In my first forum posting in this module, when describing my understanding of leadership I stated “I understand leadership in terms of motivating people to work towards common and shared goals. Leadership involves setting high expectations for these goals and providing the environment and management structure for these to be achieved throughout an organization. For leadership to be effective in a school it needs to be shared following a distributed leadership model. In order for this to work, clear guidelines of roles and responsibilities should exist” (Riddle, 2014). While I had an overarching idea of what leadership could and should look like I had not up to this point considered seriously my own leadership capacities in my role as teacher librarian.
Working through the module I gained a greater depth of understanding of the scope of leadership possibilities and was able to reflect on areas where I needed to develop. I began to see far more clearly the distinction between managing and leading and started to understand that an efficient leader needs to have a clear vision that colleagues are motivated and inspired to work towards (Kotter, 2013, para. 8.) but must also take on the role of ‘manager’ overseeing operational responsibilities. I feel that the key to success as a teacher librarian is balancing both aspects.
I had a clear idea on ‘manager’ responsibilities within the role. In my blog I stated “In terms of managing, the TL has responsibility for managing a budget, sourcing and ordering appropriate materials, timetabling, running inventories, cataloguing, processing and analysing data as well as managing staff and volunteers”. However I hadn’t considered leadership in terms of leadership for learning and what can be described as instructional leadership, (Marzano, Waters & McNulty, 2005, p. 18) leading elements of teaching and learning across the school. It became clear when working through the module about strategic planning and change management that the teacher librarian has the potential to play a pivotal role in implementing educational change by working in collaboration with a hierarchy of personnel throughout the school.
Don Tapscott’s video made me reflect on the teacher librarian’s role on leading technological change and the idea of sharing in relation to the collective good of society. I stated in a blog post that “It’s important to remember that the idea of sharing information and ideas globally and instantly was the primary driving force behind Tim Berners-Lee’s pivotal development of the world wide web in 1989 and the internet protocol HTTP system that drives it. Berners-Lee’s genius was putting together several already existing strands of computer/information technology and creating – and giving away, the Internet to the world” (Riddle, 2014, para. 5.) This ties in with how users’ expectations and behaviour have changed, which teacher librarians need to plan for and accommodate. In my school, one way in which children are being encouraged to share their work in different ways is through the website ‘Lend me your Literacy” (LMYL). This is an interactive site where children become published authors and share their work with the world. Children receive feedback on their work via comments from other children and adult guest commentators.
It was with the focus on technological developments, educational change and the physical learning space that I really began to reflect on the next steps in the library’s development. The strategic planning assignment was a very real and practical exercise for me and something I thought deeply about. It is extremely relevant to my current situation in my school as we are planning to move to a purpose-built library space in two years. However, meanwhile we need to adapt the current library space and curriculum to become more relevant to the changing needs of the school as a whole.
One of the major changes recommended in my report was regarding the implementation of a coordinated approach to the teaching of information literacy and inquiry-based learning. This directly linked to a school priority of embedding guided inquiry, the need for which was highlighted by our most recent school government inspection. Another change I recommended was regarding the creation of a virtual learning environment (VLE). The school is currently creating this for classroom teachers, students and parents and it is a logical next step to include the library in this space. Inspiration for how this could be used came from looking at the existing structure in school. I gained ideas of potential format, content and functions by visiting other library websites.
The future library involves a visionary, adaptive and flexible approach to realising a learning space that supports the needs of 21st century learners. It follows the Learning Commons Model which is described as a “physical and virtual space that helps today’s learners engage in more meaningful ways through exploration, experimentation and collaboration” (Koechlin and Loertscher, as cited in Kindschy, para. 3). Creating an environment conducive to learning involves strong leadership skills and a clear vision to ensure the school community is striving towards a common and shared goal of student success, achievement and wellbeing.
Kotter, J.P. (2013, January). Management is (still) not leadership [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/01/management-is-still-not-leadership/
Kindschy, H. (2014, September). Five things you need to know about the Learning Commons Model [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://clcd.com/features/th_learning_commons_model.php
Marzano, R. J., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. A. (2005). Some theories and theorists on leadership. In School leadership that works: From research to results (pp. 13-27). Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Riddle, K. (2014, July 15). What is your understanding of leadership? [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL504_201460_W_D
Riddle, K. (2014, August). A reflection on Don Tapscott’s Tedtalk [Web log post]. In Kate loves books. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/kate/
Tedx Talks. (2012, June, 28th). Don Tapscott: Four principles for the open world . Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/don_tapscott_four_principles_for_the_open_world_1