new areas with academic resources may be limited.

As I have never attended a TAFE institution I found it interesting to see a targeted collection servicing a narrow field of interest. The Special Collection of culinary items in the archive areas was particularly enlightening to see how important a specialist library can be to keep heritage items in niche areas.

University of Melbourne Archives

The core purpose for the archive is to keep records of the University of Melbourne and to be a collection archive to support research. The range of archival material was fascinating and the way formats dictated storage and access was new to me. As this facility is not bound by legislation to keep everything, they are free to transfer items to more suitable institutions that can better restore and share. The archive had a lot of material never opened since being acquired. Cataloguing and digitisation is slow and costs money, and I found it interesting that volunteers were not used as much due to privacy and university restrictions.

The issue of who owns the material, who has copyright, who dictates access and who is responsible for preservation, is important to understand. It was explained that if the archive has ownership of the material they are liable for any defamatory actions, and thus are conscious of sensitive material having restricted or no access for periods of time to combat this. Security and privacy are paramount. Historically there were loose arrangements with organisations to archive such things as business reports, and confusion over rights and responsibilities, management rights etc. seemed to be an ongoing issue.

A problem highlighted during the tour was the struggle to get knowledge of the collection existence out in the public, beyond academic researchers. As the name is associated with the university it is assumed that only university records are kept there, the varied nature of the holdings is not immediately assumed.

This site, similar to PROV, has revealed to me the importance of legacy and preserving items for future research, and how historical items can be excellent teaching tools and prompters of curiosity in students. For this reason, I will be ensuring my students have links and connections with organisations like this from our school library Libguides, and try to encourage more critical thinking and sourcing of primary source material.

Southbank Library at BOYD

This facility is run by the City of Melbourne, and is one branch of the library service, serving residents in urban areas. The library is one aspect of the service provided, as the site is a community hub for residents in the Southbank areas providing family and health support, spaces for community groups to meet, art spaces, and a place for recreation and relaxing. As with other public libraries, the space is just as important as the collection, with many not borrowing, but using Wi-Fi and equipment and accessing assistance and programs.

This facility is an excellent example of responding to community needs, in this case a demographic of mainly 18-35 year olds, highly educated with good literacy skills. This group also has high digital literacy skills so many e-resources are available. Traditional library programs, such as research skills for example are not necessary. The collection offerings are relevant and up to date, fed by a healthy budget, and are organised by area of interest and then in Dewey order, all branches using the same system to simply inter-library loans and consistency for patrons. Targeting resources to the needs of the community is paramount. This service reflects the huge need for library services and public connection spaces in new areas of development. The Boyd building is small but can provide so much for hundreds of people in the neighbourhood surrounding it.

It was apparent the access to the collection was of utmost importance in this service. Signage was clear and prolific, and great thought had gone into how patrons browse and find new material, and this informed the physical layout and presentation of the space. Circulation statistics indicate that the collection is more utilised when presented this way.

This site has made me reflect on the presentation of my library, particularly the signage and layout. Making the physical space more akin to a bookshop, more outfacing print books, and genrefying the non-fiction may be suitable for my students and increase use of the non-fiction collection.

FINAL REFLECTION ON OVERALL EXPERIENCE

The study visit has definitely confirmed my own thoughts that I need to broaden my library experience outside of my school library in order to develop professional skills and understanding. My school library is suffering because I do not have the answers or experience to move it forward with confidence. I have secured a placement at a public library and I am looking forward to immersing myself into a range of different areas, particularly collection management, access and archives. I have also put myself forward to do library relief in two other schools in order to get an insight to how other school libraries operate and to be mentored by more experience professional teacher librarians. I am a believer in constantly improving and striving to be better. This study visit has been very beneficial to see what the possibilities are, what the benchmark is for a professional working in the field and where I am currently in my own practice.

The importance of good recruitment and positive staffing was very evident during the study tour. The collaborative nature of librarianship, working in teams and with the public, demands that one must like working with people. Allowing and supporting staff to up skill, follow passions and harnessing their skills and personalities is imperative. Often I was reminded of the ETL504 TL as Leader unit, especially when visiting a site where staff were happy and productive. These sites had obvious good leaders and this positive atmosphere trickled down to the services that those institutions provided.

All the sites visited had a clear core purpose and were responding to their patrons with targeted collections and services. Responding to community needs, demographics and changing communities all relies on knowing your clientele through research and feedback from patrons. This data informs policies, preferred access to collections, services and programs and procedures. The collection must be constantly reviewed, weeded and adapted to meet new areas of interest in order to stay relevant. The importance of libraries to be a community hub and space for children, families, migrants, students, homeless people, the elderly etc. was reinforced to me during this visit. Libraries provide equity to resources, technology and assistance and the space provided is just as important to some as the resources located in it.

Careful and deliberate design and layout of spaces was one of the most important areas for me to ponder during the visit. The effect of the physical layout and how the collection was organised to maximise access has me moving towards some major changes in my school library. The visit to MLC particularly demonstrated the importance of methodically planning and identifying what skills and behaviours are desired in students, before any changes should be embarked on. Signage, zoning of collections, tone of the physical layout, placement of furniture and organisation of the digital content, are all things I am going to focus on.

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