August 27

Case Study Three

I have been working in Case Study Group 9. My group consists of myself, Marika Simon, Ann Conte, Donna Thurling and Deborah Nicklin.

For Case Study 3, we kick-started the process by considering the scenario and noting down our thoughts on the superficial and deeper issues we found. Then, we each selected one of the deeper issues to research. I chose Conflict Resolution. My group members researched Shared Vision / School Direction, Collaboration and Communication, Relationships and School Culture, and Change.

Can you identify a leadership style/styles that came to the fore?

It is difficult to identify a particular leadership style based on the few interactions of Case Study 3. However, I did notice that certain members were more outspoken than others, leading the way in terms of working on the case.

How do you feel you were able to participate (or not)?

I feel positive about the group experience during Case Study 3. I had ample opportunity to participate, and this was aided by a set work schedule drafted by Marika. We had deadlines to work to and this meant that we had a chance to contribute our ideas before anybody moved on to the next stage. Although I was one of the last to contribute to the initial stage – jotting down thoughts on the superficial and deeper issues – I was still able to offer some of my own ideas.

What did you find easy/difficult in participating in this way (which will be new for some, if not many, of you)?

Communication was perhaps the most difficult element of the process. This wasn’t because my group members were poor communicators. It was simply due to the fact that I was unable to receive notifications to show when somebody had made a change to the wiki, or posted to the discussion board. Often, conversations were occurring in more than one place – the comments section of the wiki, the editable wiki itself, the different wikis, and the discussion board.

I suppose this highlights the importance of effective communication. There needs to be a clear chain of communication, so that threads can be followed and all stakeholders are party to information that they need.

April 29

Possibilities for Collaboration

What possibilities arise for collaboration between teachers and the teacher librarian?

In what ways could you begin to develop collaboration with teachers in your school?

Gibson-Langford (2008, p. 34) sets out a table outlining the guiding principles for building collaborative relationships.

Knowledge Creation – Knowledge is created:

  • when teachers learn together
  • when teachers are involved in critical dialogue
  • when teachers further their study
  • when teachers are appreciated
  • when teachers’ moral purpose is strong
  • through serious play and through reflective practice

Knowledge Sharing – Teachers/Teachers’:

  • prefer to share their knowledge in a social context
  • share their knowledge with reflective/critical friends
  • share their knowledge when feedback is frequent and critical
  • need time to share their knowledge
  • credibility influences how they share their knowledge
  • prefer informal structures when sharing their knowledge
  • reflective practice enables knowledge sharing

Knowledge Use

  • Teachers commit to new ideas that demonstrate relative and economic advantage
  • Level of abstraction is important to the adoption of new ideas
  • Teachers adopt new ideas through trialling
  • Observing new ideas in action influences how teachers’ use knowledge
  • Teachers use new ideas that are deemed effective

This set of guiding principles can be used to develop a variety of ways for teacher librarians to collaborate with teachers. For example, since teachers need time to share their knowledge in an informal setting, a period of time could be set aside each week/fortnight/month for teachers to sit down with the teacher librarian to share and learn together over a hot beverage, or a cold beverage in summer. This could be part of staff meetings, or during NIT lessons, or using ICT. Social media groups, emails or discussion boards could be used as time-efficient informal discussion spaces, giving staff the opportunity to collaborate outside of school hours. Due to the influence of a teacher’s perceived credibility or authority, it might be a good idea to divide into smaller, less threatening groups, or work one-on-one.

Since relative and economic advantage is an important factor in whether teachers adopt a new idea (Gibson-Langford, 2008, p. 35), a teacher librarian might be able to advertise their skills or knowledge to show teachers that collaborating with them can be of great benefit to them. This could take a digital form, for example, a section on the school library website. Teachers must be able to see that collaboration will be of benefit at its end point, so any collaborative practice should be well planned.

References

Gibson-Langford, L. (2008). Collaboration: Force or forced, part 2. Scan, 27(1), 31-37. Retrieved from https://search-informit-com-au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/fullText;dn=166077;res=AEIPT

April 2

Are School Librarians an Endangered Species?

Bonanno’s glass half full approach to the TL’s position in the Australian education landscape is inspiring.

“Well funded and adequately staffed school libraries directly impact student achievement” (Bonanno, 2015, p. 17). Teacher librarians are an asset, as long as we showcase our value within our school community and context, continue to up-skill and improve (even if only for 5 minutes each day), and build strong relationships within and beyond our circle of influence.

No, school librarians are not an endangered species, unless we choose to be.

Reference

Bonanno, K. (2015). A profession at the tipping point (revisited). ACCESS, 29(1), 14-21. Retrieved from https://kb.com.au/a-profession-at-the-tipping-point-revisited/