Critical Reflection – Assignment 2 – ETL504

This blog is an assignment submission.

Wow! When I take a step back and look at this subject I realise my knowledge and understandings of what a Teacher Librarian as a Leader is has expanded dramatically since I first delved into the meaning of leadership within the school library (Hamilton, 2013a).

It was hard at first to begin to look at the wider picture, expanding outside the box. At the start of this subject I was a casual teacher and felt that leadership was not relevant to my school situation (Hamilton, 2013b). Since then, I have started full time teaching and have seen my understanding of leadership not only grow within this subject but within myself as a person. The leadership qualities and aspects that I would expect in a person is now what I demonstrate within my work place.

Focusing on the future for this assignment really had me stumped. I had to ask myself how I would envision the library beyond 2013. Frantsi (2002) suggests that A good school library is the present and the future of the developing learning culture.’ This presented the importance of this strategic plan to the school library context and how vital it is for students learning in the 21st century. Working closely with my school teacher librarian I have learnt how he views the school library and where he expects our school to be by the year 2016 (Paull, 2013). Strategically planning what technology and changes that I would like to see take place and the major issues that affect these changes made this assignment a complex, but fantastic opportunity to expand my knowledge of 21C learning.

Leading learning today in a digital world is different and the leadership challenge placed before teacher librarians is both exciting and challenging, encompassing as it does all aspects of literacy, meta-literacy, technology, and professional development in collaborative partnerships with students and teachers (Crotty, 2013). When we discover our role of leader within the school context we begin to realise the vital role that teacher librarians have but as Connect2tls (n.d) states, it is important that others are aware of what it is exactly the teacher librarians does.

Excellent teacher librarians are the richest resource in the learning centre and the library should be seen as an expansion of the classroom, it should remain the central hub of the school (Connect2tls, n.d). The ASLA (2013) helps us to clearly define the following characteristics of an excellent teacher librarian should present, they are:

–          Valuable curriculum knowledge and pedagogy

–          Knowledgeable in library and information management skills

–          Supportive and help implement the vision of their school communities through advocating and building effective library

services

–          Contributors to the development of lifelong learners

–          A leader within the school community

–          Creatively and confidently building effective learning environments

–          Building and fostering collaborative teams within school and professional communities

Over this course I have learnt that collaboration is a huge part of not only this subject but the whole school. Aguilar (n.d) states that, strong teams within a school are essential to retaining and sustaining teachers. If a team is effective, then people learn from each other. They accomplish far more possible then they could have done alone. I really felt that this covered exactly what it was that collaboration was all about and even thought about sticking it up into my staffroom.

When I reflect back to my first forum posting I feel that my interpretation on what leadership was and what and is now is still how I feel about leadership…
My understanding of what leadership is within the school complex is a person who:
– knows and understands all the ins and outs of the school community
– willing to lead a school in the right direction
– Someone who considers all thoughts and ideas within the team
– Prepared to implement and try new technologies and procedures to advance the school in the 21C
– Collaborates/engages with staff and school community
– Approachable, easy to get along with, but also understands the importance of where to draw the line and lead their staff.

(Hamilton, 2013b)

As a teacher librarian we take on many different roles within our position. Whether it is suggesting ideas to other staff on how to plan for/implement lessons, implementing new technological tools, providing professional development, empowering students with lifelong learning skills or simply collaboration with other staff. TLs are an advocate for change to push the school into the 21C.

As Luca (2010) puts it perfectly,

Libraries are not going to be about the book collection forever. They are about being a connective space; a space where reading, discussion and discovery take place. Teacher Librarians need to be the information guru enabling new understandings of how we go about finding out what it is we need. It means letting go of knowledge and giving it up to empower others. Don’t see that as a threat, view it as an opportunity!

References

Aguilar, E. (n.d.). Effective Teams: The Key to Transforming Schools? | Edutopia. K-12

Education & Learning Innovations with Proven Strategies that Work | Edutopia. Retrieved January 28, 2013, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/teacher-teams-transform-schools-elena-aguilar

Australian School Library Association. (2013). What is a Teacher Librarian? Retrieved from:

http://www.asla.org.au/advocacy/what-is-a-teacher-librarian.aspx

Connect2tls. (n.d.). Collaboration between teachers and teacher librarians, from Southern Cross University. Teachers

Connection with Teacher Librarians. Retrieved from: http://www.connect2tls.info/collaboration.html

Crotty, R. (2013). Leading into the Future [ETL504 Module 7]. Retrieved May 19, 2013, from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL504_201330_W_D/page/2179fa2f-bbfd-4f13-803d-da9d7fd8c83e

Frantsi, H. (2002). A good school library. The school library association in Finland.

Hamilton, L. (2013a). [Blog Post]. Retrieved from:

http://lisettehamilton.edublogs.org/2013/04/08/teacher-librarian-as-a-leader-reflective-blog-task-for-assignment-1/

Hamilton, L. (2013b, March 11). My interpretation on Leadership [Online forum posting].

Retrieved from: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL504_201330_W_D/page/dba28d8b-577d-4280-00cd-ca863f483083

Luca, J. (2010). Seth Godin on libraries – take heed. [Blog post]. Retrieved from:

http://jennyluca.com/2010/01/09/seth-godin-on-libraries-take-heed/

Paull, N. (2013). Discussions about Collection Policies. (L.Hamilton, Interviewer)

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