Posted by: leish79 | October 8, 2013

ETL504 – Critical Reflection

At the commencement of my enrolment into this degree I hadn’t thought of the teacher librarian as a leader. I had thought I was retraining in an effort to change my career to move away from leadership (Herbert, 2013a). However the concept of leadership began to resound strongly through the literature I was being exposed to and the importance of the leadership role was becoming clearer. The idea of being a leader wasn’t what was worrying me. How to lead from a position with no implied leadership attached to it was given I had always exerted leadership from a position with implied authority (Herbert, 2013b).

The teacher librarian as a leader in implementing guided inquiry appeared to be a fair fit, given the teacher librarian is accepted as the expert in information literacy skills (Herbert, 2013c). Initially the leadership appeared to take the form of leading student learning by explicitly teaching students the information literacy skills they would require to achieve lifelong learning. However, this quickly evolved into the teacher librarian leading other teachers by instructing them around how to impart information literacy skills within their classrooms (Herbert, 2013a). This then gave the leadership role a different lens.

I then strayed into the different types of leadership and began reflecting on what experiences of leadership I have experienced. My first experiences of school leadership were extremely negative. The principal could only be described as a tyrant, employing a transactional approach to leadership. She used intimidation daily with her staff and this appeared to be the main reason her directions were followed. She evoked no feelings of respect from her staff, she was disinterested in others points of view and she seemed incapable of providing positive feedback. She epitomised exactly what I most definitely did not wish to become and continues to be a model of what not to do for me.

I then reflected on another leader, who was opposite to the aforementioned woman in all ways possible. This man utilised a distributed approach to leadership, however at times seemed disconnected from his leadership role, failing to provide any direction at all. Whilst there were many flaws in his approach to leadership, he was skilled at instilling a sense of ownership and responsibility within me. He also valued my point of view and encouraged me to participate in the decision making process. He was the reason I chose to venture into a leadership position. Whilst I am thankful to him for sparking my feeling of self belief when I began considering leadership, I have also modelled my leadership on things he didn’t do.

Returning to the issue at hand, the readings throughout the course have assisted me to identify my strengths and weaknesses as a leader. The conflict resolution questionnaire identified my conflict resolution style as collaborating (Herbert, 2013d). This outcome fit with my own self appraisal of how I choose to lead and work with others. It also inspired my hope that I may possibly have made the correct decision to retrain. After all, collaboration has been a key theme throughout the course readings to date.

The necessity of collaboration within the role of the teacher librarian was not only recommended but was considered necessary to help lay the foundation for lifelong learning within students (Herbert, 2013a). Clear communication and collaboration appeared to be the key to effective leadership and everything else that followed seemed to be dependent on this (Herbert, 2013b).

The role of the teacher librarian as a leader is quite obviously an important one. The current education climate which involves the integration of the Australian Curriculum appears to be an exciting time to be a teacher librarian. It offers many opportunities to exhibit leadership given the curriculum is based on an inquiry approach to learning. The role of the teacher librarian appears pivotal in the successful implementation of the curriculum and failure to take ownership of a leadership role would be detrimental to student learning. Based on strong communication skills, positive existing relationships with classroom teachers and the executive and opportunities to collaborate frequently on how best to implement the curriculum appear to be the best tools a teacher librarian will possess.

 

References:

Herbert, A. (2013a). ETL401 assignment 2 – Part B: Critical reflection. In Hopefully a teacher librarian in the making [Blog post]. Retrieved from: https://hopefullyateacherlibrarianinthemaking.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/etl401-assignment-2-part-b-critical-reflection/

Herbert, A. (2013b). ETL504 Part B – My thoughts on leadership so far … In Hopefully a teacher librarian in the making [Blog post]. Retrieved from: https://hopefullyateacherlibrarianinthemaking.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/etl504-part-b-my-thoughts-on-leadership-so-far/

Herbert, A. (2013c). Blog task 1 – Comment on the role of the teacher librarian in practice with regard to implementing a guided inquiry approach. In Hopefully a teacher librarian in the making [Blog post]. Retrieved from: https://hopefullyateacherlibrarianinthemaking.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/the-role-of-the-librarian-the-views-of-herring-purcell-lamb-and-valenza/

Herbert, A. (2013d). Conflict resolution. In Hopefully a teacher librarian in the making [Blog post]. Retrieved from: https://hopefullyateacherlibrarianinthemaking.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/conflict-resolution/

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