Assignment 1 Blog Task
Based on your work in Part A, write a blog post that articulates and reflects upon your own understanding and practice of leadership in a school library.
Prior to beginning ETL504 – Teacher Librarian as Leader, I had not given any thought to the leadership role I would play as a future teacher librarian. I had thought about the collaboration necessary to run a successful school library, and had thought of the advocating I would have to do for the library’s sake, and even thought of what I might be able to teach other teachers such as the importance of information literacy and inquiry learning, but I had never made the connection to the leadership that would be required to bring these things to fruition. What an oversight!
Lending from my introverted nature, my leadership style before taking the subject would be best described as Sosik & Dionne’s (as quoted in Marzano, Waters, & McNalty, 2005) management-by-exception-passive transactional leadership – waiting for problems to arise before taking leadership action and “maintain[ing] the status quo” (p. 14). I now realise a teacher librarian must strive to become a transformational leader if they are to help the school’s library change and make a difference for the better.
So how can a TL make a difference and lead in a school library? Through:
- professional development opportunities,
- collaboration opportunities,
- policy making (library and the wider school),
- decision making and problem solving (also library and the wider school),
- leading innovation and change (both in the library and school wide) with goals and vision.
Firstly, a TL holding a sound pedagogical footing and knowledge in a wide range of curricula will help them lead Pro-D opportunities and initiate collaboration with classroom teachers. Knowledge is a key ingredient for leadership (Hackman & Wageman, 2007, p. 45), and basing the school culture on “continuous learning” (Hackman & Wageman, 2007, p. 46) will create a school culture where staff is willing and wanting to share knowledge and ideas collaboratively.
Next, a TL will need to show leadership in library and school based policy making procedures and resource management (School Leadership Capability Framework, 2006). Having a school based distributed leadership style will enable the TL to step up where it affects the library and to also contribute their knowledge in other fields throughout the school (Marzano, 2005, p. 22). This then ties to decision making and problem solving which will be a big part of the TL’s leadership duties. Whether it is how the library is used with classes, when and how long classes visit the library, or even down to budget and resource allowance, the TL will need to use leadership skills such as “communication and clarity of purpose” (Crotty, 2013, 1.3) in a collaborative way to make decision and solve problems
Lastly, innovation and change must be a part of a TL’s leadership mindset if they are to be a transformational, 21st century leader for their school library. Cameron & Green’s (2004) cognitive approach to change advocates for the use of goals (p. 27), as does Schifter (2008, p. 44). Without change and innovation, the leading a TL will do will be solely based on managing and maintaining the status quo with no vision for the future (Kotter, n.d.). Goal setting and vision creation will ensure library leadership is with the future in mind, and hopefully to make the library better.
Cameron, E., & Green, M. (2004). Individual change. Making sense of change management a complete guide to the models, tools & techniques of organizational change (pp. 12-61). London: Kogan Page.
Crotty, R. (2013). Organisation Theory: Decision making and problem solving [ETL504 Module 1.3]. Retrieved April 1, 2013 from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL504_201330_W_D
Hackman, J., & Wageman, R. (2007). Asking the Right Questions About Leadership. American Psychologist, 62(1), 43-47.
Kotter, J. (n.d.). Kotter International – Change Leadership. Kotter International – Innovative Strategy Implementation Professionals. Retrieved April 1, 2013, from http://www.kotterinternational.com/our-principles/change-leadership
Marzano, R. J., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. A. (2005). Some theories and theorists on leadership. School leadership that works: from research to results (pp. 13-27). Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development;. Retrieved March 3, 2013 from http://site.ebrary.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/lib/csuau/docDetail.action?docID=10089219
Schifter, C. (2008). Chapter 14. Effecting Change in the Classroom Through Professional Development. Infusing technology into the classroom: continuous practice improvement (pp. 250 – 279). Hershey: Information Science Pub..
School Leadership Capability Framework. (2006, June 1). Professional Learning and Leadership Development. Retrieved March 20, 2013, from https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/proflearn/areas/sld/frameworks/slcf/slcf_more.htm