In the first blog post for this subject we were asked what our understanding of leadership was and how we show it within our school. In response to this I listed a set of skills and abilities that a good leader needs (Valenzuela, 2014, August 4). These original ideas have been built upon and clarified by completing various aspects of this subject.
Early I was introduced to various leadership theories. Many of these leadership styles are used in a school setting and specifically can be used by the teacher librarian. Transformational leadership is one of the many leadership styles a teacher librarian will come across, as it facilitates change and innovation by empowering followers. It does this by using the four components of transformational leadership which are commonly referred to as the “Four I’s” (Marzano, Waters &McNulty, 2005 p. 14). These include: idealised influence, inspiration motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualised consideration.
As I completed assignment 1, it become clear that a shared leadership style is often also used by teacher librarians. The shared style leader aims to work as a team. They have an understanding that the team will have a different leader according to each individual’s strengths. Avolio, Walumbwa & Weber, (2009, p. 431) define the term as “a dynamic, interactive influence process among individuals in groups for which the objective is to lead one another to the achievement of group or organisational goals or both”. For example the teacher librarian will share leadership with classroom teachers when programming and resourcing for the curriculum.
The idea of working alongside teachers and other staff is not only beneficial for students as stated by ALIA (2009), “Learning in the 21st century requires a team approach where the expertise of each member is combined with the rich resources of the school library…”. It is also beneficial for advocacy of the library and the teacher librarian, which was discussed later in the subject. According to ASLA (2009) “The school library and its services need to connect administrators, teachers and students to the information they need to realise an information literate school community.” It is unfortunate that the teacher librarian must prove their worth in some respects however, I believe if a teacher librarian is doing their job, as mentioned by ASLA above, then they will, to a certain degree, already be advocating their role with little extra effort.
Change and innovation were a large part of assessment 1. My first thoughts when completing the modules was why is change and innovation a central part in leadership. With little leadership skills in a school I decided to apply it to a setting I am confident in leading, coaching netball. I applied Kotter’s 8-step process for leading change (n.d.) to a team I have coached and once I understood each step I attempted to apply it to a school library setting. I also compared this to the forum activity in which I was asked how Don Tapscott’s 4 principles for managing change applied to a school and teacher librarian setting (Valenzuela, 2014, August 4). These learning experiences assisted me in coming to the conclusion that without the need for change there isn’t a need for leaders, instead managers should suffice.
Leaders need to be visionary, which is a key reason why teacher librarians must begin to position themselves in such situations. As I mentioned in my blog, underlining drivers of all theories are vision, change and innovation, which without, a school or any other organisation will stay stationary (Valenzuela, August 18). Technology has changed the way students learn and therefore how schools need to teach them. 90% of information is digital, according to Boon (2008, p. 175). This change to the information landscape, means libraries must also change to keep up. It is our job to make sure that the changes happen. Students are now 21st century learners with access to multiple digital devices. The library must utilise these devices by assisting students to wade through the 90% of digital information available to them.
To conclude I will re-answer the question posed in module one, what is your understanding of leadership? There are different leaders for different situations. Teacher librarians will need to use a variety of leadership styles when stepping into leadership roles in a school. Leadership requires vision change and innovation. Leaders must communicate ideas effectively. Leaders inspire others to believe in what they believe. Leaders empower others to become change agents themselves. As change agents they create and attempt to achieve goals that benefit the original vision. Leaders are transparent with all that they do and plan to do. Leaders are collaborative and share ideas.
Avolio, B., Walumbwa, F., & Weber, T. J. (2009, September 14). Leadership: Current Theories, Research, and Future Directions. DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Retrieved July 30, 2014, from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/managementfacpub/37/
Australian Library and Information Association. (2009). ALIA/ASLA policy on guided inquiry and the curriculum. Retrieved from https://www.alia.org.au/about-alia/policies-standards-and-guidelines/aliaasla-policy-guided-inquiry-and-curriculum
Australian School Library Association. (2009). Advocacy: reason, responsibility and rhetoric. Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/advocacy/school-library-advocacy.aspx
Boon, L. (2008). “I want it all and I want it now!”: the changing face of school libraries. In J. R. Kennedy, L. Vardaman & G. B. McCabe (Eds.), Our new public, a changing clientele: bewildering issues or new challenges for managing libraries (pp. 173-177). Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited.
Kotter, J. (n.d.). The 8-step process for leading change. Kotter International – Innovative Strategy Implementation Professionals. Retrieved August 04, 2014, from http://www.kotterinternational.com/our-principles/changesteps/changesteps
Marzano, R. J., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. A. (2005). Some theories and theorists on leadership. School leadership that works: From research to results (pp. 13-27). Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Retrieved August 04, 2014 from www.csuau.eblib.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/patron/Read.aspx.
Valenzuela, H. (2014, August 4). ETL 504: Module 1-Post 1. In ETL 504 Teacher librarian as a leader. Retrieved from https://hannav102.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/etl-504-module-1-post-1/
Valenzuela, H. (2014, August 4). ETL 504: Module 1-Post 1. In ETL 504 Teacher librarian as a leader. Retrieved from https://hannav102.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/etl-504-module-2-post-1/
Valenzuela, H. (2014, August 4). ETL 504: Module 1-Post 1. In ETL 504 Teacher librarian as a leader. Retrieved from https://hannav102.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/etl504-assessment-1-part-b-reflective-critical-analysis-blog-post/