The library is not a shrine for the worship of books. It is not a temple where literacy incense must be burned or where one’s devotion to the bound book is expressed in ritual. A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of new ideas.
Norman Cousins in (Lankes, 2011, p. 15)
“Concept maps are graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge” (Novak & Cañas, 2008, p. 1). The idea of a concept map is to engage visual learners who can construct their knowledge of a particular topic in a diagrammatic form. Although all the literature was read pertaining to the theory and construction of creating a concept map, I found this task particularly overwhelming and challenging. On this educational journey, it made me realise that this was not my natural style of learning because the associations between ‘bubbles’ could be interpreted differently to the original intent and it was not linear in nature. However, it also made me comprehend and appreciate that for other learners to grasp the relationship between different ideas was easier when displayed in a visual manner. Next term, I will be endeavouring to use concept maps (bubbl.us, 2014) as one method for exploring and assessing concept knowledge within the classroom situation to engage visual learners.
It was interesting to note that the Buzzle Leadership Style Quiz (Dhavale, 2014) indicated that my style of leadership is democratic/participative. As a democratic leader, one considers the suggestions and opinions of the team members and actively involves people in the decision-making process. This means the ultimate decision is made that usually has the majority of the team members approving. It is motivating for the team members as they are encouraged to contribute in the process and it can improve creativity and productivity. “It is one of the ideal leadership styles in an education system” (Dhavale, 2014) and my preferred modus operandi. While this is positive in one sense, it means that making an autocratic decision is sometimes difficult even if the situational context requires this outcome. There are times when a decision just needs to be made but there is procrastination on my part, to consult with others to ‘make the right decision’ when it is not necessary.
“For all the research that has been conducted on the topic of leadership, the field remains curiously unformed” (Hackman & Wageman, 2007, p. 43). There is no prescriptive formula for selecting a ‘correct’ leadership style but research promotes the idea of preferred leadership styles and qualities such as transformational leadership as it enables the most effective educational change (Avolio, Walumba, & Weber, 2009; Browning, 2013; Marzano, Waters & McNulty, 2005). However, whatever leadership model is selected, it must be robust enough to complement the interaction between personal and situational aspects (Hackman & Wageman, 2007). There has also been little research into whether a particular leadership style “can actually be developed” (Avolio et al, 2009, p. 425). Reading all this literature has made me appreciate and acknowledge that while a transformational leader can make the most effective change in schools, it takes a particular personality who has the tenacity, knowledge, passion, leadership and communication skills to undertake this challenge.
Teacher Librarian as Leader
Understanding and appreciating the various leadership styles and qualities has made me more passionate about team teaching, and leading teams to collaborate and promote informational literacy skills, which involves resourcing the library with quality print and digital resources, supporting classroom teaching practices and student learning and instilling a love of reading books. On a personal note, the next step in my leadership journey will be to implement an information literacy model that is adapted school-wide. Due to the large size of the school in which I work, not all classes are able to access the library every term and it is therefore important to lead those teachers not directly under my leadership to undertake and adopt an informational literacy model that is consistent with the library.
Avolio, B., Walumba, F.,& Weber, T. J. (2009). Leadership: Current theories, research, and future directions. Annual Review of Psychology 60, 421-449. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.60.110707.163621
Bubbl.us. (2014). Brainstorming made simple. Retrieved from https://bubbl.us/
Dhavale, G. (2014, April 9). Leadership Styles Quiz. Buzzle. Retrieved from http://www.buzzle.com/articles/leadership-styles-quiz.html
Hackman, J. R., & Wageman, R. (2007). Asking the right questions about leadership. American Psychologist, 62(1), 43-47. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.62.1.43
Irisdeanda. (2013). 7 Poetry books of 2013. Retrieved April 14, 2015 from http://irisdeanda.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/love-books-1.jpg
Lankes, R. D. (2011). The Atlas of new librarianship. Cambridge, Massachusetts; London, England: MIT Press, Association of College & Research Libraries
Novak, J. D. & Cañas, A. J. (2008). The theory underlying concept maps and how to construct and use them. [ETL 504 Module Assignment 1]. Retrieved April 13, 2015 from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/sakai-msi-tool/content/bbv.html?subjectView=true&siteId=ETL504_201530_W_D