Bec in the library

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

504: Module 1, leadership March 14, 2012

Required reading

Cheng, Y. C. (2002). Leadership and strategy. In T. Bush & L. Bell (Eds.), The principles and practice of educational management (pp. 51-69). London : Paul Chapman Publishing. 

Reading response
Leadership is often broken into two parts: 1) influencing people’s behaviour and 2) working to develop and achieve goals.
My ideas about this statement:
1) make people feel important, valued and necessary
2) have a clear vision, be extremely transparent by outlining the process and the progress of the process
Bolman and Deal (1997)’s four leadership functions: human resources leadership, structural leadership, political leadership and symbolic leadership.
Sergiovanni: human, technical, educational, symbolic, cultural leadership
I can see how our new leadership team at my school is *trying* to show these leaderships but I’m not convinced they are working well yet. When I read the descriptors, I can relate them to some action taken by the new team but the dust had not settled and people are still not feeling great about the changes taking place. I think the “human” element is missing. Not enough sharing of the process maybe? Or just not the faith that it the new leaders actually have our best interests at heart, only looking at the dollar sign…
These 5 facets really help me understand how the leadership role can be broken into parts to see where the strengths and areas of improvement lie for my own leading.
As a visual learner, tables help me understand complex ideas much better and this table is a great example of how leaders can help facilitate quality education.

Required reading

Saskatchewan Education n.d., Adaptive leadership

http://www.sasked.gov.sk.ca/branches/pol_eval/school_plus/

Reading response

“Adaptive leadership includes a number of key elements that assist in achieving this end:

1. Developing a clear mission and vision (do it, live it, believe it)

2. Developing a culture of equity (all kids deserve the best education possible)

3. Building capacity for a learning community (personal, interpersonal, organisational)

4. Developing collaborative and distributed leadership (sharing leadership with many, everyone has the possibility to lead)

5. Fostering change and renewal (action research – get the data and then take action on it: plan-act-observe-reflect)

6. Enhancing staff growth (staff helping staff, not just outside PD)

7. Building bridges and networks (deliberate, conscious, structured collaboration)” p.1

Required reading

Henri (1994)

Henri, J. (1994, Summer). Thinking Leadership: What Place Vision? School Libraries in Canada, 14, 12-14.

Reading response

“Leadership is an art that focuses upon problem solving.” para 3

“Type 4 power has received considerable press coverage under the banner of transformational leadership. Leaders are transformative when they are able to shape and focus the motives and goals of group members. Such leadership is particularly attractive because it results in personal growth through the enhancement of individual and group problem solving capacities. Transformational leadership involves a strong element of risk taking because it enables group members to demonstrate leadership and because its adoption is likely to be culture changing. The transformational leader is likely to be seen towards the rear of the band as s/he ‘pushes’ band members ever onward and upward.” para 9

This description by Henri really resonates with me as I love the idea of leadership simply (?!) being the force that facilitates others WANTING to make changes and empowering them to do so. I don’t have a clear idea of how that actually works right now, but I’m hoping it will firm up for me as this subject progresses.

“Leaders need to get out of ‘home base’ and witness what is happening in other ‘games’. Leaders need to share their knowledge and observe their peers in action. Leaders need to trade swamps.” A’ha, I think this is where our school is sinking… new leadership who are NOT in the swamp, who do NOT know what is happening in other games.

Required reading

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

Reading response

Some excellent examples of real schools and how they made long term, sustainable changes based on sharing leadership and giving all staff a stake in what their school said, did and believed.

Required reading

Lambert, L. (1998). What is leadership capacity? In Building leadership capacity in schools (pp. 1-9). Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Reading response

I love the reminder that EVERYONE can be responsible for school change, not just the people in the paid leadership positions. Too often I enter a staff room full of bitching people who complain about the powers-that-be, not truly understanding that every single teacher has the *possibility* of being a change agent. The notion that all the power sits with one or two people in a school is simply not true. Of course, some paid leaders have no wish to listen to their staff and will carry on with their decisions regardless but why not at least TRY to have your voice heard? You CANNOT complain unless you have first tried to make a difference. As Lambert says on p5, shared leadership implies a shared responsibility for a shared purpose. A school’s purpose is the betterment of student’s and there is no teacher that I know who would say that they personally believe the school principal is the only one responsible for student learning.

p.9

Forum activity

What do leaders do? (in terms of observable activities)

Solicit, value and take action based on others’ ideas; facilitate teacher learning; plan-act-observe-reflect; champion their staff by believing in them, listening to them, defending them, quietly and personally challenging them.

What behaviours do they exhibit? (when leading change or responding to change)

Ability to activity listen and then take action.

What personal qualities do they possess? (inate qualities as well as those learnt through study and/or experience)

Charisma, likability, respectability, empathy, compassion, technical knowledge, being able to actively listen, the willingness to say what they do and do what they say.

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504: Module 1, quality management March 8, 2012

Required reading

Tribus, Myron. The Journal for Quality and Participation16. 1 (Jan/Feb 1993): 12.

Reading response

“It takes constant engagement to wed a student to learning.” p.2

“…everyone in the system is expected, invited and trained to participate in the improvement process.” p.2

Quality is not the problem, quality IMPROVEMENT is what you are striving for.

“Steps needed when making changes:

1. Development of a general awareness of why it is necessary to change.

2. Establishment of goals and objectives for the change.

3. Understanding, broadly shared, of what the change entails…

4. A sensible set of first steps.” p.5

This reading was published almost 20 years ago and I do actually have to wonder how much relevance it has today. Are all schools really so stuck that they regard kids as production line materials? That testing really is all that matters? Do admin really still think teachers and students don’t need, want and deserve a voice in deciding what constitutes quality management? Are international and independent schools different in their approach to this as they are not bound (as much) to state or federal standards or funding?

I don’t really have answers to these questions. I wonder who does?

Forum activity: Consider how this model could be used to enhance the management of information service provision in a school. How might a teacher librarian use quality management to enhance his/her profile? Include your comment on the forum or add to the conversation already begun.

Starting with the understanding that quality, of whatever standard, can always be improved, using the “steps for change” (as I’ve dubbed them) would be a great way to enhance the management of IS provision in our school. Getting other stakeholders involved, such as students, teachers and parents, would be crucial in this as they have such a vested interest and opinion as to what constitutes quality and it’s improvement.

As a school, we have just opened up many of our systems to outside critique with success. The school community were open, honest and gave some interesting and suitable ideas. I am eager to see where the school goes with this new information. Hopefully it’s not just paying lip service to being transparent and keen to involve the community in our future direction.

Required reading

Streeton Primary School (2000). The 12 quality principles. In Q is for quality : continuous improvement in schools through quality management and quality learning (pp. 12-24). Yallambie, Vic. : Streeton Primary School. 

Reading response

What a fabulous read! So clearly laid out and extrapolated upon. The extremely clear school based examples make a lot of sense and make it far easier for me to see if and how our school is currently displaying quality management.

Module activity: Explore the website Quality Learning Australia http://www.qla.com.au Examine what Quality Learning is. Explore the Resources section, especially the free papers, to develop your understanding of how quality is being considered within this organisation in Australia.

diag-4areas.gif

http://www.qla.com.au/pages/QLSSA.html

I think that all schools should take the test in the above link, just to see if they really are providing the quality education they think they are. I wonder how my school’s admin would score themselves.

 

The ‘polished’ Part C May 22, 2011

As I write this synthesis, I am experiencing one of the most powerful emotional responses in my personal learning journey to date: one of such complete frustration and annoyance that I find it extremely difficult to analyse where I have come from and where I want and need to go from here.

Each week during this semester gave me impetus to try new things, ask questions, shift my centre of understanding and balance further towards a more wholistic and complete view of how I could be a positive, empowering, exciting TL.

However, my learning has been completely recursive; each time I make a leap forward in understanding, an a’ha! moment, it leads me down a path of negativity before pushing through onto the the next exciting discovery and possibility by posting on, or reading the forums or using the blog as a sounding board.

After receiving cognitive coaching (Costa & Garmston, 1999) from a colleague, I am finally able to order my thoughts into coherency, based around my a’ha! moments.

A’ha! moment #1

The concept of libraries for a post literate society kick-started my journey in a way I never expected. The reading came from a different CSU M.ETL subject but served to highlight the educational landscape I was about to enter as a TL.

A’ha! moment #2

The whole of 401 Topic 2! Purcell’s (2010) summary of our role scared, excited and empowered me. Up until this point, my initial impressions, admittedly, were centred around relief and excitement at being part of teaching and learning whilst never having to write another report. These complacent ideas were soon squashed as I began to read and understand the vast nature of the TL role. I began to feel extremely disheartened. My sense of injustice of how a TL was supposed to be everything to everyone was overpowering. I was also completely flabbergasted that teachers didn’t know how to best utilise the knowledge and expertise of our TL. This taught me a very important lesson in advocacy that has burned its place into my professional soul – if a TL wants to support, extend and complement the curriculum, don’t expect anyone else to know that you can do it!

Lamb & Johnson’s (2008) focus on teaching and learning and how it is what separates us from the clerical staff was exciting. However, the depth of knowledge about information and technological literacy needed for this job floored me. This showed my total and utter misunderstanding of what the role of TL actually is. As I explored the notion of information literacy further, I moved from a place of certainty and excitement to frustration.

A’ha! moment #3

Valenza’s (2010) manifesto and vodcast – the passion and the power! Her monologue about the possibilities of quality information literacy instruction, especially that which incorporated web 2.0 tools, was incredibly appealing. Even though I didn’t blog about this point of my learning journey, I felt energised and ready to take our well resourced but decidedly 20th century library steaming into the 21st century. I immediately started several projects utlising Valenza’s ideas and saw positive results from the beginning.

A’ha! moment #4

As someone who always wants to be in the thick of every decision, activity, meeting and experience, being involved in the process of benchmarking IL in our school was pivotal to my learning. I was in turns shocked, thrilled and disappointed in the journey being undertaken. It was such a massive project and one that could so easily get lost and shelved, as it actually did previously. As the process continued, and the roadblocks become more apparent, I realised what an uphill battle TLs face when stressing the importance of IL  – the absolute core of what we do and who we are. I felt distressed and completely deflated.

I saw the desperate need to put into practice the rhetoric but the reality is so far from that I lost hope.

However, through the process of writing this synthesis, I am beginning to look forward with positivity and hope. There are people in my school who care passionately about the pivotal role of the TL and they are in the positions of power to make it a reality. It will just be a slow and steady race, one that would involve all stakeholders, one that will be mandated by the administration.

I never claim to have all the answers or to be the one with the necessary experience or knowledge but what I do have is the passion, the enthusiasm, the time and the willingness to fight for what I believe is important in 21st century education. I am not burnt by repeated “no’s” from the administration, I embrace the challenge of collaboration. I will be responsible for advocacy through informed learning.

 

THIS is why a decision can’t be made… May 16, 2011

Well, today was a mindf**k.

I have found out why someone can’t make a bloody decision (reference to an earlier post): there’s so many people involved, with all their experience and knowledge and opinions, it’s impossible!!

I spent the morning observing the educational technology team (TLs and ICT integrators across the 3 schools) attempt to benchmark information and digital literacy standards vertically across the school.

OH MY F-ING GOD.

The process was sound: only bringing in the immediate stakeholders, having an impartial and skilled mediator who didn’t have particular ownership over any department (curriculum coordinator), clearly defined criteria, models and examples from across the world to draw from so as to not reinvent the wheel, time for small group work/individual reflection and digestion, plenty of water, food and breaks, jigsawing, paraphrasing, brainstorming.

But OH CHRIST ALMIGHTY it took FOREVER! I left after a couple of hours as it was making me even more confused than I already was plus I have the kind of personality that NEEDS to be involved in every discussion and not saying anything after a few hours was killing me 🙂

I didn’t feel comfortable putting forward any of my ideas, thoughts or suggestions as I don’t yet feel confident that these ideas, thoughts and suggestions actually make sense or would drive the discussion anywhere worthwhile.

I certainly learnt a HUGE amount by listening to these incredibly knowledgeable and passionate educators. I saw how much work it takes to make a document that is coherent and worthwhile, something that can be and WILL be useful and USED.

The mediator also happens to be a close friend so she let me ask some great questions about the process and the obstacles she feels the group are facing, and have faced in the past when this was first done a few years back. (Not as part of the whole group of course, just as a side conversation while the others were focused on the task at hand.) This was really important for me as this topic is my Part B for assignment 2: getting a whole school commitment to IL.

Her take on it was that there is a really, really fine line between people’s passion for seeing  IL implemented and their total and unwavering ownership over it which makes other people feel that the teaching of IL isn’t best practice, it’s a personal band wagon so they tune out and give up. She said that the reason the last attempt at IL failed was because the drivers behind it left the school and as it was such a personal ‘mission’, people felt a sense of relief that the people were gone and they didn’t have to teach it/implement it anymore.

OK, call me impatient, naive, arrogant, whatever, but I find that incredibly stupid and ignorant. Why does it matter who drives it and that they make it their personal mission to get it up and running? Doesn’t that mean it gets DONE? If no one makes it happen, it just sits there and all that work was for nothing! (Which is EXACTLY what has happened.)

I need to ask my friend more about this. I’m deeply confused and conflicted.

It does, however, completely explain why the EC3-Grade 5 literacy standards and benchmarks that myself and my language committee wrote over the course of two years were chucked out the door the minute I left the school…

 

TL role – Purcell March 9, 2011

Filed under: ETL 401: Topic 2 — becinthelibrary @ 1:07 pm
Tags: , , ,

After reading Purcell’s article, think about a) whether you agree with the roles Purcell identifies and b) whether you would change the order of the roles she identifies e.g. should teacher come first?

I think Purcell beautifully summarises the complex nature of a TL. She clearly outlines the interrelatedness of the 5 roles – leader, instructional partner, teacher, information specialist and program administrator and shows how they cannot be successfully performed in isolation.

I felt that the ordering of the roles was spot on as being both a leader and an instructional partner focus on collaboration, encouraging all stakeholders to bring their knowledge and skills to the table for the betterment of teaching and learning.

Purcell’s point about clearly articulating the TL role to the whole community was pivotal. I believe most teachers and administrators still believe TLs are all about the books.

 

Collection management vs collection development March 8, 2011

Examine and consider the definitions provided for the terms ‘selection’, ‘acquisition’, ‘deselection’ (for ‘weeding’) and ‘collection evaluation’ in the glossary of terms provided in your Kennedy text (pp.159-165).

Selection: understanding the curriculum and needs of the learners and teachers involved.

  • What resources do we already have?
  • What gaps are there in our collection – for learners, for teachers?
  • What makes resource A better than resource B?
  • Who is this new resource for?
  • How does this new resource best meet the needs of multiple stake holders?
  • Are we buying updated copies of resources already within our collection? If so, why?
  • How do we know we need to buy certain resources?

Acquisition: how we buy the resources we need.

  • What network have we created within which we can purchase our resources?
  • How does the value of the currency we are buying with impact our purchasing?
  • How do we know the publisher/supplier is reliable and honest?
  • Who is responsible for purchasing and/or supplying each resource?

Deselection: removal of resources no longer needed or deemed appropriate for the collection

  • Who decides which resources are no longer needed?
  • What criteria have been put into place to judge a resource against?
  • Where do the deselected materials go once they have been taken off the catalogue – is there a place for them in another library somewhere else or must they be thrown in the rubbish?
  • What is the process each resource must go through when deselected?

Collection evaluation: deciding if the entire collection is meeting the needs and wants of the community it serves

  • How do we know the collection is meeting the needs and wants of our community?
  • What criteria have been put into place to judge our collection?
  • Who are the stakeholders in deciding a collection’s worth?
Examine and consider the definition provided for the term ‘collection development policy’ (for collection policy) in the glossary of terms provided in your Kennedy text (p. 160).

My school’s collection development policy is actually called a selection policy and is divided into the following components:

  • Philosophy
  • Selection Objectives
  • Responsibility for Selection
  • Selection Criteria
  • Gifts
  • Policies on Controversial Materials
  • Request for Consideration of Materials

Our development policy does not state numbers of resources in any one category nor does it state information pertaining to the management of the resources once they are selected. It is simply a guide provided to any interested parties on how our school decides if a resource is appropriate for our learning environment.

Find at least one other definition of collection management or collection development, preferably relating to school libraries, or a statement relating to resourcing the curriculum, and compare it with the definitions provided here. In particular see if you can find a definition used by your educational authority or an educational authority with which you are familiar. What are the key elements of that definition?

“Collection development is the process of developing and maintaining a range of resources that will meet the information needs of the library’s users. When it comes to the school library, the collection must reflect a balance between supporting the teaching and learning in the school and providing resources to meet individual needs and interests. Selection of materials however, should not be limited just to information needs, but should include resources that will challenge and inspire students and staff alike.” Tasmanian Education Department website (thank you and kudos go to Suzanne van der Veer, fellow 503 student for pointing me to this definition – I was thoroughly stuck for a suitable definition, even after searching EBSCO)

Firstly, I was surprised in my research by how often the term collection development was still being used by many professionals. I really liked Kennedy’s take on how development is subsumed and is part of the umbrella term of ‘management’. Having said that, I believe the Tas Ed Dept definition is the same at its core. I especially love the reference to challenge and inspire as that mirrors my schools mission statement: “connect, challenge, inspire: make a difference”.

 

 
loving the learning

continuing tales of a teacher librarian

PE to TL - The Journey Begins!

Reflections and thoughts on ETL401.

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