Librarians are Gold!

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ETL504 – Assignment 2 Reflection

Part B: Reflective Critical Analysis

When I reflect back on my initial postings in ETL504, I feel that I began this unit with limited knowledge about the Teacher Librarians (TLs) role as a leader. However, after extensive readings, discussions, blog entries and two assignments, I now know that an essential part of the TLs role is being a teacher AND an information specialist who inspires others and leads from the middle (Haycock, 2010).

I have found it fascinating to evaluate the variety of leadership styles I have encountered during my 18 years as an educator. I considered which styles have been the most effective when striving to lead and influence a team of educators and agree with Marzano et al. (2005, p.18), that no one leadership style is sufficient – a combination of styles ideally should be used.

It is exciting to learn that TLs in a position to change present teacher work habits and challenge the status quo in schools. TLs can really make an impact and be a “change agent” in their school by stepping up to perform beyond what is required of them and hence emerge as a middle leader (Couros, 2013).

When I finally commence a TL position, I plan to share my expertise with colleagues by attending collaborative planning meetings and present teaching ideas for 5 minutes at the beginning of staff meetings. These are just two ways for a TL to actively utilise their role as a teacher who leads and is an advocate for change.

I feel that it is crucial for TLs to demonstrate leadership in their role by providing curriculum development knowledge, especially when assisting with the implementation of the Australian National Curriculum (ACARA, 2013). TLs can model leadership by offering staff development and training sessions relating to these curriculum changes. This will allow the library to be seen to be at the centre of curriculum change.

I agree with Purcell (2010) stating the role of the TL is to “collaborate with teachers, students and other members of the learning community to develop policies that guide the school” to create lifelong learners. At my previous school, TLs supported and encouraged teachers to integrate relevant transliteracy skills into units of work to enrich students’ 21st-century learning skills. This focus on transliteracy complimented the school’s 2012 Strategic Vision and allowed TLs to lead the way – to be seen as collaborative coaches, mentoring, empowering and supporting staff. The TLs saw an opportunity to lead and rose to the occasion, this was an ideal opportunity for them to showcase their knowledge and expertise, especially at a time when teachers and students are attempting to navigate in a complex media landscape (Jenkins, 2012).

This subject has taught me that TLs who nurture strong relationships with colleagues in schools, result in higher levels of collaboration and teamwork. “Members of a good team trust each other. If a team is effective, then people learn from each other. They will inspire and challenge each other” (Aguilar, 2012).

Assignment 2 allowed me to create a vision for my school library, by strategically planning an implementation process over the next 3 years inline with the schools vision. According to Ferriter (2103) successful leadership is more than just a shared vision, “without strong relationships, a clear vision for an ideal tomorrow, and an ability to translate vision into practical action, learning teams simply WON’T succeed”.

Without change and innovation, the TLs role in the school context, would be solely based on resourcing the library and maintaining the current library collection with no vision for the future (Kotter, n.d.). At my current school, I am part of the school wide ‘eLearning and curriculum team’. I have found it exciting to be part of an innovative team who is leading change. By advocating change and working towards the shared school vision, this committee is assisting the school to move towards meeting the needs of 21st century learners in an engaging, technology rich, stimulating environment.

I have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in ETL504 and exploring the critical role of the TL as a leader. I am now inspired to lead and take on change as a TL in the library. I have the vision to be an optimistic and proactive leader, who is adaptive and stays ahead of the game (Halfpintofwisdom, 2011). I am now equipped with the knowledge and skills to become a TL who leads. I now know that effective leadership in a school library requires collaboration to implement innovation and creativity in an ever-changing digital world.

References

ACARA. (2013). The shape of the Australian curriculum. In Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority. Retrieved from http://www.acara.edu.au/verve/_resources/The_Shape_of_the_Australian_Curriculum_v4.pdf

Aguilar, E. (2012). Effective teams: the key to transforming schools? Edutopia.Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/teacher-teams-transform-schools-elena-aguilar

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. Retrieved from http://www.csuau.eblib.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=801144&echo=1

Couros, G. (2013, January 26). 5 Characteristics of a change agent [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/3615

Ferriter, B. (2013). What does leadership on a professional learning team look like? Retrieved from http://www.teachingquality.org/content/what-does-leadership-professional-learning-team-look?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+the_tempered_radical+%28The+Tempered+Radical%29

Halfpintofwisdom. (2011, August 4). Strategic planning for school libraries. [Slideshare]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/halfpintofwisdom/strategic-planning-for-libraries

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

Jenkins, H. (2012). 30 Second thought leadership: Insights from leaders in the school library community. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/aaslpubsandjournals/knowledgequest/aboutkq/30second_JanFeb12

Kotter, J. (n.d.). The 8-step process for leading change. Kotter International – Innovative Strategy Implementation Professionals. Retrieved March 10, 2014, from http://www.kotterinternational.com/our-principles/changesteps/changesteps

Marzano, R. J., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. A. (2005). Some theories and theorists on leadership. School leadership that works: from research to results (pp. 13-27). Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/lib/csuau/docDetail.action?docID=10089219

Purcell, M. (2010). All Librarians do is check out books, right? A look at the roles of a school library media specialist. Library Media Connection, 29(3-), 30-33.

 

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ETL504 – Module 2 Leading Change

Discuss Tapscott’s 4 principles for an open world. How can these principles be applied to school libraries or teacher librarians? Consider how this understanding of the 4 principles can support you in leading change at your school or in your school library.

Strategies that Teacher Librarians can apply for an ‘open world’ based on Don Tapscott’s (2012) 4 Principles:

1. Collaboration;

Teachers and teacher librarians planning and team teaching together. Skype classes around the world to encourage global collaborative projects (@globalclassrooms) and global projects where students interact and learn from and about one another. Use social media such as twitter and edmodo in the classroom to connect with students locally as well as globally. Staff as well as student use tools to plan collaboratively e.g. google docs, answergarden, todaysmeet. As a team, teachers plan ways to implement the Australian Curriculum.

2. Transparency;

TL’s communicate information seamlessly to teachers. This could be information about new authors, book week, writing / reading competitions, new resources linked to the Australia Curriculum. Display an openness to all students, parents and teachers so that they will visit the library more often and approach you willingly for assistance. Model the schools vision and ethos. Encourage relationships built on trust and integrity with library stakeholders. Be public, everyone needs to see you.

3. Sharing;

Sharing resources, expertise and knowledge with other educators, parents and students.

4. Empowerment;

‘Knowledge and intelligence is power’. Assist other staff members to achieve their goals by offering support, encouragement and valued feedback, this will result in them feeling stronger and having more confidence to be innovative and becoming ‘change agents’.

If a Teacher Librarian has a clear understanding of Tapscott’s 4 Principles and implements some of the strategies mentioned above, change will be taking place in their school.

                                                                                   References

Kotter, J. (2012). The 8-Step Process for Leading Change . Kotter International – Innovative Strategy Implementation Professionals. Retrieved February 3, 2013 fromhttp://www.kotterinternational.com/our-principles/changesteps/changesteps


Tapscott, D. (2012) Four principles of the open world [ETL504 Module 2]. Retrieved March 13, 2014, from Charles Sturt University website:http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL504_201430_W_D/page/bc04b2bb-bf8d-4bc7-0064-24e289f73e4e

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