Lead the change

A reflection on ETL504.

Learning is social.

Learning happens in context.

Learning about the Teacher Librarian(TL) as Leader happens, for me, within the context of completing a Masters of Education by distance education while adjusting to a new position in a new school, and all the myriad of challenges that lie within that context. The learning modules, readings, videos, forums, online meetings, assignments, resulting expansion of my PLN… that have come with this subject, have acted to inspire and excite me with the potential of the role, of TL as leader, that has been revealed. Reflecting on this learning here gives me a chance to embrace this opportunity and formulate a cunning plan. I’ll just choose a few highlights to fit into 800 words!

To measure my change I needed a snapshot of my thinking at the commencement of this subject so I sat down and wrote about what leadership looked like for me in schools and was immediately concerned – all the evidence pointed to the role of Teacher Librarian being under-utilised and poorly understood. I realised that my own approach to leadership in schools was stuck in the mud of position titles and traditional role assumptions, and this course was expecting a huge shift in those assumptions (Hogg, 2015b). I’d never taken the time before to read about Leadership Theory… and had neglected my own professional development because I really hadn’t engaged with research and literature about either leadership or pedagogical theory and practice, with any depth, since my bachelor degree days – decades ago. Sure I’ve read lots of blog posts about connectivism and done a MOOC on constructivism… but hadn’t really taken the time to think deeply about what these theories mean for libraries and learning. I hadn’t found my own Zone of Proximal Development (Moore, 2012).

21st-centuryApplying what I was learning and analysing my own school situation led me to explore distributed leadership (Spillane, 2006) theory in more depth. This perspective on leadership helped me to get beyond the reliance on the transformational leadership of a hero-Principal, and begin to unpack the implications for effective 21st century school leadership (Crowther, 2009; Bennett et al, 2006) – to understand Teacher as Leader  and Leading for Learning.

In addition to completing the well structured learning modules and required readings of the course, I also found I needed to investigate in more detail the aspects of emotional intelligence required for leadership (Hogg, 2015a), the link between leadership, andragogy and provision of high quality professional development (Hogg, 2015d) and the imperative for change in instructional leadership – which led me to explore the concept of the teaching gap (Hogg, 2015c). All of which are aspects of leadership for learning that need to be incorporated into the modern role of the Teacher Librarian.

In addition to these broad theoretical structures, the course also provided learning about the important aspects of communication for building relationships and collaborative partnerships, negotiation and conflict resolution (including the self learning of completing a questionnaire about approaches to managing conflict), and designing communication processes. This led to an introduction to strategic planning.

Developing a recipe for achieving an intended outcome in our school requires the development of a clear vision and mission, a practical strategic plan, a set of activities that reveal the plan, and the nurturing of a commitment to that plan (Matthews & Matthews, 2013). A leader needs direction and this is created through analysis using models such as SWOT (Olsen, 2008) and STEEP (Watt, 2011) and managing change using frameworks like Kotter International’s 8 Step Process (Kotter, 2015) and the Concerns Based Adoption Model (CBAM) (SEDL, 2014).

The clarity achieved now is an understanding that leadership requires vision, trust, modeling, consideration of and empowerment to others, negotiation and communication (Collay, 2011). The TL must provide passion, commitment and direction in order to lead from the middle (Sinek, 2010; Donham, 2005). The collaborative creation of a vision statement and development of a strategic plan will inspire change and drive adaptation of the school library to the needs of twenty-first century learning and learners.

With all this food for thought, I felt prepared to address the challenge of the second assignment and begin to formulate a cunning plan to innovate the role of teacher librarian in my school… which is the goal of this mission. I am on a quest to incorporate our library into a renewed vision for twenty-first century learning in my school… and so it begins.



Bennett, N., Crawford, M,, Cartwright, M. (2003) Effective educational leadership. London: Paul Chapman Publishing

Collay, M. (2011). Everyday teacher leadership: Taking action where you are. Wiley, Hoboken.

Crowther, F. (2009) Developing teacher leaders – how teacher leadership enhances school success Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press

Donham, J. (2005). Leadership. In Enhancing teaching and learning: a leadership guide for school library media specialists (2nd ed.) (pp. 295-305). New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers.

Hogg, D. (2015a) Goleman on Leadership. [online] Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/debhoggoz/2015/09/12/goleman-on-leadership/

Hogg, D. (2015b) “I know all that, tell me how!”. [online] Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/debhoggoz/2015/09/09/i-know-all-that-tell-me-how/

Hogg, D. (2015c) Instructional leadership and the teaching gap. [online]  Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/debhoggoz/2015/09/28/instructional-leadership/

Hogg, D. (2015d) Semadeni on professional development. [online] Retrieved from  http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/debhoggoz/2015/09/27/semadeni-on-professional-development/

Kotter, J. (2015) The 8 step process for leading change. [online] Retrieved from http://www.kotterinternational.com/the-8-step-process-for-leading-change/

Matthews, S.A. & Matthews, K.D. (2013) Crash course in strategic planningSanta Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.

Moore, A. (2012) Theories of teaching and learning. Teaching and learning: Pedagogy, curriculum and culture (2nd ed., pp. 1-30). London: Routledge

SEDL (2014) Concerns-based adoption model [online] Retrieved from http://www.sedl.org/cbam/

Spillane, J.P. (2006) Distributed leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Instructional Leadership and the Teaching Gap

“The teaching gap we describe refers to the differences between the kinds of teaching needed to achieve the educational dreams of the American people and the kind of teaching found in most American schools. Although many of the American teachers we observed were highly competent at implementing American teaching methods, the methods themselves were severely limited.

The teaching gap becomes even more significant when one realizes that while other countries are continually improving their teaching approaches, the United States has no system for improving. The Unites States is always reforming but not always improving. The most alarming aspect of classroom teaching in the United States is not how we are teaching now but that we have no mechanism for getting better. Without such a mechanism, the teaching gap will continue to grow.”

The Teaching Gap, Stigler and Hiebert, 2009 (pp. xviii-xix)

Stigler and Hiebert conducted a major study of teaching and provide some important guidelines that have implications for instructional leaders.

So this is the deep end...

So this is the deep end…

Finding #1: Teaching, not teachers, is the critical factor. Teachers cannot be effective if the methods they are using do not promote better student learning.

Finding #2: Teaching is a cultural activity – while teaching methods vary greatly from country to country, the teaching methods used by teachers in the same country are very similar.

Finding #3: They discovered a gap in methods for improving teaching. While American teachers have been trying their best to implement reform measures and recommendations, there is little evidence that the teaching has substantively changed.

The relationship of the teaching gap to becoming a better instructional leader is based on trying to solve the problem of how to improve teaching. In 1999, Stigler and Hiebert set the stage for improving teaching across the United States by proposing six principles for what they called “gradual, measurable improvement”.

Principle #1: Expect improvement to be continual, gradual, and incremental.

Principle #2: Maintain a constant focus on student learning goals.

Principle #3: Focus on teaching, not teachers.

Principle #4: Make improvements in context. The context for making improvements is complex and includes the teachers, students, curriculum, grouping, scheduling, and resources. All of these elements, and others that impact the classroom, must be considered when trying to improve teaching methods.

Principle #5: Make improvement the work of teachers

Principle #6: Build a system that can learn from its own experience.

“School learning will not improve markedly unless we give teachers the opportunity and support they need to advance their craft by increasing the effectiveness of the methods they use.”

The challenge here for the Teacher Librarian is the teaching part of their role. An experienced Teacher Librarian should have a classroom teaching background to provide validation for their participation in instructional leadership and the provision of professional development to showcase current pedagogical practice and lead change.



Stigler, J. W., & Hiebert, J. (1999). The teaching gap: Best ideas from the world’s teachers for improving education in the classroom. New York: Free Press.


Research Gate – slide presentation


Semadeni on Professional Development

One of the areas that Teacher Librarians can provide leadership in a school which has a strong improvement agenda, is the area of provision of Professional Development. Teachers play a vital role in the school improvement process and encouraging them to improve practice, develop their skill set and innovate their approach to the classroom, requires some significant leadership and planning. Teacher Librarians can support this process through providing access to research, professional readings, connections to global change agendas etc.
Professional developmentAn agenda of improvement includes a focus on instruction, the development of innovative assessment tools and practices, and the nourishment of curriculum presentation in an engaging fashion for students. Professional Development is the key to success in the change of practice in these important areas of school improvement.
Semadeni’s 2009 book, Taking charge of Professional Development – a practical model for your school, provides a vision for improving the Professional Development planning in schools:

Semadeni proposes that professional development must include three important components to be meaningful:

  1. all training activities should incorporate principles of andragogy, adult learning;
  2. professional development should provide teachers with multiple, varied exposures to new information and new models; and
  3. staff development should encourage teachers to practice those new skills until they can apply what they have learned – in a format they are comfortable with.

In particular, Semadeni explains that the application of principles of adult learning increases the productivity of Professional Development. The theory of andragogy, from the work of Malcolm Knowles (1980), proposes these assumptions about adult learning:
“Adults need to be self-directing.” Autonomy is fundamental to adult learning. Allowing teachers to choose professional development of personal interest increases the likelihood that they will transfer newfound knowledge into classroom instruction. However, the degree of teacher autonomy should equal their developmental needs.
“Adults have accumulated a vast reservoir of life experiences that should be tapped throughout the learning process.”
Teachers value the experience they have gained through years of teaching. Ignoring these experiences can lead to resistance, defensiveness, or withdrawal from the learning activity. Thus, the more effectively innovations are linked to teachers’ previous experiences, the more likely they will accept new practices. Collaboration, when used appropriately, can help teachers make this connection. Because adults rely heavily on past experiences to learn new information, it is unrealistic to expect teachers to abandon everything they have previously used to fully and completely embrace new innovations. As a result, strategies implemented by teachers are seldom identical to the way strategies were originally presented.
“Adults learn when they feel a need to learn.” Knowles (1972) explains, “The adult . . . comes into an educational activity largely because he[she] is experiencing some inadequacy in coping with current life problems” (p. 36). Unless educators feel dissatisfied with some aspect of their teaching performance, chances are good they will not feel a need to learn something new. The secret to success is helping educators develop a strong desire or need to learn without discouraging them. Assessment and evaluation, when used appropriately, can create this need.
“Adults are performance centred.”
For this reason, they are interested in learning practical information that can be applied to help them solve real-life problems. When planning professional development, ensure that each training session provides meaningful strategies that can be applied immediately; otherwise, teachers are unlikely to transfer what they learn to the classroom.
“Adult learning is primarily intrinsically motivated.” (Knowles, 1984). Teacher participation in learning activities is based on personal needs rather than externally imposed requirements to encourage teacher participation. According to Brookfield (1986), intimidation or coercion has no place in motivating adult participation.

These elements provide a framework for constructing professional development opportunities to cater to the ongoing needs of teaching staff. The challenge for Teacher Librarians who attempt to participate in the provision of professional development within their schools, is to be seen as relevant and meaningful for their target audience.


Brookfield, S. (1986). Understanding and facilitating adult learning.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Knowles, M. S. (1972). Innovations in teaching styles and approaches based upon adult learning. Journal of Education for Social Work, 8 (2), 32–39.

Knowles, M. S. (1980). The modern practice of adult education: From pedagogy to andragogy  (2nd ed.). Chicago: Association/Follett.

Semadeni, J. H. (2009). Taking charge of professional development: A practical model for your school. Alexandria, Va: ASCD.

Goleman on Leadership

After completing the first assignment for ETL504, Teacher Librarian as Leader, the issue of how leaders lead has become a fixation. My blog post for the assignment ended up as “tell me how!” – having been in schools for decades and analysing all those leaders that I’ve come across, it now becomes – how does an effective leader lead? …so I’ve been off on a tangent ever since.
An obvious place to go was to explore the research of Daniel Goleman – known for his work on Emotional Intelligence, and there is a lot of that needed in order to be an effective leader.
In an article published in the Harvard Business Review in 2000, and in 2003 included in a compilation, Goleman explored the link between leadership and the personal qualities needed to be effective as a leader of schools… notes presented here have been taken from the article:

  • 6 leadership styles reflecting different emotional intelligence components
  • Emotional Intelligence (EI) is “the ability to manage ourselves and our relationships effectively”
  • Goleman describes four fundamental capacities of EI – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and social skills
  • High impact leaders select from a range of leadership styles according to their situation. Ultimately, seamless application of their leadership style is the aim.

Goleman Leadership StylesGoleman’s Leadership styles:

  • Coercive – immediate compliance
  • Authoritative – take charge to move teams towards the vision
  • Affiliative – develop emotional bonds and harmony
  • Democratic – build concensus through participation
  • Pacesetting – set a pace and expect excellence and self-direction
  • Coaching – develop individuals for future planning and role development

McClelland (cited by Goleman) found leaders with strengths in the greatest number of EI components exhibit the most effective leadership.
Six styles but only four have consistent effect on leadership outcomes. An authoritative leadership style was found to effect the climate most positively. In order after that it was affiliative, democratic and coaching styles.
All styles have some short-term benefits and cannot be relied upon singularly – a mix is necessary.
Goleman examined the effect on climate as defined by Litwin, Stringer and subsequently refined by McClelland and colleagues (flexibility, responsibility, standards, rewards, clarity, commitment).
He describes the link to improved financial results based on styles that positively affect the leadership climate.


  • least effective
  • effects flexibility
  • reduces sense of responsibility
  • erosion of pride (rewards system)
  • undermines motivation
  • diminished clarity and commitment “How does any of this matter?”


  • enthusiasm and vision are hallmarks of this style
  • most effective regarding establishing clear goals
  • maximises commitment
  • defines standards through vision
  • clear rewards
  • freedom to be self-initiated and flexible


  • value individuals above tasks and goals
  • builds emotional bonds
  • marked effect on levels of communication
  • flexibility increases through trust
  • positive feedback offered
  • “masters at building a sense of belonging”
  • emotional honesty
  • use in conjunction with authoritative style


  • time spent on gathering team ideas and consequently effecting the level of buy-in
  • builds trust, respect and commitment
  • flexibility and responsibility are established
  • high morale
  • realistic about accomplishments as a result
  • generates new ideas for fulfilment of the vision


  • use sparingly
  • negatively impacts climate if not a measured, careful approach
  • results in second-guessing of the leader’s intentions
  • lack of establishment of trust – diminished flexibility and rejection of responsibility
  • no feedback loop
  • commitment to corporate vision suffers


  • described as “more like a counsellor”
  • team members identify their strengths, weaknesses and aspirations
  • encourages long-term planning and critical thinking
  • clear agreements made about roles and responsibilities
  • lots of instruction and feedback to inform planning
  • delegate responsibilities
  • research shows this style is used least often in schools
  • “impact on climate and performance are markedly positive”
  • constant dialogue required which effects communication levels and impacts on all areas of climate
  • clearly delivers “bottom-line results”

Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R. E., & McKee, A. (2003). Best of HBR on leadership: Emotionally intelligent leadership : a collection of articles. Boston: Harvard Business School Pub.

“I know all that. Tell me how!”

Having worked in schools, in various roles, more on than off since 1982, I’ve comfortably assumed that I know quite a deal about leadership in schools… but schools have changed, are changing still, and I am changing too as I participate in the new challenge of the role of Teacher Librarian. This opportunity now, courtesy of the MEd(TL), to learn about the theory behind the practice of leadership, has given me pause, and an opportunity to reflect – both on the leadership I have witnessed in schools over the years, and on my own participation in it.
My viewpoint now is that when I started in schools, leadership was conceptualised as the responsibility of a small subset of the staff of a school. Certainly there was the sense that the role of Principal or Headmaster/Headmistress was exclusive in the perception of a well managed school – in essence there was a real sense that leadership lived or died in a school dependent on the personality characteristics and practices of that single individual. When I look back at that approach now, I realise this was quite a comfortable perception for everyone other than the Principal. Thirty years later, my thoughts now are that leadership in schools is much more than the role of the Principal – trouble being that this may still put me in conflict with those staff who continue to perpetuate this notion of effective school leadership being dependent on that single individual at the head… and I don’t think it is that simple anymore at all.
As this course has presented readings covering leadership theory and the changes that have occurred over the same time span that I have been teaching in schools, so I see how my own view of leadership and participation in it, have developed over these decades. Ideas about “natural born leaders” have floated around during that time, but I have come to believe that leadership is as much about innate characteristics as it is about learning how to lead… and being given opportunities to practice those skills. The concepts of Distributed Leadership and Transformational Leadership are of particular interest at my career stage and I look forward to a deeper understanding of these theories.
This year, as I started a new adventure in a NSW Department of Education School Library, circumstances have already provided a series of challenges and opportunities to participate as Teacher Librarian as leader, and also to observe other staff in various positions, participate in leadership development – regardless of their named position.
The ASLA guidelines for excellence in Teacher Librarianship provide a framework for establishing the role and taking a place in the leadership in my school. These give a strong focus as I look for opportunities to:
actively engage in school leadership and participate in key committees
promote and nurture a ‘whole school focus’ on information literacy policy and implementation
build and foster collaborative teams within school and professional communities
provide effective and transformational leadership to school library and information services staff
As it happens, my new school has also been in particular need of leadership in IT management and ICT integration, and these areas within my skill set have been utilised within my new situation – providing a bridge for other projects and collaborative practices. Recently I have been approached by the Head Teacher of the English Faculty to consult on plans for establishing a Literacy Committee for our school in 2016 and I look forward to those challenges.
As this course expands my knowledge of leadership practice, I look forward to increasing my availability to participate in an essential Servant Leadership opportunity within my school as their Teacher Librarian.

ASLA (2005) Standards of professional excellence for Teacher Librarians. 1st Ed. [PDF] Australian School Library Association. Available at: http://www.asla.org.au/policy/standards.aspx