I had never previously considered the teacher librarian (TL) to be a leader, or the need for the TL to be a leader until undertaking ETL504. I had never seen a TL in any work environment lead the school in any educational initiative except for book week. So the idea of the importance and responsibility of the TL as leader was new to me (Australian Library and Information Association/Australian School Library Association [ALIA/ASLA], (2002); Wong, 2012, p. 24; Miss Lizzie, 2013a)
I began ETL504 with a strong understanding of leadership within a school because previous to this course, I had 10 years’ experience as assistant principal. My initial understanding of the principles, skills, qualities and attributes of leadership which should also be embodied in a TL as leader included (Miss Lizzie 2013b):
· Working collaboratively with staff on planning, programming, assessing, reporting and evaluating
· Supporting staff members and students in professional learning
· Communicating well including:
o Listening to concerns and requests for assistance, negotiating acceptable outcomes and following through as quickly as possible
o Encouraging others through verbal and written feedback
o Offering opportunities and suggestions if I observe that there may be an aspect of practice that may require development
o Getting on well with others. Good interpersonal skills
· Being prepared for planning days, meetings and presentations so work can be completed efficiently and effectively
· Leading positively by example. Model what you expect
· Negotiating. Allow team members choice and ownership in the decision making process. More heads are better than one.
· Motivating and inspiring others
· Being flexible
· Sharing responsibility for projects and achievements and acknowledging the good work of others.
I’ve learnt the TL’s leadership role is about establishing an educational vision and an accompanying long-term strategic plan to focus the role of the library services and the TL in the achievement of student learning outcomes within the school. Decisions and actions focused on the vision will inspire others to join in and contribute to that vision (Combes, 2009; Sinek, 2008; Miss Lizziec, Miss Lizzie, 2013c). The strategic plan must be built on a needs assessment including student learning needs. It must also include contributions from all key stakeholders, which will promote ownership and success of the plan (Nelson, 2008, p. 4). The TL as leader must communicate the vision through professional dialogue, staff meetings, collaborative planning, demonstrations/modelling, and by being proactive in the school community. Modelling the behaviour, strategies, and enthusiasm required is also needed to achieve the vision (O’Connell, 2012, p. 224; Belisle, 2005, p. 78; Sinek, 2008).
I have learnt that a TL needs to work as an instructional leader to develop leadership for learning across the school, ensuring all decisions and actions are focused on the achievement of the vision and its moral purpose. Leadership for learning is educational practice that involves explicit dialogue, maintaining a focus on learning, nurturing conditions that facilitate learning, and leadership that is shared and accountable. Learning and leadership are linked by the purpose of the vision (MacBeath & Dempster, 2008, p. 42; Miss Lizzie, 2013d). Leadership for learning improves teaching practice and student learning outcomes through promoting analysis, critical reflection and a cycle of continuous improvement. It involves the TL and other teachers engaging in instructional leadership through modelling and collaboration (Neumerski, 2013, p. 318; Miss Lizzie, 2013d ).
Whilst I knew collaboration was valuable, I learnt that it promotes effective professional learning and growth through engagement in dialogue, reflection, socio-emotional support, testing of innovative ideas, and encouragement. A rich collaborative network also results in gains in staff confidence, motivation and morale (Harris & Muijs, as cited in O’Donoghue & Clark, 2010, p. 90; Fullan & Hargreaves, as cited in O’Donoghue & Clark, 2010, p. 90). As a newly appointed TL, I will implement Collay’s (2011) approach to instructional leadership where ideas are trialled as an individual, then as a grade group before sharing it with the whole staff. This allows time for collaborative discussion, analysis, critical reflection, further trials if needed and gathering evidence of effectiveness (Miss Lizzie, 2013e). In addition to collaboration, I learnt the TL needs to provide other professional learning opportunities for colleagues in a range of delivery modes, in order to cater to learning styles, for variety, and in an attempt to reduce barriers of communication (Miss Lizzie, 2013f; Miss Lizzie, 2013g; Pashiardis & Savvides, 2011, p. 424; Møller et al., as cited in Pashiardis & Savvides, 2011, p. 414; Alanis Business Academy, 2012; Rai & Rai, 2009).
I have enjoyed learning about the TL as leader in ETL504, and I am eager to share my vision with my principal and start on its implementation!
Alanis Business Academy. (2012). How the communication process works. Retrieved on August 30, 2013 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6u0AVn-NUM
Australian Library and Information Association/Australian School Library Association [ALIA/ASLA]. (2002). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved on September 25, 2013 from www.alia.org.au/sites/default/files/documents/ALIA.ASLA_.2004.TLstandards2013.05.30.JB_.pdf
Belisle, C. (2005). The teacher as leader: Transformational leadership and the professional teacher or teacher-librarian. School libraries in Canada (17108535), 24(3), 73-79.
Bender, Y. (2005). The tactful teacher effective communication with parents, colleagues, and administrators. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University Library.
Collay, M. (2011). Teaching is leading. In Everyday Teacher Leadership: Taking Action Where You Are. Retrieved on August 9, 2013, from Charles Sturt University Library.
Combes, B. (2009). Challenges for teacher librarianship in the 21st century: Part 3 – Status and role. In SCIS Connections. Retrieved on September 16, 2013 from http://www2.curriculum.edu.au/scis/connections/challenges_for_teacher_librarianship.html
Retrieved on September 29, 2013 fromhttps://thelivelylibrarian.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/part-b-assessment-2-critical-reflection/
Miss Lizzie. (2013b). Teacher librarian as leader – ETL504 module 1 forum. Retrieved on September 29, 2013 from https://thelivelylibrarian.wordpress.com/2013/07/23/teacher-librarian-as-leader-etl504-module-1-forum/
Miss Lizzie. (2013c). ETL504 teacher librarian as leader – Module 6.1 forum posting. Retrieved on September 29, 2013 from https://thelivelylibrarian.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/etl504-teacher-librarian-as-leader-module-6-1-forum-posting/
Miss Lizzie. (2013d). Leadership for learning – ETL504 module 3.1 forum posting. Retrieved on September 29, 2013 from https://thelivelylibrarian.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/leadership-for-learning-etl504-module-3-1-forum-posting/
Miss Lizzie. (2013e). Collaborative curriculum programs – ETL504 module 3.2 forum posting. Retrieved on September 29, 2013 from https://thelivelylibrarian.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/collaborative-curriculum-programs-etl504-module-3-2-forum-posting/
Miss Lizzie (2013f ). ETL504 teacher librarian as leader – Module 6.1 forum posting. Retrieved on September 29, 2013 from https://thelivelylibrarian.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/etl504-teacher-librarian-as-leader-module-6-1-forum-posting/
Miss Lizzie (2103g). Communication processes – ETL504 module 4.3 forum posting. Retrieved on September 29, 2013 from https://thelivelylibrarian.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/communication-processes-etl504-module-4-3-forum-posting/
Nelson, S. (2008). Part one: The planning process. Strategic Planning for Results (pp. 3-139). Retrieved from Charles Sturt University Library.
Neumerski, C. M. (2013). Rethinking instructional leadership, a review: What do we know about principal, teacher, and coach instructional leadership, and where should we go from here? Educational Administration Quarterly, 49(2), 310-347. doi:10.1177/0013161X12456700
O’Connell, J. (2012). Change has arrived at an iSchool library near you. In Information literacy beyond library 2.0 (pp. 215-228). Retrieved from Charles Sturt University Library.
O’Donoghue, T. A. & Clarke, S. (2010). Teachers learning and teachers leading. Leading learning: process, themes and issues in international contexts (pp. 87-99). Retrieved from Charles Sturt University Library.
Pashiardis, P., & Savvides, V. (2011). The interplay between instructional and entrepreneurial leadership styles in Cyprus rural primary schools. Leadership & policy in schools, 10(4), 412-427. doi:10.1080/15700763.2011.610557
Rai, U., & Rai, S. M. (2009). Effective communication. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University Library.
Sinek, S. (2008). How great leaders inspire action (Sinek, 2009). In TED Ideas worth spreading. Retrieved on September 16, 2013, from http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html
Wong, T. (2012). Strategic long-range planning. Library media connection, 31(2), 22-24. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University Library.