My understanding of what leadership is has been expanded from my first initial perspective. I have realised the importance of leadership within my role, not only, as classroom teacher, but also my future role of Teacher Librarian within school. Leadership is the ability to influence or inspire others to achieve shared goals (Dees, 2007, p. 1) and it is clear that the several aspects which should be exhibited for effective leadership can easily be integrated into the school library.
I have learned that there is more to leadership then the principal’s role. On a daily basis I am surrounded by an amazing professional learning community. This team has shown me the importance that effective leadership has. Prior to my current workplace I experienced the impact that ineffective leadership can have. If an organisation has no communication or collaboration amongst colleagues then the dynamics of the school will fizzle. Collaboration is vital towards successful outcomes not only by staff but students as well. Hargreaves (2007, p. 224) states, ‘teachers need to work and inquire into their teaching together rather than teaching in their classrooms alone; professional learning has to be continuous, the teaching profession needs to develop dispositions of taking risks and welcoming change rather than staying with proven procedures and comfortable routines – transforming for the better’.
Innovation in libraries is a critical component of meeting the needs of changing an educational environment and the changes in students learning needs, as technology is further embedded into our everyday life (Crotty, 2013, p.3). A TL must take on a leadership role by providing professional development for classroom technology integration, sharing information about new resources, and demonstrating innovative instructional tools (Dees, 2010). It is crucial they contribute to the school environment in ways that create better learning opportunities for the students and teaching staff. The TL needs to continue to make the effort to be an advocate of change within the school context.
One thing I have discovered is ‘leadership is complex!’ (Jarecki, n.d) There are several models that control all aspects of people through to theories that place emphasis on empowering people to complete tasks and ensure they believe in the organisations goals and vision (Crotty, 2013, p. 2). Leadership theory looks at:
-Relationship based on influence
-Leaders & followers
-Intend real change
-Develop mutual purpose
Transformational leadership is the theory my workplace encompasses and a model which has inspired me to facilitate within the school library. Transformational leaders are focused on making tomorrow better.
A video of inspiration and engaging ideas was Don Tapscott’s video ‘Four principles for the open world’. He mentions that:
- Social media – is the new means of production in the making
- We must create opportunities to engage with the community
- Students have such powerful tools at their fingertips. We need to use these to engage them.
- Students have no fear of technology
- You should share your knowledge and understanding of new technologies, innovative tools and resources.
Tapscott’s principals of collaboration, transparency, sharing and empowerment could be applied to any initiative a TL could be trying to incorporate into the library and one which I feel is important to integrate in my future career.
Crotty, R. (2013). Organisational Theory [ETL504 Module 1]. Retrieved April 8, 2009, from Chalres Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL504_201330_W_D/page/2179fa2f-bbfd-4f13-803d-da9d7fd8c83e
Dees, D. (2007). Today’s school library media specialist leader. Library media connection. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=e058800b-3e55-46a5-b170-a755ddfb3a76%40sessionmgr4&vid=2&hid=27
Jarecki, E. (n.d.). Leadership theory and critical skills. Retrieved from http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL504_201330_W_D/page/2179fa2f-bbfd-4f13-803d-da9d7fd8c83e
Hargreaves, A. (2007). Sustainable leadership and development in education: creating the future, conserving the past. European Journal of Education, 42(2), 224-233. Retrieved from http://www.internationalfuturesforum.com/iffblog_old/wp-content/uploads/2007/06/hargreaves-eje-past-present-and-future.pdf
Tapscott, D. (2013, June, 10-14). Don Tapscott – Four Principles for the open world. Retrieved from http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL504_201330_W_D/page/2179fa2f-bbfd-4f13-803d-da9d7fd8c83e