ETL504 – Assessment item 2 – Report and critical reflection. Part B – Reflective critical analysis

To reflect upon my learning and understanding from this subject, I have learnt a great deal about leadership and change while also gaining respect for how much research has been conducted in this field. Considering leadership is multifaceted (Kay, 2015 blog), the all encompassing deeper understanding I have gained from these studies is the qualification of leadership styles, and the realisation of the need for change processes to occur in schools.

As a recently appointed high school librarian, I have observed the different leadership styles introduced during this subject, and anticipate this process of observation will never cease. This subject has extended my knowledge on the subtitles of leadership and the virtues of different styles. This knowledge will enabled me to identify the different leadership strategies required for different situations, and proceed toward implementing them.

Leadership requires vision, trust, modeling, consideration and empowerment to others, and communication (Collay, 2011). A leader needs direction and this is created through analysis using such models as SWOT (Olsen, 2008) and STEEP (Watt, 2011). Passion, commitment and direction enables the teacher librarian to lead from the middle (Sinek, 2010) and inspire change in the school by collaboratively creating a vision statement and strategic direction which drives adaptation towards twenty-first century learning. This is a significant development from blog post where – the Teacher Librarian can look to needs and directions within the school and collaborate with colleagues (Kay, 2015 blog).

This subject has brought to me realisation of the depth and breadth of study and research related to leadership and change, and how this is relevant to the role the teacher librarian in high schools. To incorporate results, analysis, and recommendations of these studies is sound practice. In order for schools to respond to the rapidly changing social currents, the nature of both leadership and learning require radical rethinking (MacBeth, Dempster and Neil, 2008) and this is where leadership and change theory can be applied. Teaching decisions are an important influence on how well individuals or cohorts are prepared to participate in society as they leave the schooling system (Starkey, 2012), and ultimately, isn’t this what school is all about, preparing students for life after school.

Examination of twenty-first century learning has revealed that critical thinking and problem solving are considered by many to be the new basics of twenty-first century learning (Trilling, Bernie, Fadel, Charles, 2009). The pursuit of twenty-first century skills – collaborative problem-solving, IT, information and economic literacy – requires twenty first century teaching methods… where the role of teachers is no longer to impart knowledge but to guide, discuss and measure progress to know when more support is needed… Innovative schools are designing classrooms for pursuit of knowledge rather than its conveyance and even doing away with them all together . To consider that in the US, the ten most in demand jobs did not exist in 2004 – then twenty-first century education needs to prepare young people for jobs that don’t exist yet, using technologies that haven’t been invented, for which the competition will be global. If we are to develop candidates who are capable of holding their own on a global stage we simply must get better at equipping them with the skills to handle this uncertain future (Hampson, Patton & Shanks, n.d.).

The library is uniquely placed, accessible to all, where these skills of critical thinking and problem solving may be understood and developed. Contained within the General Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2013),(ACARA, 2013) are requirements to develop capabilities in IT, critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, and ethical and cultural understanding going towards addressing the needs raised. With this requirement presented, it is now the challenge of the teacher librarian to lead the school in creating a library culture where students embody purposes, values, norms and obligations in their everyday activities (Sergiovanni, 2008).

My views on implementation twenty-first century learning strategies have developed from forum one where I suggested delivering a consistent, planned and predetermined presentation to each class group regarding the resources (Kay, 2015), to now, where I have developed a plan to implement twenty-first century learning strategies into the year 7 integrated curriculum as the starting point to introduce sweeping change across all learning areas to promote and instill a twenty-first century culture toward the library and learning.

In conclusion, I can now see how the leadership offered by the teacher librarian can take a pivotal role in changing not only the way in which learning occurs in the school library and how the space is used, but, also in a school wide leadership capacity to guide learning by developing educational strategies which align with the principles of twenty-first century learning.

References

Australian Curriculum Assessing and Reporting Authority (January, 2013) General capabilities in the Australian curriculum. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/generalcapabilities/overview/general-capabilities-in-the-australian-curriculum
Collay, M. (2011). Everyday teacher leadership: Taking action where you are. Wiley, Hoboken.
Hampson, M. Patton, A & Shanks, L. (n.d.) 10 ideas for 21st century education. Retrieved from http://www.innovationunit.org/sites/default/files/10%20Ideas%20for%2021st%20Century%20Education.pdf
Kay, G. (March 1, 2105) Re: Task 2b – Secondary Scenario [Online forum comment] Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/messageaction=list_messages&forum_id=_18273_1&nav=discussion_board_entry&conf_id=_6699_1&course_id=_6061_1&message_id=_19367_1#msg__19367_1Id
Kay, G. (April 27, 2105) ETL504 Assessment item 1. Part B – Reflective critical analysis. [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://gregskay.wordpress.com/author/gregskay/
MacBeth, J. Dempster, N. (2008) Connecting leadership and learning: Principles for practice. Taylor and Francis, Hoboken.
Olsen, E. (July, 28, 2008) SWOT Analysis: How to perform one for your organization. [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLF47BA7BC6BDA46B1&v=GNXYI10Po6A#t=12
Sinek, S. (May 4, 2010). Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action. [Video] Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp0HIF3SfI4
Sergiovanni, T.J. (2005). The virtues of leadership. The educational forum, 69:2,
(p.112-123)  Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00131720508984675
Starkey, L. (2012). Teaching and learning in the digital age. Taylor and Francis, Hoboken.
Trilling, B. Fadel, C. (2009). 21st century skills: learning for life in our times.Wiley, Hoboken.
Watt, d. (August 4, 2011). Strategic planning for school libraries. [Video]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/halfpintofwisdom/strategic-planning-for-libraries

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ETL504 Assesment item 1. Part B – Reflective critical analysis

Reflecting on this task has highlight to me the multifaceted nature of Leadership in a school library and the challenges faced by the Teacher Librarian regarding leadership in the school. It has also highlighted to me the benefits of creating a concept map to communicate understanding, for it is this process which challenges to more deeply analyse the nature of leadership in schools and create a visual representation highlighting the Teacher Librarian.

It revealed, in the study of leadership, there are many recent developments in research and thinking, with studies, projects, and evaluations of leadership processes occurring globally. This makes it vital for schools consider these global events, as valid knowledge, by considering and implementing suitable techniques which will result in the school benefiting from the research conducted by others.

For example, it is now considered favourable for all teachers to take part in leadership training. For, if teachers see themselves as leaders then the gap between the teacher and the school leader is automatically narrowed (Townsend, 2011). As a leader each teacher will be equipped to draw from their repertoire of leadership styles such as Transformational, Situational, Servant, Instructional, and even Transactional Leadership when trade-offs are required in negotiation. The teacher may also draw on more recent inclusions such as Authentic, Cognitive, Complexity, and Distributed leadership styles.

It has been revealed to me, that to position the Teacher Librarian within the school leadership structure is situated as an innovative collaborator, a navigator, and problem solver who is passionate, transparent and sharing, and will drive development both within the school library, and on a school wide, as well as global scale. They will adopt a more Transformational style of leadership and will demonstrate vision, appropriate modelling, and acceptance of groups as well as high performance expectations. They will offer individual support and provide intellectual stimulation (Peet et al., as sited in Browning, 2013) for their colleagues. From the learning common of the library, the Teacher Librarian is uniquely placed to communicate with the entire teaching community directly, overcoming the faculty communication hurdles that sometimes exist.

From this base, as part of the complex leadership structure of the school, my understanding is that the teacher Librarian can look to needs and directions within the school and collaborate with colleagues towards equitable resources for all. They can offer instruction leadership through designing innovative learning events for staff and students. They can support individuals using servant leadership to address specific issues, but will consider the strengths of a situational leadership style and ready to adapt or modify to respond in the most appropriate manner. Bogotch and Townsend (2008) commented on this by saying – school leaders must have knowledge about what they have to do, and knowledge about how to approach an unique set of circumstances and conditions that create the uniqueness of every school… that true leadership is artistry and is the place where the ‘what’ and ‘how’ (or the ‘whow’) of school leadership comes together. (Peet et al., as sited in Townsend, 2011).

In conclusion, I now have a much deeper understanding of leadership than I did before, but also realise there is so much more to learn.

References.

Browning, P. (September, 2013). Creating the Conditions for Transformational Change. Australian Educational Leader: v.35 n.3 p.14-17. Retrieved March, 2015 from http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/fullText;dn=200657;res=AEIPT>

Townsend, T. (2011). School leadership in the twenty-first century: Different approaches to common problems? School Leadership and Management, 31(2). (p. 93-103). Retrieved February, 2015 from http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13632434.2011.572419