Assess 2 – Future Proofing & Critical Reflection

25 May

Critical Reflection

I have always seen the Teacher Librarian role somewhat from a stereotypical point of view. This course and especially ETL 504 – Teacher Librarian as Leader has changed my mindset. This subject has extended my knowledge and understanding of the role of a Teacher Librarian and has opened doors to many possibilities and opportunities.

Initially I did not see how being a Teacher Librarian could possibly be a leader. I had difficulty defining my leadership capacity. My definition translated in terms of having an assistant staff member in the library (Abiwahab, 2014a). My predisposed idea of leadership has always been from the traditionally structured, organisational and hierarchical perspective. At school, I viewed leaders as being the Principal, Deputy Principals and Head Teachers, all positions that promote a sense of power (Abiwahab, 2014b; Collay, 2011; Youngs, 2009). The readings within this subject have highlighted the many aspects of leadership that I did not realise. It changed my viewpoint on how I can actually lead, not from the top but from the middle. Transformative leadership models appear more effective in the 21st Century work environment (Kotter, n.d), as they distribute leadership capacities and empowers staff.

This assignment in particular has highlighted the importance of becoming professionally visible and credible and the need to promote my role as a Teacher Librarian and leader, the expertise of library staff and the library as a learning hub for the school community (Sergiovanni, 1984). In order to achieve this, it is necessary for the Teacher Librarian to:

  • Gain advocacy from the Principal concerning the library
  • Collaborate with the school community
  • Communicate library direction and achievements
  • Understand and resource for the new Australian Curriculum and the 21st Century learner
  • Understand the psychology of change and model and support change efforts within the school (Kotter, n.d)
  • Develop professional documents pertaining to policies and strategic short and long-term plans.

The creation of a library vision and strategic plan continues to develop the professionalism, credibility and accountability of the Teacher Librarian’s role within the school community. My previous thoughts on mission and vision statements were somewhat negative. I tended to view them as pompous wordy statements that did not truly reflect an organisations stance. The readings have highlighted the importance of having a well written vision statement which supports and complements the schools overall mission and vision (JISC Infonet, 2012).

Additional to the vision statement is the importance of a library strategic plan which aligns itself with the schools overall strategic direction. A strategic plan sets the library’s future direction and details how this can be achieved. I have developed a better understanding of how a library strategic plan can demonstrate an image of professionalism, credibility and accountability and how this reflects on the role of the Teacher Librarian (Worldbank, n.d.).

This subject has demonstrated that, a good library vision statement and strategic plan can:

  • Set future direction
  • Change community perception of the library’s functionality
  • Generate community understanding of the library’s purpose
  • Project a positive and professional image of the library and Teacher Librarian
  • Depict the Teacher Librarian’s accountability
  • Establish the library as an asset to the school community
  • Demonstrate how the library will assist in enhancing student outcomes.

The readings detailing the processes of STEEP, SWOT and SMART have provided clear guidelines of how these tools can be utilised to implement change and strategic planning in a systematic and effective way (Halfpintofwisdom, 2011; Olsen, 2008a; Olsen, 2008b). It has allowed me to see the preliminary analysis from a perspective that is not so daunting and which can be broken down into opportunity seeking segments rather than a negative challenge of overcoming problems. I have a new found confidence to continually develop and refine the strategic direction of the school library to meet the learning community needs within an ever changing environment.

Overall, the major impact on me is the idea of leading from the middle and how a Teacher Librarian can effectively engage in leadership within the school community (Haycock, 2010). Effective leadership encompasses a combination of charisma and qualities that draw others in to your vision. It promotes collaboration and a desire to move collectively into the future. To be effective as a leader, a Teacher Librarian must consider and action the following:

  • Develop a vision
  • Develop and implement a strategic plan
  • Gain Principal and colleague buy in
  • Build relationships through collaboration and team work
  • Embrace change and support others through the process
  • Collect and use data driven evaluation to guide the future
  • Guide and drive benefits and programs that reach towards the common goal of enhancing student outcomes.

As a Teacher Librarian, I am uniquely positioned for leadership and have abundant opportunities to display and develop those skills across a wide range of activities within the school community. It is necessary for me to continue to develop exemplary interpersonal skills and character traits which will assist in embracing opportunities to effectively lead and support change. I feel my confidence has grown and I now have a clearer understanding, direction and knowledge base which will contribute to further developing my skills and expertise as a Teacher Librarian.

References

Abiwahab, J. (2014a). ETL 504 Teacher Librarian as Leader. Topic Three. Leadership for Learning. Forum Post. Charles Sturt University.

Abiwahab, J. (2014b). ETL 504. Assess 1 – Concept Map and Critical Analysis. Libraryescapades. Retrieved from: https://libraryescapades.wordpress.com/etl-504/

Collay, M. (2011). Teaching is leading. Everyday Teacher Leadership: Taking Action Where You Are, pp. 75-108. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Halfpintofwisdom, (2011). Strategic Planning for School Libraries. Slideshare.net. Retrieved from: http://www.slideshare.net/halfpintofwisdom/strategic-planning-for-libraries

Haycock, S. (2010). Leadership from the Middle: Building Influence for change. In Coatney, S. (Ed.). The many faces of school library leadership. (pp. 1-12) Santa Barbara, Calif.: Libraries Unlimited.

JISC infoNet, (2012). Defining and articulating your vision, mission and values. JISC infoNet. Retrieved from http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/infokits/mission-vision-values/

Kotter, J. (n.d). Kotter International – Innovative Strategy Implementation Professionals. Retrieved from: http://www.kotterinternational.com/our-principles/changesteps

Olsen, E. (2008a). SWOT Analysis: How to perform one for your organisation. On Strategy HQ. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNXYI10Po6A&list=PLF47BA7BC6BDA46B1

Olsen, E. (2008b). How to set SMART goals. On Strategy HQ. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uThBb3kGf4k&list=PLF47BA7BC6BDA46B1#t=15

Sergiovanni, T.J. (1984). Leadership and Excellence in Schooling. Educational Leadership, February, 4-13. Retrieved from, http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_198402_sergiovanni.pdf

Worldbank, (n.d). Strategic Planning: a 10 step guide. Retrieved from: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTAFRREGTOPTEIA/Resources/mosaica_10_steps.pdf

Youngs, H. (2009). (Un)Critical times: Situating distributed leadership in the field. Journal of Educational Administration and History, 41(4), 377-389. Retrieved from, http://www.tandfonline.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/doi/pdf/10.1080/00220620903211588

ETL 504 Mission and Vision Statements

18 May

Locate school and library vision and mission statements. Can you tell the difference between them? Is there a clear delineation?

Locating a school and library vision and mission statement was difficult. I finally came across a school vision statement and a library mission statement. The more I read the statements and compared them to the readings; I seemed to become more and more confused.

Neither one was prominent in official documents and reports and hence does not really promote the core business of the school. The school vision states, ‘A community building pathways to success’ however without a clear definitive mission statement this is rather broad and generic and leaves the vision statement open to interpretation. The library mission statement is more detailed, however the sentence structure is very long and wordy. It concludes with the following statement, ‘Additionally, it supports the school in generating responsible and confident students who create and shape their own learning environment’. This last sentence in the library mission statement can be considered as very broadly alluding to the schools vision statement.

Overall, I personally do not see the school and the library being linear in their statements. The Library places its emphasis on the school learning community; however it still appears somewhat disjointed when considering the school’s vision. It appears as though the library is somewhat a separate entity within the school environment and because of where it is situated, the assumption is made that both the school and library are working towards the core business of education.

I feel that I will be investigating this further in the very near future in order to ensure that future library and school mission and vision statements are more cohesive in nature.

 

References

JISC infoNet, (2012). Defining and articulating your vision, mission and values. JISC infoNet. Retrieved from http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/infokits/mission-vision-values/

JISC infoNet, (2012). What is a mission statement? JISC infoNet. Retrieved from http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/infokits/mission-vision-values/mission-statement/

JISC infoNet, (2012). What is a vision statement? JISC infoNet. Retrieved from http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/infokits/mission-vision-values/vision-statement/

ETL 504 S.T.E.E.P – Environmental Factor

18 May

Consider the environmental tactic of STEEP. Apply this environmental scan to your situation.

 

The focus of the environmental aspect of STEEP relates to how libraries lead the way on green issues and the changing climate, scarce resources and buying locally.

At my school library, we recycle paper and try to limit the amount of printing that occurs. We re-use paper as scrap paper for students and staff (provided there is no sensitive information on it). We also try and recycle any disposed books by taking off any plastic covers and disposing them in the recycle bin.

We haven’t yet moved towards a digital library; however this will be a focus for the future. In stating this, I believe there still is a place for physical books and we would aim to have a combination. Digital libraries will have other impacts in terms of technological availability and accessibility, storage capacity and powering devices. Powering such devices and the necessity to maintain cool temperatures for servers then reflect on the carbon footprint we create.

The ever changing climate of the 21st Century has implications on how the library functions and services the learning community. The digital push may reduce some of the resources into scarcity; these resources include physical books and people.

My attempt to buy locally is sometimes hindered by the current practice and procedures of departmental protocols. I recently bought a book from a small home grown publisher based in Western Australia. I ran into troubles when administration staff questioned how to contact the publisher to place the order and who to make the cheque for. Everything was to be completed online. This highlighted that when procedures and the current purchase climates do not correspond, issues arise.

ETL 504 Professional Learning

25 Apr

Scenario
How will you train the teachers in both the understanding of the continuum and how this can be embedded within their programs? How will you manage your own professional learning strategy? How will you influence and/or guide the professional learning needs of others?

Initially I would make available for all teachers the information on the General Capability of Information and Communication Literacy (ACARA, 2013) and the Australian Charter for the Professional Learning of Teachers and School Leaders (AITSL, 2012) to create awareness and understanding as to why it is important to participate in developing digital literacy across the curriculum.

Pre reading provides an opportunity for staff to reflect on the experiences they already have and what they would like to learn in order to move forward (Semadeni, 2009). I would request feedback from staff as to what kind of digital literacy they feel is needed in order to develop professional learning which is focused on these needs and can be embedded within their programs. Gaining an understanding and input on staff requirements leads to better engagement in learning (Khoboli & O’Toole, 2012; Livingston, 2012).

A representative from each faculty joining the technology team would be beneficial because using a collaborative environment will enhance the professional development that is designed and developed. Considerations will encompass teacher requirements and faculty specific needs. It would also create a better understanding of what curriculum requirements each faculty has (Keengwe, 2013; Rytivaara & Kershner, 2012; Khoboli & O’Toole, 2012). Another means of establishing this would be for the Teacher Librarian to be involved in curriculum planning sessions with each faculty and then reporting findings to the technology team in order to collaboratively map out and design the development needs of the school teaching community.

When designed, these development sessions can be scheduled and delivered over time and revisited and or readjusted as required. They may be facilitated in a number of ways depended on nature of the content, whether it is generic or faculty specialised. Facilitation could be small groups, faculty groups, individualised or peer facilitation just to name a few examples. Ultimately it would be tailored towards the needs of the school community and the time constraints imposed by the day to day teaching and learning schedules (Livingston, 2012).

To manage my own professional learning strategy, I would be heavily involved in the technology team at my school. I would also engage in courses which are relevant to our school community and ensure that this learning is followed up at the local school level (Livingston, 2012). I would try and engage in authentic learning environments and work collaboratively with other teachers (Livingston, 2012).

In essence, I would attempt to make teaching public within my school environment and try and promote a mindset of a learning community. Generating an understanding of professional learning as a social activity within a community of practice will enhance professional development outcomes within the school community (Lieberman & Mace, 2010).

References:

Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2013). General Capabilities of the Australian Curriculum. Retrieved from: http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Pdf/Overview

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). (2012). Australian Charter for the Professional Learning of School Teachers and Leaders. Retrieved from: http://www.aitsl.edu.au/verve/_resources/Australian_Charter_for_the_Professional_Learning_of_Teachers_and_School_Leaders.pdf

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. Retrieved from: http://www.igi-global.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/gateway/chapter/full-text-pdf/68290

Khoboli, B. & O’Toole, J.M. (2012). The Concerns-Based Adoption Model: Teacher Participation in Action Research. Systemic Practice and Action Research, 25(2), 137-148. Retrieved from: http://link.springer.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/article/10.1007/s11213-011-9214-8#

Leiberman, A. & Mace, D.P. (2010). Making Practice Public: teacher Learning in the 21st Century. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1-2), 77-88. Retrieved from: http://jte.sagepub.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/content/61/1-2/77.full.pdf+html

Livingston, K. (2012). Approaches to professional development of teachers in Scotland: pedagogical innovation or financial necessity? Educational Research, 54(2). Retrieved from: http://www.tandfonline.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/doi/pdf/10.1080/00131881.2012.680041

Rytivaara, A. & Kershner, R. (2012). Co-teaching as a context for teachers’ professional learning and joint knowledge construction. Teaching and Teacher Education, 28(7), 999-1008. Retrieved from: http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0742051X12000832

Semadeni, J.H. (2009). Professional development. Taking charge of professional development a practical model for your school (pp. 28-48). Alexandria, VA.: ASCD.

ETL 504 Digital Literacy

25 Apr

What is your understanding of digital literacy? Map your current understanding of digital literacy to the General Capabilities of the Australian Curriculum. How would you develop a digital literacy framework for your school in the context of the Australian Curriculum?

My understanding of digital literacy is the ability to utilise various technological tools (hardware and software) and understand how these tools can enhance teaching and learning.

In the General Capabilities of the Australian Curriculum, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) involves students developing the capabilities to effectively and appropriately use ICT to access, create, communicate, solve problems and work collaboratively in all learning areas at school and in their lives beyond school (ACARA, 2013). My understanding of digital literacy is stated very basically; however it is derived from the concept of being able to use technology in a manner as stated in the General Capabilities.

Technology has globalised the learning environment making it necessary to embrace technology as it is a means of constructing learning in a multi modal manner. The ability to stay adept with technology enables the learner greater control over how, where and when they learn (ACARA, 2013). It also provides the opportunity to interact with other learners on a global scale which fits with Vygotsky and Bruner’s social constructivist theory where there is an emphasis learner interactions and the dialogue used (Pritchard, 2008) to construct learning.

To develop a digital literacy framework, I would work collaboratively with interested teachers. A good starting point would be from within the technology team at my school. It would be necessary to articulate an overall goal and then break this down into smaller achievable aims that can be completed within the restrictions of time availability. Teachers can engage in highly focused and scaffolded in-house professional development which will hopefully flow into classroom teaching and learning practices. This will also enhance digital literacy across the curriculum.

References:

Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2013). General Capabilities of the Australian Curriculum. Retrieved from: http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/information-and-communication-technology-capability/introduction/introduction

Pritchard, A. (2008). Cognitive constructivist learning. Ways of learning (2nd ed., pp. 17-33). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

ETL 504 Leadership

25 Apr

* What is your understanding of leadership for learning?

My understanding of leadership for learning is that being a leader still entails learning and this occurs simultaneously as the process of leading occurs (MacBeath & Dempster, 2009). This type of leadership has a focus on learning that is conducted collaboratively and shared within an environment with a common purpose or goal.

References:

MacBeath, J.E. & Dempster, N. (2009). Leadership for learning. Connecting leadership and learning: principles for practice (pp. 32-52). London Routledge.

 

 

* Have you identified any particular element of leadership practice in collaborative environments, that has made you stop and think about the practical professional opportunities that you may like to explore or adopt in your school?

As stated in Collay (2011), I viewed leadership as having a hierarchical structure within the school environment, stemming in structure from the Principal, Deputy Principals, Head Teachers and then Teachers. I also had the view that more experienced teachers as having seniority from a leadership perspective.

Collay (2011) highlighted the fact that teachers are all leaders within the classroom or the library in the case of Teacher Librarians. It also places a focus on the classroom as the nucleus of leadership in schools, which is a concept that I had not considered before.

An approach I would like to explore in the future is working more collaboratively, using a problem based learning strategy (Goodnough, 2005) to integrate teaching and learning opportunities that can be explored within the library and the classroom which will extend across the curriculum. Working collaboratively will provide an environment that brings various experiences to the table, all of which are working towards the common goal of our primary business of education.

References:

Collay, M. (2011). Teaching is leading. Everyday Teacher Leadership: Taking Action Where You Are (pp. 75-108). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Goodnough, K. (2005). Fostering Teacher Learning through Collaborative Inquiry. Clearing House, 79(2), 88-92. Retrieved from: http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=55d4dd8f-816f-4719-bac8-30ba6d0ec3f9%40sessionmgr198&vid=2&hid=120

ETL 401 Assess 2 TL Role Reflection

27 May

Many people have a stereotypical view of a teacher librarian. This perspective stems from the past when libraries were places warehousing many printed books and instilled hushed tones and a quiet atmosphere. To some extent, I too, had a stereotypical image of a teacher librarian in mind when I thought about the role. My image involved assisting students locate and access library resources, ensuring relevant and interesting resources are available and an atmosphere that ‘buzzed’ but was not as loud as the outdoors. Walking around the library, I noticed teachers trying to quiet students by reminding them that they are in a library and that it is a place of hushed voices and quiet serenity. It was then, that I realised that most staff members also have a stereotypical view concerning the teacher librarian and it is a necessity to first break through these viewpoints in order to reduce barriers created. This stereotype image of the library and teacher librarian, however, is no longer the case in today’s reality. The library is a learning resource centre that is a buzzing hub of the school community.

Technology is changing the physical and information landscape of the library. As the Teacher Librarian, it is essential to keep up with these changes and constantly adapt to the fluid environment created. It is now necessary to be able to create an ‘environment that combines the best of the physical and virtual worlds of learning’ (Lamb, 2011, p27). The technological push within my school environment and the fact that students embrace technology is driving my interest in extending my knowledge and skills in technology. It is not enough to understand the basics when we, as teacher librarians, must assist in equipping students with the skills to become lifelong learners (Herring, 2007 and Lamb, 2011). In order to do so, it is also necessary to equip classroom teachers with the necessary skills of integrating technology into their instructional practice whilst meeting the curriculum requirements.

Oberg (2006) suggests that Teacher Librarians suffer from occupational invisibility and this is caused by many contributing factors. The idea of occupational invisibility did not really enter my mind, until I came across this concept. I realised there is a truth to this viewpoint because of the physical isolation of the library and timetable scheduling (Oberg, D. 2006). The school library is housed in a separate building and it is very hard to interact with other staff members due to time tabling. Added to this, Hartzell (2002) suggests that the nature of the role of empowering others, affects the Teacher Librarian’s visibility in contributing to learner outcomes. This work is often absorbed by the classroom teacher’s success.

As Teacher Librarian, it is important to gain a presence within the school community and ensure a professional and positive image is projected. To do this, it is essential to closely collaborate with the school Principal and classroom teachers. The school Principal, as a leader and role model, needs to positively promote the library and the role of the teacher librarian. This is achieved by actively encouraging and allowing time friendly schedules which enable staff members to collaborate with each other. This has highlighted the necessity to ensure open communication and a good working relationship between the teacher librarian, the Principal and classroom teachers. To ensure the library and the role of teacher librarian is positively viewed, I realise that I need to advertise and self-promote in order to establish a presence in the school community (Valenza, J. 2010).

Collaboration is an essential element and it is necessary to be involved from the early stages of curriculum planning. As a Teacher Librarian, the role has a focus on two elements, one of being a qualified teacher with pedagogical knowledge as well as a qualified librarian with information management knowledge and skills. (ASLA, 2012). The ETL 401 course has broadened my perception of my role as I have found that it is easy to become narrow sighted and only focus on the librarian aspect. To fulfil the position adequately, it is necessary to remind oneself and others that a teacher librarian is also a qualified teacher. By collaborating in curriculum planning, it will be possible to develop appropriate problem based assessments which will encourage students to develop and utilise 21st century information literacy skills. Incorporating an information literacy model, such as the Big6 model (Eisenberg, M. 2008) within the curriculum will benefit students in developing these skills across the curriculum. Teacher Librarians, along with classroom teachers can collaboratively prepare students to become lifelong learners of the future.

A teacher librarian has a critical role within the school community. It is not sufficient to think that a teacher librarian is only responsible for running the library and ensuring adequate resources are available. The role entails being a teacher and a librarian and this in itself involves many tasks and responsibilities which need to be properly reflected in today’s society.

References
Australian School Library Association (ASLA). (2012). Teacher Librarian Role Statement Qualification. Retrieved 20 March 2013 from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/teacher-librarian-qualifications.aspx

Eisenberg, M.B. (2008). Information Literacy: Essential Skills for the Information Age. Journal of Library and Information Technology, 28 (2), (pp. 39-47). Washington, DESIDOC.

Hartzell, G. (2002). What’s it Take. Washington White House Conference on School Libraries. Retrieved 08 April 2013 from http://www.laurabushfoundation.com/Hartzell.pdf

Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.) Libraries
in the twenty-first century : charting new directions in information (pp. 27-42).

Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with Potential: Mixing a Media Specialist’s Palette. Tech Trends: Linking Research to Improve Learning, 55 (4) (pp. 27-36).

Oberg, D. (2006). Developing the Respect and Support of School Administrators. Teacher Librarian; Feb 2006; 33, 3, pp 13-18. Retrieved 09 April 2013 from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/docview/224879111/fulltextPDF

Valenza, J. (2010). Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians. Retrieved 20 March 2013 from: http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2010/12/03/a-revised-manifesto/