Monthly Archives: September 2013

Part B Critical Reflection

Leadership for Learning 

I believe that teacher and student learning are intertwined.  Teachers need to be continually learning so that a positive learning environment is created for students.  I am experiencing this as I participate in this course.  It is also important to be reflective.   If there is collaboration there will be gains in confidence, motivation and morale.  This leads to quality learning and successful leadership. (O’Donoghue & Clarke, 2010). 

The Teacher Librarian as leader would promote a collaborative learning environment that is not confined to the classroom.  Often the library is seen as separate to faculty departments. 

As a result, there is not a lot of collaboration occurring at my school at present.  Teachers tend to lecture students, the focus is on delivering content and everyone is ‘time-poor’.  The concept of learning as a process, must be a shared vision, from the top down (including the students) and be explicitly written into programs. 

The Inquiry Learning concept is an excellent example of instructional leadership for learning and the Teacher Librarian needs to be proactive to achieve success.  Inquiry Learning has not been a priority for our Curriculum Coordinator due the enormity of the task if introduced across the whole school.  Also, our school has been slow with integrating technology into its educational pedagogy. 

With the introduction of the Australian Curriculum, it is an opportune time to commence Inquiry Learning.  Next year, our Primary will be embarking on this type of learning.  A working party from the Secondary school will start work on how best to continue this type of learning into Year 7 and beyond.  I will definitely be a part of this group, as well the Primary initiative. 

Communication 

As a leader in a collaborative school environment, it is important to communicate collaboratively.  Being open to the ideas of others and knowing how best to deliver information is vital to maintaining positive relationships.  (Sampson, n.d.) refers to habits of a collaborative individual as ‘knowing when to talk interactively’.  At my school, emails are constant.  Relationships are breaking down as messages are misconstrued, ignored or trivialized.  Effective communication occurs when there is accurate information, complete understanding and people feel that they have had an opportunity to contribute to decisions and therefore want to be part of a process.  Communication can be informal or formal, but must be delivered appropriately, empathetically and be open to clarification if required. 

As Teacher Librarian, I see communication as not only informing people of what is happening, but also a way of promoting the library service as an integral part of the school community.  I currently deliver information in the following ways: e-newsletters to staff, emails, weekly newsletters to parents, annual Yearbook article, conduct professional learning groups, blogs, student notices and digital display messages. 

This unit highlights the importance of effective communication as a leader and emphasizes less effective styles of communication, many of which I have experienced. 

My personal conflict management style, according to the Thomas & Kilmann, 1974 questionnaire is ‘accommodating’ and needs more assertiveness.  In my defense I feel that a Teacher Librarian needs to be accommodating.  My ‘pet-hate’ is to hear about librarians that have a sense of ownership and control over their libraries and everyone must fit in or they’re not welcome.  I go out of my way to satisfy clients.  At times I do need to balance the ‘accommodating’ with other priorities and be more assertive if the requests are unreasonable.  My library vision states; “the library ….promotes a welcoming atmosphere which is student and staff focused….” 

Strategic Planning

‘Instructional leaders exhibit a clear sense of direction for their schools and prioritize and focus attention on the things that really matter in terms of the work of students’(e-Lead, n.d.). They have the ability to predict what changes are required to improve services and anticipate and overcome obstacles as they arise. 

Teacher Librarians need to demonstrate that they are visionary, but often they are too busy dealing with the ‘here and now’ and find it hard to plan for the future.  It is in our best interest to be strategic, as it will ‘help maintain current levels of library service’ and ‘secure support from library stakeholders’.(Wong, 2012) Collecting evidence-based data can be difficult in the library situation, but is not impossible and is essential to support strategic planning.

The library also needs to be seen as integral to the whole school. Incorporating the library vision into the school’s policy on learning is crucial.  This way, the library vision is achieved as the whole school works together to make the vision a reality.

References

Instructional leadership [e Lead]. (n.d.). Retrieved from
            http://www.e-lead.org/resources/resources.asp?ResourceID=14E-lead 

O’Donoghue, T.A. & Clarke, S. (2010). Teachers learning and teachers leading.  In
            T.A. O’Donoghue & S. Clarke. Leading learning: process, themes and issues in
            international contexts
(pp.87-99). Retrieved from EBook Library. 

Sampson, M. (n.d.). The Practice of Collaboration – Resource Center.  In Michael
             Sampson on Making Collaboration Work:  Culture, Governance,
             Adoption. 
Retrieved from  http://www.michaelsampson.net/practiceofcollaboration.html 

Thomas, K.W. & Kilmann, R.H. (1974). The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode
             Instrument. Retrieved from http://academic.engr.arizona.edu/vjohnson/ConflictManagementQuestionnaire/ConflictManagementQuestionnaire.asp 

Wong, T. (2012). Strategic long-range planning. (for school library media centers). Library Media Connection, 31(2), 22-24.

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September 30, 2013 · 9:03 am

ACARA (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority)

The Australian Curriculum has opened new possibilities with regard to technology and information and the role of the Teacher Librarian is more critical than it has been previously.  As schools implement the Australian Curriculum over the next few years, Teacher Librarians need to be proactive ‘leaders’ as they support school executives and teachers, not just with resources but with embedding inquiry skills across the whole curriculum.  Not only does inquiry appear in the various inquiry skills sequences presented within learning areas, but it is a major focus within the General Capabilities that apply to all subjects.

Teacher Librarians can promote the 7 General Capabilities:

LITERACY 
– reading literacy  – reading programs, new books, blogs, book clubs, author visits
– information literacy – Inquiry Learning
 – digital literacy – incorporating technology into Inquiry Learning, Web 2.0 etc.

NUMERACY

INFORMATION, TECHNOLOGY and INFORMATION (ICT)
 – using digital tools to not only access information, but to create, discuss, share 
    and collaborate.  This has transformed the way students connect, organise and share information.

CRITICAL and CREATIVE THINKING
– instead of ‘web-using’ we want students to become ‘web-learners’.  This 
  involves higher order thinking skills that require them to evaluate web sites, 
  analyse the information, make inferences, compare and contrast information
  from different sources and reflect on what they have learnt.

PERSONAL and SOCIAL CAPABILITY
  – working in teams, self-management, direct own learning, reflect on opinions,
      beliefs etc.  Working collaboratively.

ETHICAL UNDERSTANDING
– as students and teachers use evolving technology, we need to develop
  policies and clarify understandings around the correct use of this medium.
  Teacher Librarians have an overview of the curriculum as well as see
   students interacting with each other and technologies every day.  It is our
  responsibility to discuss issues around copyright, cyberbullying, plagiarism, 
  appropriate social networking, digital footprints, acceptable use etc.

INTERCULTURAL UNDERSTANDING

‘The General Capabilities encompass the knowledge, skills, behaviours and dispositions that, together with curriculum content and the cross-curriculum priorities, will assist
students to live and work successfully in the 21st century’. (Australian Curriculum, 2013)

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2013). General Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum.   Retrieved 27 September, 2013, from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Pdf/Overview

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My school library: Vision Statement, 2008

ImageOur library does have a vision statement, or that’s what we called it in 2008 when it was created by all of our library staff.  We based it on the school’s vision which is      Catholic and our school is governed by the EREA (Edmund Rice Education Australia).  It is as follows:

 Our vision 

Consistent with the *** tradition, the *** is a place where all students and staff are respected and where their needs are met both efficiently and effectively.  As a consequence, the *** staff is committed to:

  •  Providing a positive learning environment for the students and staff which make up the *** learning community.
  •  Promoting a welcoming atmosphere which is student and staff focussed.
  •  Developing in students a love of literature and learning.
  •  Encouraging students to become independent, lifelong learners.
  •  Enriching student and staff experiences in the ethical, creative and critical use of a range of information resources. 

I guess the second part (the dot points) is more ‘mission’, although I can also see it has ‘vision’ elements as well.  I always thought it sounded quite impressive, although now I can see many holes in it, mainly with regard to not being able to measure or realistically achieve some of it. 

In 2008, technology was not as higher profile as it is now and I find it interesting that the last dot point refers to some of the General Capabilities outlined in the new Australian Curriculum. 

Difference between ‘mission’ and ‘vision’ is: 

 MISSION = purpose.      How you are going to achieve the VISION. 

 VISION = aspirational.  What your library will be like in 3 years time.  What you would like to see/achieve in an ideal world.  

(Walter & Weisburg, 2011, p.17) 

Walter, Virginia A., & Weisburg, Hilda K. (2011). Being Indispensable : A School Librarian’s Guide to Becoming an Invaluable Leader. Chicago, IL, USA: ALA Editions.

 

 

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Collaboration – TL as Leader

teacher-librarian-areas-of-influence

Covey’s ‘Circle of Influence’ (COVEY, 1990)

The more I read and indeed experience, the more I see the focus of the Teacher Librarian as a leader has to be on ‘collaboration’. Collaboration with the Principal, with the school executive, teachers, students, other Teacher Librarians, parents and the wider community is all very important. To be collaborative, the TL needs to be proactive, have a clear vision and see opportunities almost before they arise. On reading Covey’s ‘Circle of Influence and Concern’, it indicated to me that the proactive person focuses on the ‘Circle of Influence’. They work on the things they can do something about. The nature of their energy is positive, enlarging and magnifying, causing their Circle of Influence to increase.

The things that Teacher Librarians have the most influence over would vary from school to school. As my school embarks on ‘Inquiry Learning’ I plan to work with those teachers that are the most open to this pedagogy (small steps) and from there demonstrate to others our successes. This will hopefully lead to the TL’s ‘Circle of Influence’ expanding to include other teachers and departments within the school.

Hainstock, C. (2008). How can TL’s influence teachers to collaborate with them? TL under construction [web log]. Retrieved 21 September 2013, from http://cathyinoz.edublogs.org/2008/08/16/the-tls-areas-of-influence/

Covey, S. (1990). Habit 1: Be proactive. In The 7 habits of highly effective people: Powerful lessons in personal change (pp. 65-94). New York: Fireside.

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September 21, 2013 · 6:47 am