Case Study Four
The theme for Case Study 4 was a tightening budget. It was now expected that the library budget be justified against educational outcomes, after being based on tradition and previous allocations for many years. On first inspection, I found the case to be somewhat narrower than Case Study 3. I was glad that each member of our group was able to identify something to research.
I chose to focus my research on evidence-based practice. My group members researched outcomes relating to digital learning, linking the budget more closely to curriculum and student learning, library promotion, and school vision.
Can you identify a leadership style/styles that came to the fore?
I’ve been reflecting upon my previous Case Study wrap and I’m wondering if my perspective on Leadership styles in a broader sense limited my answer to this question. I claimed that it was difficult to identify a particular leadership style based on only a few interactions … I said this because in my head, I was thinking: okay, a transformational leader has a future focus and they’re going to draw up a strategic vision for the school with key stakeholder involvement and build a team that is committed to achieving the goals of the school. Oh, and an instructional leader also has a long range focus and includes other people in decision making and they are going to visit classes to help teachers develop their practice. So, how could any of this possibly be evident in case study groups?
Now that I think about it again, it is possible to identify traits or characteristics of different leadership styles within the case study group, and now that we’ve completed our second round, this should be even easier!
During the production of Case Study 3 and 4, I saw a number of transformational leadership qualities. For example, taking risks (Smith, 2016, p. 67) – some people were unsure as to whether they were writing something that made sense, or that answered the question, but they still posted their work. In the wiki comments and emails, I often saw concern for individuals (Moir, Hattie & Jansen, 2014, p. 36). When group members commented on how they were super busy, or sick, for example, replies were full of understanding, concern and well wishes toward that group member. Also, by setting up a shared work schedule, we were effectively setting a group goal, to which we all committed (Smith, 2016, p. 67).
I think the main elements of instructional leadership are yet to come to the fore because it would be strange in this small, short group situation to give extended and instructional feedback about our research and writing.
How do you feel you were able to participate (or not)?
This case study was completely different to the last one. Although, I still felt positive about the interaction of the group members and my participation. This time, though, we were under a little more pressure because we had a tighter deadline.
When I clicked onto the Group 9 page early on I noticed that it was a little quiet. I decided that I’d do a bit of research while I had some spare time and create our first wiki page, the overview of superficial and deeper issues. I managed to find a few references relevant to the case but when I’d finished, I was worried that there wasn’t enough within the case for each person to be able to contribute successfully. I suppose this highlights the strength of working in teams. Once everyone else joined in, there were plenty of avenues of research to consider, and everyone brought different perspectives that I didn’t consider when I added my first bit of work.
What did you find easy/difficult in participating in this way (which will be new for some, if not many, of you)?
I still found communication to be difficult, jumping around between the wiki, the discussion board and email.
I found actual communication itself to be a little easier, now that the group is becoming more comfortable working together and there is a strong atmosphere of teamwork and commitment.
Moir, S., Hattie, J., & Jansen, C. (2014). Teacher perspectives of ‘effective’ leadership in schools. Australian Educational Leader, 36(4), 36-40. Retrieved from http://www.minnisjournals.com.au/acel/
Smith, B.S. (2016). The role of leadership in creating a great school. SELU Research Review Journal, 1(1), 65-78. Retrieved from https://selu.usask.ca/documents/research-and-publications/srrj/SRRJ-1-1-Smith.pdf