This subject has provided me opportunities to become familiar with the theories and practical aspects of the leadership role of a Teacher Librarian (TL). Furthermore I have found that the TL can apply and adapt these aspects of leadership in the school library in 21st century..
Through my studies in ETL504 I have come to improve an understanding of what leadership is and the role of the Teacher Librarian (TL) as a leader. When I started studying this subject, I did not see why leadership should be part of the TL’s role. However, throughout the study of this subject, I have come to understand that leadership is significant to the role of the TL and I have a clearer understanding of the role of the TL as a leader.
According to Sergiovanni (2005), a lack of trust within a school will create serious disadvantages, including teachers not sharing ideas and not supporting each other. Building trust is therefore, a significant element of school leadership. Furthermore he states that lack of trusting relationships limit collaborative work, learning and improvement of performance (Sergiovanni, 2005).
In order to build trust, communication skills such as effective listening and questioning skills and providing constructive feedback are significant as they build “productive relationships” between leaders and school community members (NSW Department of Education and Communities, 2006).
Looking back to my own experience, I have sometimes felt my communication skills lacking. For example questioning and negotiating skills are weak points for me. Throughout a “Conflict Resolution Questionnaire “activity, I was found to be a teddy bear who does not like conflict with others. I understand I have to improve on my weak points; however I wonder how to do this. Rai, U. & Rai, S. M’s “Barriers to communication” in Effective Communication (2009) has opened my eyes and given me new perspective on the matter. I will read the article repeatedly if I lose confidence in communicating with people since communication in the school community is very important in order to share a clear vision for the school library.
When I started studying this subject, my perspective of leadership was as a natural talent that I do not possess. I felt that I was not in a leadership position, and that I would make a poor leader. However I have learned that leadership is a skill that can be developed and improved, and anyone in a school can become a leader, not only teaching staff, but also others, including students.. As the TL needs to demonstrate leadership within school and in professional communities (the Australian Library and Information Association & the Australian School Library Association, ALIA/ASLA, 2004), this means I have to strive to improve my leadership skills in order to become an effective leader.
The module on strategic planning was very informative. I had never heard of a strategic plan before. The video clips were a very practical tool to develop my knowledge on processes such as conducting a SWOT analysis (My Strategic Plan, 2008 July 28), and I am sure it will aid me in strategic planning in the future.
Creating a strategic plan focused on student learning was very difficult. However the plan provides not only guidance and direction but also sends strong messages to the school community (Wong, 2012). Furthermore it can concrete the position of the TL inside and outside the school community (State Library of Queensland, 2009). As such, it is essential to understand the importance of strategic planning and a TL must emphasise this when creating a plan to develop their library.
I believe this subject was critical to my learning as I have never thought about my leadership skills. I have now learnt more about the many types of leadership and I hope that I can become a valuable TL with transformational leadership qualities and elements of distributed leadership. Furthermore if I encounter difficulties in communicating with people, I will try to find what prevents them from receiving or conveying a message effectively in order to overcome these problems.
I now think I have the practical tools to support this aspiration, and have the potential to turn my vision for creating a 21st century school library into a reality.
Australian Library and Information Association and Australian School Library Association. (2004) .Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians Retrieved May 12, 2013 from http://www.alia.org.au/sites/default/files/documents/ALIA.ASLA_.2004.TLstandards2013.05.30.JB_.pdf –
My Strategic Plan. (2008, July 28) SWOT Analysis: How to perform one for your organization. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLF47BA7BC6BDA46B1&feature=player_embedded&v=GNXYI10Po6A#!
NSW Department of Education and Communities. (2006). Professional learning and leadership development. School leadership capability framework. Retrieved from https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/proflearn/areas/sld/frameworks/slcf.htm
Rai, U., & Rai, S. M. (2009). Barriers to communication. In Effective communication (Rev. ed., pp. 57-67). Retrieved May 8, 2013 from http://site.ebrary.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/lib/csuau/docDetail.action?docID=10415143
Sergiovanni,T.(2005). The Virtues of Leadership. The Educational Forum, 69 (winter), 112-123. Retrieved March 16, 2013, from http://www.scribd.com/doc/7375166/Sergiovanni-Thomas-Virtues-of-Leadership
State Library of Queensland.(2009). Your library strategic plan a guide to its development Retrieved May 10, 2013 from http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/148688/SLQ_-_Strategic_Plan_Instructions.pdf
Wong, T. (2012). Strategic long-range planning (for school library media centers) Library Media Connection, 31(2), 22-23. Retrieved May 10,2013 from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=2df1d3bc-7792-45b2-a86b-e58bc3eeae33%40sessionmgr12&vid=2&hid=23