Module 2 expanded my understanding and knowledge of theories behind management and leadership, and what makes an information service. I read about different theories including: Classical Management Theory, Mintzberg’s classifications for organisations, Situational, Transactional, Transformational, Servant, Distributed, Instructional and School Leadership. As well as why leadership is important for Teacher-Librarians.
I didn’t realise there were so many different theories behind leadership. During my reading I connected some theories to education and schools more than others. Classical Management theory relates to jobs being precisely defined, hierarchical structure and clear levels of command. I see this as teacher and leadership role descriptions, Principal at the top of the pyramid, and various middle and senior level leaders in the chain of command to deal with any issues or changes.
There was cross-over between levels of Mintzberg’s classification regarding where school’s sit. I think schools lie between Divisional and Professional, with a little bit of Innovation. They are under the banner of a large department (the state, catholic, independent systems) with centralised control. But they are also characterised by professional and competent teachers in specialised areas of expertise. Schools which have expanded to Distributed leadership could work towards becoming Innovative as other staff members begin to have control of decisions and direction.
In terms of leadership theories, I connected with situational, transformational and distributed.
Situational Leadership: I think it is necessary to be flexible in how to lead in a particular situations (context is important). However, for this method to be successful relationships with all members of the team are highly important as you could call on any of them to assist in a particular situation. This type of leadership calls for a good understanding of your team’s skills and the structure of the task at hand.
Transformational Leadership: I like the big picture direction required for Transformational Leadership. It is a focus on identifying what the next steps are to build on performance and success. I see this form of leadership in convincing subject teachers to team-teach with you. This is an opportunity to develop change in practice. Collaboration across all levels can be seen in team-teaching with different year levels and subject areas. There can be team building in preparing library staff for these opportunities (resource collection, online presence), and in working with faculties (what I can do to help you and your students achieve – inquiry and information literacy). There is also the opportunity to provide PD to staff about how a collaborative session can be planned and implemented.
Distributed Leadership: This form of leadership can be used within the Library team. It requires an understanding of the areas requiring leadership and the skill sets of the team members. Can other people take on leadership roles in their area of expertise? For example, someone working on explaining copyright practice to staff and students – they can also teach that understanding to all library staff.
I also understand further now that leadership for a TL could be leading by example, being visible, being a manager, knowing when to delegate, and integrating myself into teaching and learning. This connects to TL Advocacy (from ETL401), identifying how the TL can help other members of the school. Get them onside and then incorporate/suggest ways of working together to improve teaching and learning outcomes.
I found this module to be highly useful in expanding my knowledge and understanding. I have a greater picture of what how different types of leadership could be used as TL. Examples and explanations (particularly in Smith, and Bush & Glover) expanded on the basic concepts and highlighted areas to consider.
By better understanding leadership theories, I can identify what styles I connect with best and how I can use them in the future. In completing the case studies, I hope to better apply leadership understanding to the scenario, which, in turn, will assist with future leadership responsibilities. My knowledge about leadership styles can also direct me about what styles are not suited to my personality or situations.
Bush, T., & Glover, D. (2014). School leadership models: What do we know? School Leadership & Management, 34(5), 553-571. doi: 10.1080/13632434.2014.928680
Smith, B. (2016). The role of leadership style in creating a great school. SELU Research Review Journal, 1(1), 65-78. Retrieved from www.selu.usask.ca