Reflective practice and collaboration together with an understanding of digital learning and the literacies that are integral to learning, is the framework for instructional leadership for teacher librarians. This understanding with an active part in the professional learning of staff ideally situates the teacher librarian as a leader in the learning process. In order to develop leadership for learning, teacher librarians must understand:
- Instructional leadership
- Collaborative curriculum development
- Digital learning, and
- Professional learning for staff
To lead learning, you must have a sound knowledge and understanding of teaching and learning theories and how the theories support or can be used for innovation and change.
Being innovative, a critical thinker and creative are considered a base level of what it means to be a 21st century learner. These skills are an integral part of the Australian Curriculum’s General Capabilities.
The term “connected leadership” is introduced as another component of a reflective leader.
Curriculum leadership is shown through your work with teachers in collaboratively developing programs for students.
Collaboration is essential to leadership success.
Collaboration in any form builds better outcomes for staff and students and is a professional learning strategy in its own right.
Some guidelines for successful collaboration:
- Define exactly what it is you would like to achieve
- Make sure that each person in the team understands both the mutual outcome and the role of each member of the team
- Be clear about when it is appropriate to know when to lead and when to follow
- Timelines are essential – establish meeting times and stick to them as much as possible
Build the outcome of the collaboration in a collaborative environment that encourages information sharing and joint ownership of the knowledge.
Digital learning allows students to construct their own knowledge anywhere anytime as it can use a variety of strategies where teachers can build learning sequences in line with individual student needs. Digital literacy is therefore considered important by educators as they recognise that not only does the teaching profession have a role in preparing students for a digital world, but that a sustained engagement with technology and media is now integral to the development of knowledge across disciplines and subjects
Digital Literacy at a simple level incorporates information, ICT and critical literacies in an interrelated way.
The teacher librarian operates as a professional learning consultant in the school in all your interactions with staff – from advising on resources to read or use through to demonstrating and teaching how to use materials or resources as well as introducing new pedagogical strategies in curriculum to the school.
- Skill acquisition prior to peer coaching or mentoring
- Professional development
- The ADDIE model that outlines how to design good professional learning. This creates a case for teacher librarians to be an advocate for instructional design in their schools
- Action research is one strategy for professional learning that is being used more due to its close alignment with the concept of evidenced base practice and “on the job” learning. Action research also closely aligns with the learning process teacher librarians operate under.
- Team teaching or co-teaching
- The concerns based adoption model (CBAM) and action research are methodologies that can be used by teacher librarians when working with teachers.
The new Australian Curriculum is providing teachers and teacher librarians with many new challenges – none the least being the need to continue to improve personal knowledge and understanding of digital tools and digital environments. A personal learning strategy is possibly more important now than at any other time.
- I believe that instructional leadership is about creating the conditions for learning in a school. It is evidenced as teachers lead in the classroom, work collaboratively and engage in inquiry to strengthen practice.
- Learning is imperative for leadership and leadership can influence learning.
** I think this idea is great! I can’t wait to try it at my school 🙂
As our school prepares for the Australian Curriculum where there will be more of an emphasis on inquiry-based learning, I thought I could establish a school wiki where teachers could contribute ideas, suggestions, relevant articles and lesson plans etc. that they have used or want to ask their peers about. This would be an example of collaboration for learning and would also assist our school leaders in understanding how our teachers are leading their own knowledge paths with the changes in Curriculum. (Tanya Toohey – Module 3 Forum Posting)