October 7

ETL504 Assessment 2 Part B Reflection

My view on the case study group work moved from initial dread (Simon, 2019, 23 July) through to hope for a positive experience (Simon, 2019, August 9). In the end I feel this component has contributed to my developing practice of leadership and understanding how it relates to the role of the teacher librarian (TL).

In our first group effort, members stepped up as initiators, contributors, opinion seekers, elaborators, orienters and encouragers (Roberts, 2012; Simon, 2019, August 18, ). Donna Thurling (2019, September 22) suggested that perhaps groups should have been seeded with some dominators, blockers or aggresors (Roberts, 2012).  I disagree because I think the value of the experience is the authentic nature of the situation. Negotiating with real people rather than just roles or scenarios gave insight for my practice of leadership as a TL. Evaluating real-life reactions to my initiation (Simon, 2019, August 18) or hanging back (Simon, 2019, September 9) developed my understanding of how to effectively manage teams when leadership is distributed to me as TL.

I feel my group developed the trust and communication needed (Aguilar, 2012, November 28) to effectively complete our tasks as a team even as we sometimes struggled with the content and instructional efficacy of the tasks (Simon, 2019, September 9, para. 3; Simon, 2019, September 21, para. 2). Unfortunately, the formation of these groups does not follow the best practices of thoughtful group formation as discussed by Belbin (2010, pp. 100-103). Consequently, in our third group task when the task initiator set things up in a different way that caused confusion, we lost time. No-one really felt empowered to make a change or felt the designated authority to adjust a structure that had been created by someone else – even when they found it difficult to effectively work within that structure (Simon, 2019, September 21, para. 2). While team members demonstrated characteristics such as trust, respect, and creating a supportive environment (Moir, Hattie, & Jansen, 2014, p.37), we lacked the overarching vision leadership of a transformational leader. We also experienced a pitfall of servant leadership (a key style for the TL role) – a focus on maintaining relationships to the potential detriment of producing output (Burkus, 2010, April 1, para. 4). This experience will inform my crafting of groups and balancing of relational vs task leadership when leading teams at school.

I felt that the practical application of and reflection upon group, team and leadership theory through the formation and task completion in the online working groups was its most beneficial aspect. However, the case study scenario tasks also offered value. It was helpful to practice and observe the application of theories such as Zbar, Marshall and Powers’ (2007) performance management or Bender’s (2005) chains of communication to practical scenarios (Group 9, 2019, August 18).  I found it more useful to me, though, when I could apply my theoretical learning to real-life scenarios in the general module activity forums, such as my response on the Program Adoption thread in the Module 3 Week 4 (3.1) forum (Simon, M., 2019, August 10). I am currently implementing my learning about leadership and team formation as I explore leading a project to create a collaborative research task between my school’s Year 6 students and students from a local high school.


Aguilar, E. (2012, November 28). Effective teams: The key to transforming schools? [Blog post]. In Edutopia: What Works in Education. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/teacher-teams-transform-schools-elena-aguilar
Belbin, R. M. (2010). Team Roles at Work (2nd ed.). Retrieved from ProQuest Ebook Central.

Bender, Y. (2005). The tactful teacher: Effective communication with parents, colleagues and administrators. Chicago, IL: Nomad Press. Retrieved from ProQuest Ebook Central.

Burkus, D. (2010, April 1). Servant leadership theory [Blog post]. In DB: David Burkus. Retrieved from http://davidburkus.com/2010/04/servant-leadership-theory

Eberly Center Carnegie Mellon University. (n.d.). How can I assess group work?. In Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved from https://www.cmu.edu/teaching/designteach/teach/instructionalstrategies/groupprojects/assess.html

Group 9. (2019, August 18). Case Study Group 9 [Discussion forum post]. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&course_id=_42385_1&conf_id=_78888_1&forum_id=_164190_1&message_id=_2432117_1&nav=discussion_board_entry

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/Roberts, R. (2012, September 12). How identifying the different roles can help groups work better together [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://elt-resourceful.com/2012/09/12/how-identifying-the-different-roles-we-play-can-help-groups-work-better-together/

Roberts, R. (2012, September 12). How identifying the different roles can help groups work better together [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://elt-resourceful.com/2012/09/12/how-identifying-the-different-roles-we-play-can-help-groups-work-better-together/

Simon, M. (2019, August 10). Re: Running record program change [Discussion forum post]. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&course_id=_42385_1&nav=discussion_board_entry&conf_id=_78888_1&forum_id=_164198_1&message_id=_2336715_1

Thurling, D. (2019, September 22). Case study group work… One happy family [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/donnajourney/2019/09/22/78/

Zbar, V., Marshall, G. & Power, P. (2007).  Better schools, better teachers, better results: a handbook for improved performance management in your school.  Retrieved from Informit.

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Posted October 7, 2019 by marikamum in category Case Studies, ETL504, Reflection

About the Author

Just another CSU MEdTL student creating a blog. When not studying, I write, teach and live with my husband and two high school children and our black Labrador retriever somewhere on the Lower North Shore of Sydney.

5 thoughts on “ETL504 Assessment 2 Part B Reflection

  1. arc

    Honestly Marika, I don’t know how you find the time to support everyone else when you are also churning out work of such high quality as this. I am so glad I can check out your blog and learn from the way you put your reflections into carefully crafted responses. You have definitely got the skill of using your words sparingly to get the most out of each one. Good luck in your library journey and thanks for your support this semester.

    1. marikamum (Post author)

      Thanks! :blushes: To be honest, helping and supporting others helps me to hone my ideas – especially for assessment tasks! I also have a great editor in my husband, who pushes me past the point when I just want to give up and get things in. All the best!

  2. meljoy

    Hey Marika
    Great blog!
    When you say, ‘when HD is no longer an option’, do you mean you stopped aiming that high? I am going to look at your report now 🙂

    1. marikamum (Post author)

      Hi Meljoy,

      LOL… sorry for the confusion. The comment refers to the fact that the study visit report was written for a subject that was only marked Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory. When writing for assessments that have a 5-point marking scale I am always comparing my work to the HD criteria of the rubric to see if I have included everything – leading to a need to be tight with my words so that I can fit everything in to the word count limit (+10% ;-)!) With the satisfactory/unsatisfactory rubric I paid more attention to just ensuring that my work could not be described by the criteria for unsatisfactory, LOL.

      Thanks for your encouragement on my blog :-). As I am at the end of my MEd(TeachLib) journey, I am trying to continue my blogging on the edublog site that was linked in the earlier comment, since I don’t know how long I will have access to this one. Feel free to come and visit me there, too!

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