Prior to beginning my Teacher Librarian course at CSU I really had no comprehension of the roles and responsibilities of a teacher librarian within a school context, and certainly did not consider the teacher librarian as a leader or in any leadership role. My experiences of leadership was confined to the principal, deputy principal, Numeracy and Literacy coordinators, and the Religious Education coordinator within a Catholic Primary school context, who all dutifully exercised their roles and responsibilities with knowledge and expertise, but as Situational leaders without flair, creativity or any interest in encouraging team members personal growth through problem-solving challenges or encouraging critical thinking (Leadership Theory and Critical Skills, 2013).
I definitely aspire to be a Transformational leader who empowers staff and is innovative and creative, concerned with developing member’s growth as reflective practitioners (Sergiovanni, 1984, p. 8). After completing my concept map on leadership and identifying what I considered to be the important features of leadership within a school context, the role and practice of the teacher librarian as a leader has become more defined and viable within a school library context.
I consider a good leader to be someone who effectively leads by example by demonstrating excellent communication and interpersonal skills when working collaboratively and respectfully with all staff members. A willingness to listen, encourage, support, show compassion and develop strong relationships, builds trust with other staff members and contributes towards a positive and cooperative working environment. A strong knowledge base and expertise is a fundamental base to begin building leadership skills and these attributes are all featured in my concept map on leadership in schools.
Teacher librarian’s can identify avenues for the development of leadership roles in schools through their knowledge and expertise of the school’s information services, and can relate to issues in leadership theory and the decision-making process to the teacher librarian’s role in the school. As a leader, learning how to share and organise this information is an important leadership skill of a teacher librarian or an information literacy educator. Tapscott (2013) states that leading change requires both an understanding of your own leadership style and styles of others around you, as well as a vision for how the change or decisions you make impact on staff, students and learning outcomes. A teacher librarian is in an excellent position to implement change and present a vision for change, by presenting her expertise and knowledge of information services and literacies through professional learning and training for staff, and working in collaborative teams to implement new curriculum content and practices, such as the new Australian Curriculum (Kotter, n.d.).
By demonstrating effective leadership decisions regarding different approaches towards resource selection and changes to how information literacy is taught, a teacher librarian can positively initiate changes to attitudes and entrenched organisational structures throughout the school by encouraging more efficient and constructive information programs and procedures designed to provide more successful learning outcomes from both students and teachers in line with 21st century educational ideology and direction.
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Kotter, J. (n.d.). The 8-Step Process for Leading Change. Kotter International – Innovative Strategy Implementation Professionals. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from http://www.kotterinternational.com/our-principles/changesteps/changesteps
Leadership Theory and Critical Skills. – Globalization of Information Commerce Connectivity. Video
Sergiovanni, T. (1984). Leadership and Excellence in Schooling. Educational Leadership, February, 4-13. Retrieved January 24, 2013, from http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_198402_sergiovanni.pdf
Tapscott, D. (2013). Four Principles for the Open World – video – TED.com Intel