Reflective Critical Analysis
When first undertaking this Masters of Education degree, the concept of the teacher librarian as a school leader did not enter my consciousness. Perhaps blindsided by the stereotypical librarian, I then saw my role as providing resources to support students and teachers and promoting literacy. This stereotypical role was reinforced by my perceptions, real or misguided, of other teacher librarians from my experience as a student and as a teacher (Hartzel 2002). When first undertaking the role of teacher librarian in a school I acknowledge feeling undervalued. Now I have come to realise that it wasn’t just that I was undervalued as teacher librarian it was also that I undervalued my role, my abilities and contribution (Oberg 2006).
As a result of progressing through this and other units to date, I am growing in appreciation for how the structure and content of the units empowers us as highly qualified specialist teachers to be confident in what we have to offer (ASLA 2004). Being able to speak with authority on educational subjects with other school leaders has greatly increased confidence in my abilities and I view my contribution to the school in a much more favourably (AASL 2007).
Consequently, I have been naturally gravitating towards leadership roles from knowledge and skills gained in prior units. As the school’s leading authority on information literacy and digital citizenship I have been called upon to demonstrate how these can be embedded in whole school learning programs. As part of my role in the school’s E-learning team, my expertise is called upon to drive innovation by mentoring others in ways to embed ICT into their teaching and learning programs in meaningful ways. Likewise, as part of our school’s Deprivatising the Classroom initiative, I am now mentoring and collaborating with others to develop and implement team teaching initiatives using Guided Inquiry Learning. Without realising, I was slowly coming to view myself as a school leader (O’Connell 2012).
While working through the readings for this current unit, I was continually reflecting on the leadership styles that I have used and others that might prove useful in the future. I was able to identify with the Transformational leadership style and the ways that I had used it with library SAO staff and with other teachers (Browning 2013 ; Marzano, Waters & McNulty 2005). I also identified leadership styles that I had seen used by other leaders across several schools. In my current school I identified other Transformational leaders together with others who used Distributed (Marzano, Waters & McNulty 2005 ; Youngs 2009) and others still who used the Instructional style (Townsend 2011 ; Marzano, Waters & McNulty 2005). Some, I realised, used all three of these.
I was, at first, overwhelmed by the prospect of constructing a concept map of leadership in schools for this first assessment. I discovered, however, that once I began to sketch out the organisation of the school and then add leadership styles, my concept map began to take shape. I could then begin to make connections and see how these all interrelated. I am keen to use concept maps in future to help me make study notes and to grasp concepts and ideas in my readings more quickly. The bubbl.us program was really simple, intuitive and fun to use as well and I am pleased that I now have another skill to add to my repertoire.
Click on the image or on the link below for a closer view
American Association of School Librarians (AASL). (2007). Standards for the 21st-Century Learner. Retrieved from: http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/guidelinesandstandards/learningstandards/AASL_LearningStandards.pdf
Australian School Library Association (ASLA). (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Australian School Library Association. Retrieved from: http://www.asla.org.au/policy/standards.aspx
Browning, P. (2013). Creating the conditions for transformational change. Australian Educational Leader. 35(3) 14-17.
Hartzel, G. (2002). What’s it take? Presented at the Washington White House Conference on School Libraries. Retrieved from: http://www.laurabushfoundation.com/Hartzell.pdf
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.
Oberg, D. (2006). Developing the respect and support of school administrators. Teacher Librarian, 33(3), 13-18.
O’Connell, J. (2012). Learning without frontiers: School libraries and meta-literacy in action. ACCESS, March, 4-7.
Townsend, T. (2011). School leadership in the twenty-first century: Different approaches to common problems? School Leadership and Management, 31(2), 93-103.
Youngs, H. (2009). (Un)Critical times? Situating distributed leadership in the field. Journal of Educational Administration and History, 41(4), 377-389