Having just completed a Concept Map and accompanying Narrative about School Leadership the first question I now ask myself is, “How does this apply to my current situation in my school library?”
I believe that many of the concepts outlined in my Concept Map can be found in my primary school Library. Some are good, some are bad and others would probably be considered ugly.
As Trilling and Fadel (2009) discuss, the knowledge and skills required for students in the 21st Century is impacting across all sectors of society, most significantly, education. The Global Societal context, preparing students for the future, is having a huge impact on the way ‘Library’ is portrayed. The near future in Australian libraries will likely see a switch to “Media and Information Centre”. From my own experience, the roll-out of the NSW Australian Curriculum is meaning more pressure is placed on the TL, as the traditional ‘information systems’ specialist. We need to take the lead in mapping the collection to the curriculum, expanding the digital and electronic collection, identifying and acquiring more texts for viewing, and in-servicing and supporting our colleagues to push technology into the classrooms.
The School Culture is generally supportive, encouraging reading for enjoyment and dropping in to the Library to check on student’s progress or have a mini-lesson on a technology tool that their child has come home to use after using it for research or project work in the Library. I believe that parents trust my technical skills and recognise that their students are learning good digital citizenship habits. Without this parental support, trust, openness and transparency in my Library, it would be difficult to create the strong learning community that I hope that I am achieving.
Currently the Principal distributes leadership but only in specific areas. My Principal expects me to lead the more administrative elements of the Library programme seamlessly but Personal Factors often prevent me from being able to do this. The Principal’s ‘practical wisdom’, as Dimmock (2011) terms, reduces the effectiveness of the Library programme through, most likely, a lack of understanding of the benefits of Guided Inquiry and support in planning time and flexible programming to allow full teacher –TL collaboration. This is a significant barrier to providing better opportunities for students to make deeper connections in their learning.
My Concept Map suggests that Teachers/Principals need to continually reflect on Results, Research and Evaluation. I am only just beginning to get my head around what this requires and how I can use it to increase my personal power as the TL to facilitate higher student achievement. This of course, will then require my skills in Change Management to develop a shared vision of how the Library fits into the School Community.
Whilst School Administrators are supportive in the sense of integrating technology across the curriculum, at a strategic level, we seem to be lagging behind other countries. Electronic resourcing, policy and procedures about devices in the Library, cloud computing (outside DET supported programs), Bring Your Own Device options, online borrowing and the like, have already been on trial for many years overseas. The danger of being over-cautious about addressing these options for our students may mean that we are placing them at a disadvantage.
Dimmock, Clive (2011). Leadership, Capacity Building and School Improvement : Concepts, themes and impact. Retrieved from http://reader.eblib.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/
Trilling, B., & Fadel, C. (2009). Learning and innovation skills. 21st century skills learning for life in our times (pp. 45-60). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.