INF520 First Assessment Reflection

So, my first assessment back this session was the second one handed in. It was one of the most practical assignments I’ve had so far in this course – especially in the degree to which the expectation was to actually emulate the real-world documents we were asked to produce. The three components were: a press release, an annotated bibliography of resources to back up the press release, and a podcast/two minute public service announcement. All of these texts were meant to highlight the importance and challenges of preservation in the context of local history.

I was not as attentive as I should have been to the features of an authentic press release. I was more concerned about presenting the breadth of the issues that I wanted to present versus a bit more depth and personal connection to “hook” the audience. Due to the variety of ideas I was presenting, I also used a fair amount of bullet lists for clarity, in retrospect I should have taken a more traditional prose style – which may have helped me elaborate more productively. I also missed the key feature of providing my contact details for further information (though I did give website references which might be assumed to contain that information – but which require more effort than one should ask of a busy media person). The press release section represents my poorest performance on an assessment task in this course to date. Continue reading “INF520 First Assessment Reflection”

I aim to misbehave

Two major issues that are coming to the fore in the case study group work process are communication and participation. I stole my title from the Firefly character Mal Reynolds as my strategy in this particular case study session was to communicate clearly to my group my paticipation parameters – basically informing them “I aim to misbehave.” Due to my commitments in my other subject (assessment due the Monday of the case study session week) and work (Tuesday through Thursday with little room for Uni on those days) I was only able to participate in this session marginally before the Friday on which the response was due. I took the initiative to share my constraints with the group as soon as the case study email was released. This provided a space for another group member to step forward and take the initiative to facilitate the work for this session. Stepping back in this way was a bit difficult for me and shone a light on how much I like to have control over a process in which I am emotionally invested. Continue reading “I aim to misbehave”

The impossible dream?

Finally, an article has admitted it. “The demands of modern principalship are nearly impossible to meet (Danielson, 2007, para 5).” I feel like we have been reading and discussing leadership in this subject with rose-coloured glasses. We’ve looked at the ideal mix of leadership styles and structures to lead a 21st Century school through change. But, until now, none of our readings has acknowledged the unlikelihood of a principal (or, I would argue, a Teacher Librarian) being able to weild that mix of leadership styles, implement that balance of structures, and accomplish the array of tasks that have been set out in these ideals. Yes, there has been lip-service to teamwork and distributing leadership and the like. But, I feel that there is an overwhelming pressure being put on the students in this subject to take on a mantle of leadership that is too heavy to be sustainably carried by them as individuals. When I browsed through module four and read the various bullet-point lists relating to how we can be leaders as teachers and TLs, I nearly had a panic attack – especially thinking “Wait! I am still trying to figure out how to just get myself through the daily basic expectations of my role… how the hell am I supposed to do or show all of THIS?!”

I do want to dream and aspire and aim high. However, I would love to dream a possible dream that I have some chance of acheiving.

References

Danielson, C. (2007). The many faces of leadership. Educational Leadership, 65(1), 14-19. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept07/vol65/num01/The-Many-Faces-of-Leadership.aspx

Conflict Handling Style Analysis

At the end of Module 3.2, we were asked to do a questionnaire (McGraw Hill Global Education Holdings, 2018) to determine our preferred conflict handling style(s) and reflect on the results.

  • According to the model, my preferences for conflict handling followed the following pattern:
    • Minimally strong preference (the bottom score on the “strong preference” range) for:
      • Avoiding: 13/20, and
      • Problem Solving: 17/20
    • Moderately strong preferences (one mark below the top of the “moderate preference” range) for the conflicting styles of:
      • Yielding: 12/20, and
      • Forcing: 13/20
    • Moderately low preference (the bottom of the “moderate preference” range) for:
      • Compromising: 11/20

This would seem to indicate that I avoid conflict where possible. When I do engage in a conflict situation, however, my goal is to optimise solutions (aim for a win/win where possible) rather than to achieve a 50/50 compromise. I find the similar scores for the opposing styles of yielding and forcing an interesting outcome. I suppose it indicates that I use a situational approach where I yield or stand up for my position as seems most appropriate for solving the problem in an optimal fashion.

  • Does this match to how you think of yourself?

When I interpret the results as discussed above, I can see myself in the description. If possible, I prefer to avoid confrontation. I endeavour not to lie or mis-represent my position and to stand for my viewpoint with integrity but also make an effort to do so as diplomatically as possible. I definitely see myself as someone who goes into a conflict wanting to understand all sides and bring about a resolution that everyone is happy with, rather than merely a compromise which has demanded equal concessions by each party but left no-one truly satisfied.

  • What areas do you think you need to develop?

While I am equally likely to sit back in a yielding or avoiding style as to confidently promote my opinion in a forcing style, I am not always 100% sure that I choose the right moment to implement them. I could certainly learn to pick my tactics more carefully. Another area for improvement would be reducing my tendency to avoid conflict so that I can deal with conflicts when they are minor rather than waiting until they cannot be ignored.

References

McGraw-Hill Global Education Holdings. (2018). Self-Assessment 11.4: What is your preferred conflict handling style?   Retrieved from http://highered.mheducation.com/sites/007040187x/student_view0/chapter11/self-assessment_11_4.html 

School Leadership Structure – Brainstorming Session 1

Inspired by my classmate Liz’s post  where she started to get out her ideas for the first ETL504 Assessment, I think I will start some brainstorming of my own.

Icon: Brainstorm by Simon Child from the Noun Project
Brainstorm by Simon Child from the Noun Project

My understanding of our task is:

Using what you have learned in Module 2 and 3 – design the ideal 21st Century Learning change-oriented school leadership structure, including the TL/Library within that structure.
Pick 15 – 20 key concepts to portray that leadership structure visually in a concept map.
Write an argument that critically analyses your leadership structure – referring to your concept map and the literature.

Here are some potential concepts:

Continue reading “School Leadership Structure – Brainstorming Session 1”

Leadership Vision and Strategies for Change

At this point in the subject think about strategies to take you from TL, the keeper and stamper of the books and the quiet space (library) (how many of our colleagues perceive TLs), to become something different. Make a set of notes using your new understandings to support your arguments and conclusions:

Many of the readings regarding leadership list vision as a key quality of leadership. In order to develop strategies for moving from the stereotypical keeper-of-the-books-and-quietness to “something different” that has a leadership hue, it is essential to formulate and articulate a clear vision (Gleeson, 2016) of what that “something else” will look like. For my situation, I know that I am not really looking to take on a formal leadership role – at least not anything that has the word “principal” in the title. My projected to pathway to professional development might include pursuit a Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher status, but not an Assistant or Deputy Principal position. Therefore, my vision of my “something else” lies in the distributed leadership, informal leadership or leadership by expertise vein. My vision for the library is as a place that will be the go-to place for resources across the curriculum and for information on teaching and learning. A central school service station rather than just a place for students to go and borrow some books or listen to a story and be kept busy for an hour while their teachers plan for their “real learning activities”.

Moir, Hattie and Jansen’s (2014) viewpoint that to develop leadership capacity you first need to know what qualities the members of the organisation value as evidencing effective leadership really resonated with me. Looking at the five top “effective leadership qualities” that they found in their study (Moir, Hattie, & Jansen, 2014, p 37), I find a framework for my vision and strategy for change: Continue reading “Leadership Vision and Strategies for Change”

Case studies, ho!

Misgivings (half an hour to Case Study Online Meeting)

The case studies and group work component of this subject is probably the aspect that has given me the most misgivings to date. I am nervous about being required to interact consistently in a scheduled way with an online group as part of content that I will be expected to reference for my assessment task. I also have less confidence about actually knowing what is expected of these tasks. It threw me that the first case study material was basically just a schedule. Looking at that and teasing out surface and deeper problems or issues to pose solutions to stymied me somewhat.

I suppose the issues that jump out to me on the surface level in the case study are:

  • “I” don’t seem to have a plan or priority list, just a jumbled idea of things that need to get done and a diary with various meetings schedules
  • “I” have a fair amount of meetings
  • I am not confident that “I” have enough time to get done what is on this list by the deadlines mentioned

Deeper issues:

  • I do not get a real sense of a “team” or delegated responsibilities or distributed leadership from the scenario information
  • I seem to be “putting out fires” and working in a reactive way rather a proactive one

Possible solutions:

  • Set up some daily routines and workflows
  • Look at developing leadership and handing over some responsibilities
  • Perhaps create a collaborative space for gathering report information or templates that are filled out rather than getting the emails and then chasing people for missing information

Minutes (what happened during the meeting)

Continue reading “Case studies, ho!”

Some leadership infographics

I came across an interesting infographic on leadership on one of my teaching-oriented Facebook groups:

This resonated for me with the concepts of inspirational and instructional leadership models – where the leader is inspiring and motivating workers through more internal “soft” considerations rather than behavioralist target/reward external efficiency methods. It prompted me to reflect on how I provide for these needs with my students and with other teachers and even with the school leadership. I think that I am fairly good at building trust – but thinking about how I can improve on building the self-worth and perceived competence of others is a challenge for me to work on.

As I was searching for this infographic, I came across another post/sketchnote that I quite liked:

Since we are trying to develop ourselves as leaders and thinking of leaders as people who build leaders instead of followers, I found this pertinent. Being someone who can have a hard time seeing myself as a leader, and knowing others who have expressed a similar sentiment, I was especially taken by the notion that other people make the assessment about who is a leader. This was reinforced by reading Tamar Charney’s (n.d.) A Quiet Leader is Still a Real Leader. So many different possibilities and views on leadership… and so little time to absorb them!

References

Charney, T. (n.d.). A quiet leader is still a real leader [Blog post]. In Quiet Revolution’s Field Notes. Retrieved from https://www.quietrev.com/a-quiet-leader-is-still-a-real-leader/

Vora, T. (2015). Four basic human needs for engagement via Randy Conley [Image file]. Retrieved from http://www.qaspire.com/images/sketchnotes/21_HumanNeedsEngagement.jpg

Vora, T. (2018). Peter Senge: On developing leaders [Image file]. Retrieved from http://qaspire.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/94_Leadership_Senge_650px_thumb.jpg

The ethics of personal collecting

I found it interesting when reviewing various Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM) sector associations’ Codes of Ethics for my preservation subject that many considered personal collections that were in line with the collections of an employing institution were proscribed as conflicts of interest. On reflection, I can understand that serious collectors often have such a passion and thirst for their collections that could interfere with their ability to make sound judgements in their institutional collecting. On the other hand, a lively interest – manifested by a desire to collect items – in the collection area of your workplace would surely benefit GLAM sector employment. I was impressed with the way that the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) ( 2003) approached this matter in their very succinct Code of Ethics for Special Collections Librarians:

“I. Special collections librarians sometimes collect personally, as well as on behalf of their library. Personal collecting can add to the librarian’s understanding of a collecting area and the marketplace for special collections materials. Consequently, personal collecting should not be discouraged. However, special collections librarians should disclose their personal collecting activity to their employer, especially when their collecting area coincides with that of the institution. When such coincidence occurs, the special collections librarian must not compete with the library, must not build his or her personal collection at the expense of the institution’s collection, and must be diligent in distinguishing items acquired for the institution’s collection from items acquired for the personal collection. In all instances, special collections librarians should conduct their personal collecting in a manner that avoids impropriety and prevents any appearance thereof (ACRL, 2003, para. 13).”

References

Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). (2003, October). Code of ethics for special collections librarians. Retrieved from http://rbms.info/standards/code_of_ethics/

 

Preservation vs access in action

The school where I work is currently negotiating for a building/renovation project. Since it is a government school and stands on an historic site, there are many agencies involved in the planning process. One step in the process is happening these school holidays – there is an archaelogical dig on site, looking for some significant architectural artefacts from earlier uses of the site.

I had an interesting conversation with some members of the project team today which made me think about the issues of preservation vs access raised in the Module 1 mini-lecture by Dr Pymm. Apparently, once unearthed and exposed to the air the bricks and other building materials the archaelogists find start to mould and decay, then dry out and crumble unless extraordinary measures are taken to conserve them. We briefly discussed some of the options they have to preserve and provide access to the site information: removing some of the artefacts and preserving them offsite, creating a digital presentation overlaying high-definition photographs of the excavated artefacts on to images of the site today and re-burying the artefacts, and most likely also creating an injunction to keep developers from digging out the historically significant materials.

I am not sharing pictures or specifics as I have not received permission to do so from the project team (I am still awaiting an email with a decision regarding using photos for a piece in the school newsletter next term), but I just wanted to share my experience with a preservation/conservation topic out “in the wild”, as it were.

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