Bec in the library

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges

Module 4: innovation and change April 9, 2012

Filed under: ETL504 — becinthelibrary @ 11:53 am
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Required reading

Fullan, M. (1999). Chapter 2: Complexity and the change process. Read for an overview of his change theory.

Reading response

Organisation as living systems

importance of relationships: a community of relationships, not just an organisation/business/school

living things are grown, not assembled; people aren’t mechanical, they don’t just “work” because you want them to or that all the parts are there

there are no cookbooks or silver bullets, every change process situation has it’s own complexities and nuances that have to be dealt with at the time using different strategies based on personalities, not a one size fits most strategy

Role of knowledge creation in innovation

knowledge creation is not the acquisition of best practices as products, it is rather the generation and learning of new ideas

successful learning communities regularly transform tacit knowledge (hunches, intuition, etc) into explicit knowledge: this requires tapping into the values, meanings, day-t0-day skills, knowledge and experiences of all members and making them available for communal problem solving

need to avoid “groupthink” where everyone goes along for the ride and forgets to critically evaluate the tacit and explicit knowledge being shared: must celebrate and embrace diversity of thought for this to happen; it does mean there will be some conflict

Required reading

Sergiovanni, T. (2000). ‘Deep change and the power of localism’.

Reading response

Geez, what a dry article!

Required reading

Hargreaves, A. & Fink, D (2003). Sustaining leadership. Phi Delta Kappan 84(9), pp. 693-700.

Reading response

Discusses the need for institutionalized change, not just implementing change – where teachers’ practice of the change is second nature.

Sustainability is not just management of change or how well change is maintained; it is how the change is shown once the glamour has worn off. In PYP schools, evidence of true inquiry would show sustainability; when all specialists and home room teachers truly teach with inquiry at the forefront, not just at appraisal or accreditation time.

Sustainable projects (or change) don’t squander or throw money at many pilot projects that leave no room or resources for anything else to happen/change.

Building long term capacity for improvement, NOT band aid solutions/change that looks great in the short term.

Improvement that: sustains learning, endures over time, supported by available or achievable resources, doesn’t impact on other surrounding school environment or systems, promotes ecological diversity and capacity throughout the school community

The idea that we have to look long term for sustainable change (Wayvern Secondary School example), not just the quick fix, keep the scores up and people happy type of change: very important but such a difficult concept to “sell”, don’t you think?

NB: the anecdotes in this reading are extremely familiar – surely I have read them in another article for this subject?

School leadership is not the sum of individual leaders, it is a system, a culture. Everyone is a leader, has the capacity to lead, therefore leadership should be encouraged in all, not just the elite few.

Leadership is vertical over time: influenced by the impact of predecessors, have implications for successors. Don’t just chuck out what was left to you and don’t expect that everything you leave behind will stay.

Required reading

Reading response
I’m constantly defending the role of the TL in schools. I know I should have pat answers by now but I don’t, especially in the face of a reality where the teachers don’t see the TL in classrooms very often as the school is too big for one TL (almost 800 kids, one TL – you do the maths.) Gibbs very rightly points out that we as TLs are only valuable when we make ourselves so by being in people’s faces, waving around our ideas and knowledge like flags. One middle school librarian once told me, “I wish the teachers would let me teach their kids, I can even do assessment for them.” I wanted desperately to say, “Well, did you go to the teachers concerned and show them your rubric/lesson ideas/etc so they could say yes without a moment’s hesitation?!” Of course I didn’t because I was just a lowly Library Tech and only at the start of my Masters so didn’t feel qualified to tell a highly experienced TL such a thing. It certainly opened my eyes to what it takes to get staff to collaborate with you as a TL as opposed to being part of a grade level teaching team.
Frankly, I’m sick of reading about high schools and universities and how poorly the faculty collaborate. I’m sure it’s still true, but as a primary teacher who has always worked in schools where collaboration is taken for granted (though it can always be improved), I’m mightily tired of hearing how teachers are all crap at working together. We need more examples of how fabulous many teachers/schools ARE at doing it right. I’d really appreciate our modules having more of these types of articles, not just the ones saying what we should do are what we aren’t doing. Most of these articles have good examples of positive situations but we need more. Perhaps I’m just searching for blueprints, hunting for confirmation that there are many outstanding teachers, schools, collaborative teams out there who can and do do what is best for kids and that it comes naturally.
I know many teachers feel like an island and that they have to do everything themselves – it happens even in the best of schools like the one I am working in now.
But it doesn’t HAVE TO and I really feel that it wouldn’t take much for this change to happen. I’ve seen, and am currently seeing, this type of change happening right now. It has taken two brave classroom teachers who were intent on involving the rest of their team and guess what, all the team freaking LOVE IT. The team is now trying to move rotational lessons and coaching forward by including subject coordinators and the curriculum coordinator in team teaching.
The TL has been involved since the beginning, not because he volunteered but because he happily accepted when asked. Sometimes all one has to do is ASK. So many lonely people not sure if their best is good enough and yet all they need is to be ASKED to share their knowledge/expertise/passion. The kids love it, so why not embrace it?
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