Monthly Archives: September 2013

ETL504 Assessment Item 2: Critical Reflection

Standard

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.

References

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/

Advertisements

ETL504 Module 5: Environmental tactic of STEEP

Standard

I am not currently working in a school library, so I am going to attempt to do my best by using my daughters school library as my example to consider the environmental tactic of STEEP.

Social:

  • Students are welcome in the library anytime.
  • The library is well used for lunchtime social and leisure activities, i.e. using computers, reading, puzzles, board games, research for projects and drawing materials are available.
  • It is used as a meeting place for information nights, SRC and P&C meetings.
  • Recently an important meeting place for kindergarten orientation.
  • The library is used to display student’s artwork and other examples of student’s work.
  • The library is also a safe haven for students (many younger ones) who find the playground overwhelming.

Technological:

  • The library has 24 computers in the computer lab
  • Plans for the future: have the library and school connected with wireless broadband with the intention of buying mobile devices eg. laptops and tablets.
  • Another plan for future is to purchase ebooks and ereaders (tablets mentioned above) for the library collection.
  • These plans will bring the technological environment of the library more into the 21st century to meet students information needs and support the new curriculum requirements.

Environmental:

  • The library is part of the school wide recycling program.
  • A lot of the paper is used for the children’s worm farms and composting. Recycled paper is used for printing etc.
  • To lessen the carbon footprint, local businesses are used wherever possible for purchasing of print resources.
  • The library utilises as much natural light as possible, so that less lighting is needed.
  • Deselected print resources are either recycled or passed on to be re-used.

Economic:

  • Fundraising for library needs is prominent.
  • The library receives adequate funding for resources, programs and services.
  • The P&C is organising fundraising to help purchase wireless broadband for school and mobile devices required.

Political:

  • The school recently had a change of Principal.
  • This Principal is a strong advocate for the library programs and services and the work that the TL does.
  • The TL is actively involved in curriculum development.

ETL504 Module 4: Conflict Resolution style

Standard

On the completion of the Conflict Resolution Questionnaire , my conflict resolution style came back as Collaborating.

The results stated that I tend to express above average assertiveness and above average cooperation. “Some of your associates may think of you as an owl because you believe that two people working together can come up with a better answer than either can produce individually.”

Assertiveness has come with age for me, this was not one of my strong points when I was younger. I have had to learn to be more assertive, but I still find it challenging.

This seems to be a positive result. I believe that I could fit into the compromising category, as don’t like being unreasonable and I don’t like conflict or arguments.

This was a interesting exercise and a bit surprising.

ETL501 Topic 5 Web 2.0 and the school library

Standard

My thoughts on the key aspects of Web 2.0 that are likely to impact education in today’s schools:

  • Opportunities for creativity
  • Engaging and dynamic
  • Offers focused collaborating tools for students, teachers, parents and the wider community (blogs and wikis)
  • Offers tools to collaborate globally
  • Learning and communication not confined within the four walls of the classroom. Students can share presentations anywhere, anytime and with anyone (even a global audience)
  • The technology more accessible and easy to use
  • Students can present ideas, projects, assignments in more creative and dynamic ways (other than PowerPoint)
  • Tools can be used for professional development, curriculum planning, setting student assignments and homework e.g. Wiki’s
  • Online global collaboration and social networks for teachers, for gathering resources and ideas from others in the same profession (wealth of knowledge, better for students), creating resources

Opportunities here for teacher librarians:

  • As information and technology specialists they can be instrumental in introducing Web 2.0 tools to teachers and students and teach how to use.
  • These tools foster opportunities to improve students information literacy skills
  • TL’s can lead by example, by using many of these tools to share information about what’s happening in the library with the staff, parents and students e.g. Blogs, Wikis
  • Great opportunities to be creative with the technology and show the school community what is available and how these can be used to engage students and help to meet their learning needs for the 21st century.

Can teacher librarians afford to ignore Web 2.0 tools?

  • TL’s can not afford to ignore Web 2.0 tools, it is the responsibility of the TL to fulfil their role as an information provider and information specialist. They need to be aware of and competent in using these tools
  • This will enable the TL to help teachers and students to use these tools and benefit from their educational potential
  • It supports the information literacy needs of 21st century learners
  • Supports and is relevant to the General Capabilities in the Australian curriculum

What might be the problems a teacher librarian would face in maintaining a school library blog?

  • The main problem I see are time constraints

My thoughts on how you might use a Wiki in a classroom:

  • Collaborative tool: collaboration between students, or students and teachers and the wider school community
  • Use a Wiki to access online resources and tools, this offers immediate access for students, anywhere, anytime

My thoughts on how curation tools such as Delicious and Diigo can be useful? What are the limitations and issues relating to the use of such tools

Delicious

  • TL’s can use this for bookmarking websites that are potentially useful web resources for specific groups of students. Then the TL can go back and check these against criteria later to add to resource collection
  • Students could access a library Delicious account to look at resources. Tagging could make it easier for students to access resources for a specific topic or subject
  • Limitation: Potential for students to access information that is not appropriate for their age level, so this would need to be carefully monitored

Diigo

  • Can be used as a search engine
  • Create groups that students could use to work collaboratively to collect relevant information for a project (great opportunity for students to use website evaluation criteria to bookmark and share quality & relevant websites)

ETL504 – Module 4: Communication Processes

Standard

Scenario

You have developed a new digital literacy program that you believe needs to be used across the school. How will you communicate this program to your staff?

  1. Firstly, have a well planned and succinct proposal for the digital literacy program. Present this proposal in a face-to-face meeting with the Principal to garner support. Communication needs to include what the program entails, why you believe it needs to be introduced and it’s relevancy to the curriculum.
  2. Gather information about the level of knowledge which staff members have about digital literacy and take this into account for future communication of the proposal. Gathering information can be done by informal face-to-face discussions and a staff survey.
  3. Decide on the best location to present the proposed program to as many of the staff as possible, a quite place with minimal distractions and noise (Alanis Business Academy, 2012).
  4. A staff meeting would be a good place to start when presenting the digital literacy program. Continue to communicate the program to other staff groups, such as at curriculum development meetings, faculty meetings, grade-level meetings. Face-to-face discussions are an effective way to introduce such an innovation (Lewis, 2011, p. 170).
  5. As explained by Lewis (2011, p. 168) a combination of a discrepancy and efficacy message would be effective. Communicating that digital literacy is crucial for learners to be successful in the 21st century and give examples of other schools that have successfully introduced such programs. Emphasising that if staff work together positive results can be achieved. Also, communicating that support for the necessary professional development, will be offered to achieve this.
  6. Feedback and questions about program design and implementation from staff can be done via a few different channels; small informal discussions, email, the library blog, workshops and staff training sessions. This can be an “adaptive approach” (Lewis, 2011, p. 150). Communication needs to emphasise that staff participation is crucial to the programs’ success.

References

Alanis Business Academy. (2012, August 2). How the communication process works [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6u0AVn-NUM

Lewis, L. K. (2011). Organizational change: Creating change through strategic communication. Retrieved from EBook Library.