The first modules within the ETL504, Teacher Librarian as Leader has forced me to re-assess my view of the role of the Teacher Librarian within the school setting. As I am not currently working as a Teacher Librarian, this assignment has required me to critically consider Teacher Librarian’s practice that I have been involved with. It has allowed me to critically analyse aspects of leadership that have been successful, whilst allowing me to recognise areas that I would personally modify given the leadership opportunity.
I additionally have analysed the role that I have taken on within the school setting as a leader and compared it to circumstances where I was a team member and was being lead by a peer. This metacognitive reflection guided my practice when creating the mind map. I identified the key specific skills demonstrated by successful leaders, in order to expand my understanding. I found the goals for best practice discussed in the Standards of Professional Excellence for TLs (ASLA, 2004) was aligned to my thoughts and feelings towards leadership.
Articles by Marzano, Waters, and McNulty (2005) re-enforced my opinion that effective leaders guide their teams in decision-making and problem solving by demonstrating their deep knowledge and understanding. Furthermore, deep technical understanding, high interpersonal skills and conceptual knowledge are essential to successful leadership. I realised that successful leaders are proactive and involve a team in the collaborative process, further enabling others (Hay and Todd, 2010). The leader ensured that the task was more successfully implemented, additionally increasing the self efficacy of the team members involved. This process avoided situations where a stage or group leader made decisions independently within the school. Such as purchasing resources or implementing a new system, to only have it fail because other team members were not invested or did not fully recognise how to incorporate this into their teaching.
The Stephen Covey questionnaire, made me recognise how little leadership I have been directly involved with in the school setting. This is reflective of my short career as a teacher. However, I was able to draw upon leadership roles I have had in the corporate world and reflect on what had worked well. These same leadership attributes could be transferred to the school setting. I additionally analysed the questionnaire options and recognised approaches that I had seen other leaders implement less successfully. When taking this into consideration I initially used post-it notes to identify and collate my ideas for the concept map. However, the more I expanded my knowledge and understanding through course readings and my own independent research, the more I changed my ideas and priorities. At his point I found it was more practical to use the map creation tool ‘bubbl.us’ as I could move and manipulate my ideas, exporting them to ensure I had a saved copy that I could come back at a later date to readdress.
This reflection allowed me to recognise that effective leaders were those who not only had a deep contextual knowledge and understanding but also were additionally guided by a direction, effective communication and vision of where they wanted to more forward to (Sergiovanni, 2005). This moral purpose gave guidance and ensured that when decision-making was required there was a clear direction to move towards. These leaders encouraged collaboration between staff members, achieving the most from their team as people contributed and become involved. This in turn increased the ownership of the task for all team members, ensuring that once the final decision was made colleagues fully understood the results and wanted to implement the changes and take action.
ASLA. (April 2013). Future learning and school libraries. Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/site/DefaultSite/…../2013-ASAL-futures-paper.pdf
Hay, L. and Todd, R. (2010). School Libraries 21C: the conversation begins. SCAN, 29 (1).
Marzano, R., Waters, T. and McNulty, B. (2005). School Leadership That Works : From Research to Results. [e-book] Alexandria, Vancouver: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. pp. 13-27. Available through: Charles Sturt University http://site.ebrary.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/lib/csuau/docDetail.action?docID=10089219
Sergiovanni, T. (2005). The Virtues of Leadership. The Educational Forum, 69 (Winter), Retrieved from: http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/detail?sid=6286c3ce-a817-4702-b7dd-774995251aa2%40sessionmgr13&vid=1&hid=11&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=ehh&AN=15852244