ETL 504 Teacher Librarian As Leader Critical Reflection (Assignment 2 Part B)
I have found examining leadership in ETL 504 inspiring. I entered the course with the perspective that leadership is a natural talent I do not possess, that I was not in a leadership position, and that I would make a poor leader. I have since learned that leadership is a skill that can be developed and improved, that anyone in a school can be a leader, and that with training and development I can be an effective leader.
Upon my initial examination of leadership styles I realised I want to be a transformational leader, but was an instructional leader. After discovering transformational leadership can be an expansion of instructional leadership (Hunt, 2013) I researched transformational leadership with renewed interest. I have discovered key skills I will need to develop are the ability to delegate, and the patience to become a coach more than an instructor (Brocker, 2012 March 22). What I see as the benefits of transformational leadership in my school context is the focus on spending time creating a shared vision of 21st century schooling, developing people’s skills, focusing on supporting and recognising individuals, and the creation of an environment in which innovation and risk taking is fostered (Better Business Learning, 2012 July 11). All of this is an investment of time and energy for the long term benefit of student learning. I have learned that keeping student learning at the forefront of what is done at schools should be the primary focus of any school leadership (Hunt, 2013c).
Importantly studying ETL 504 has extended my knowledge and understanding of how to be an effective leader as a Teacher Librarian (TL) and work collaboratively towards a shared vision. While there is not room to cover all this strategic information here, key strategies that were new for me were:
- Taking measured steps in solving problems. I was most interested in the seven step problem solving (BNet Video, 2011 June 8) for its focus on getting to the true cause of the problem and engaging in meaningful evaluation, not just of the solution but the process taken to arrive at the solution. I enjoyed practicing using these steps in the Module 1 activity (Hunt, 2013a).
- Methods for leading change. I was most interested in Kotter’s (n.d) and Tapscott’s (2012) methodologies, and discussed a blending of the two in the Module 2 forum (Hunt, 2013b).
- Methods for behavioural change. I learned that beyond planning and leadership participants in successful change need meaningful opportunities for application, reflection, making sense of what they’ve learned, and planning to incorporate change (Cameron & Green, 2004).
- Collaboration. Before this course I was focused on engaging students in collaborative learning, but I now realise that staff collaboration is equally vital. It is clear that teachers gain valuable learning when they engage in meaningful reflection through professional dialogue with each other (Donoghue & Clarke, 2010). Of course this collaboration can be focused on teachers and students, such as teachers collaborating with the TL to develop units using the ADDIE process (Keengwe, 2013), which was a new tool for me.
I now notice that in my reflective blog task I did not mention communication skills at all, other than to mention that sharing is important (Hunt, 2013). This is a key area I will need to develop for effective leadership as a TL. The leadership skills test I undertook identified my need to work on my emotional intelligence, particularly in how my response to stressful situations can impact on others (MindTools.com, n.d.). I also need to focus on being 100% present when listening (MinuteMBA, 2012 November 13).
Another deficit was my complete lack of knowledge about strategic planning. My studies in this area have demonstrated to me the need for thorough research, and for creating a strategic plan focused on student learning that can act as a guiding vision for the school library (Wong, 2012) and shape the library’s provision of services. I now have some useful tools, such as conducting a SWOT analysis (My Strategic Plan, 2008 July 28), to aid me in strategic planning in the future.
In concluding my reflective blog task, I expressed hope I could become a transformational leader as a TL who drives change that positively impacts on pedagogy and student learning (Hunt, 2013). I now feel I have the practical tools to support that aspiration, and have the potential to turn my vision for creating a 21st century school library into a reality.
Better Business Learning. (2012, July 11). What is transformational leadership? [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=60O2OH7mHys#!
BNet Video. (2011, June 8). 7 Step Problem Solving. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZXDGQSuF9I
Brocker, B. (2012, March 22). Leadership Theory and Critical Skills. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=uzAzhiEsZtY#!
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.
Donoghue, T. A., & Clarke, S. (2010). Teachers learning and teachers leading. Leading learning: process, themes and issues in international contexts (pp. 87-99). London: Routledge.
Hunt, R. (2013). ETL504 Teacher Librarian As leader Reflective Blog Task For Assignment 1. Retrieved from http://tljourney.edublogs.org/2013/04/07/etl504-teacher-librarian-as-leader-reflective-blog-task-for-assignment-1/
Hunt, R. (2013a, March 24). 7 step – secondary. [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL504_201330_W_D/page/dba28d8b-577d-4280-00cd-ca863f48308
Hunt, R. (2013b, March 27). Tapscott’s Four Principles. [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL504_201330_W_D/page/8af49f05-c844-4192-007c-7f0e3228f688
Hunt, R. (2013c, April 22). Leadership For Learning. [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL504_201330_W_D/page/48594e65-e7a3-481e-0082-16efe0375209
Keengwe, J. (2013). Multi-modal professional development for faculty. Virtual mentoring for teachers: online professional development practices (pp. 43-65). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.
Kotter, J. (2012). Kotter International – Change Leadership. Kotter International – Innovative Strategy Implementation Professionals. Retrieved January 28, 2013, from http://www.kotterinternational.com/our-principles/change-leadership
MindTools.com. (n.d.). How Good Are Your Leadership Skills? Mind Tools – Management Training, Leadership Training and Career Training. Retrieved from http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_50.htm
MinuteMBA. (2012, November 13). Let Your Ears Do the Talking: How Good Managers Listen. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nk1VnXTC1_I
My Strategic Plan. (2008, July 28) SWOT Analysis: How to perform one for your organization. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLF47BA7BC6BDA46B1&feature=player_embedded&v=GNXYI10Po6A#!
Tapscott, D. (2012). Don Tapscott: Four principles for the open world. TEDGlobal 2012. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/don_tapscott_four_principles_for_the_open_world_1.
Vanhook, C. (2009). [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/librariesrock/4064275305/