During the course of this subject I have learnt an enormous amount about leadership and the plethora of different leadership styles. The 21st century is bringing a need for the library service to provide a richer virtual learning space. As transformational leadership embraces change and growth, it is a relevant and necessary style of leadership for the educational context and particularly for the teacher librarian (TL) (Leithwood, as cited in Marzano, Waters, & McNulty, 2005, p. 15). Transformational leadership skills include considering the needs of others. The role of the TL requires the consideration of the needs of the school community. The TL can develop and implement innovative programs to address the changes that are needed for the growth of the library service. The TL can develop a vision for the library service that is aspirational and motivates others to work towards always improving. The TL can model best practices and be an advocate for lifelong professional learning. This style of leadership can assist a TL to lead the changes necessary for 21st century learning.
One of the main understandings that I have come away with is that leadership in schools will have a great impact on the quality of teaching which in turn influences the educational success of students (Townsend, 2011, p. 99). I touched on this understanding in my critical reflection in the first assessment task (Walker, 2013a). This understanding has become clearer for me over the course of this subject.
In my first blog post for this subject (Walker, 2013b) I stated a number of qualities that I believed a leader would possess. I mentioned twice that being a good listener is an important quality for a leader. I still believe this to be true. Although I have gained a deeper understanding that being a good listener is only one aspect of being an effective communicator. A leader needs to be able to communicate effectively with other colleagues about visions and goals for the future.
The TL as a leader will need to have effective communication skills to work collaboratively with the school principal and colleagues. I have gained a deeper understanding of how valuable it is for the TL as a leader to possess effective communication skills. Communication skills assist the TL to gather a comprehensive understanding of the school learning community so that learning needs can be clearly identified and addressed. This big picture perspective can assist the TL to provide a relevant, quality and balanced collection for the school community they serve.
This big picture perspective enables the TL to lead in developing innovative programs that meet the learning needs of the students and supports the teaching outcomes of the curriculum (Charles Sturt University [CSU], 2013, para. 2).
In my critical reflection for assessment one I wrote that:
“TLs have many opportunities to influence positive change and create innovation in how the school library is used by the school community. TLs can lead the way in developing teaching strategies for the incorporation of information literacy into the curriculum across the all levels of the school learning community. ” (Walker, 2013a)
I believe in essence I was on the right track with this statement. I now have a clearer understanding of how the TL can be a leader. Supporting the learning needs of the students and the teachers is essential (Collay, 2011, p. 83). The TL can do this by being a leader in curriculum development, which involves collaborative skills to work in teams with classroom teachers to design teaching programs and strategies. The TL can lead by building positive relationships with colleagues so that collaboration is effective and benefits the students and the teachers. Leadership is based on positive relationships (Collay, 2011, p. 84).
The TL is required to have a thorough understanding of the entire curriculum so that the library resource collection supports curriculum requirements and student’s learning needs. The TL can be a leader in designing innovative pedagogical strategies and frameworks that help students to develop information literacy skills and supports the curriculum in a 21st century learning space and resource centre.
Collay, M. (2011). Everyday teacher leadership: Taking action where you are. Retrieved from EBook Library.
Charles Sturt University. (2013). Leading Change: Innovation and change management [ETL504 Module 2]. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL504_201360_W_D/page/0dbf0579-ff3f-4f6c-00ab-d0a2f70454e2
Marzano, R. J., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. A. (2005). School leadership that works: From research to results. Retrieved from Ebook Library.
Townsend, T. (2011). School leadership in the twenty-first century: Different approaches to common problems?. School Leadership and Management, 31(2), 93-103. doi:10.1080/13632434.2011.572419
Walker, M. (2013a). ETL504 assessment item 1: Critical reflection [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://marieleewalker.wordpress.com/
Walker, M. (2013b). ETL504 module 1: Understanding of leadership (leadership theory) [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://marieleewalker.wordpress.com/