ETL 504 Vision

Right that’s it. No more changes.

Developing a community of independent, confident and self-directed learners.

I’m now a bit worried as others have written 300 words! 9 words… I’ve got a mission statement too but even when you add that it doesn’t make 300. Well Arthur said no more than 30 so I’m going concise and to the point. Like it or not here I come!


Interesting little slide show and assignment 2 ETL504.

Saw this when surfing around and really liked it. Great photographs and a good message. Thanks to Katie Birkwood for listing the reasons why libraries are great..

On another note assignment 2 coming along quite nicely. Feeling a bit pressured as the date is looming and I’m usually done by now. I think I’m almost at the point I can start writing the plan and the steps to bring about change. It’s been a very interesting assignment and Arthur’s book has eventually come in handy now I have managed to synthesised some of the readings. I’m thinking big but must remember to take small steps. Plenty of information in the readings about working on collaboration and getting support, must weave that in. Still debating about whether to keep the learning and teaching principles in but I have changed the vision again… yes I know! So as of tonight it is Quarry Bay School library, developing a community of confident, independent learners though meaningful and engaging learning experiences. It will no doubt change again but I’m keeping independent and confident although I’m now wondering if I should add self-directed? Watch this space yet again.

Beautiful weekend.

Half an hour from the hustle and bustle of HK.

A beautiful long weekend thanks to a CPD day and Buddha’s birthday. The sun shone and the sky was blue. Hong Kong in good weather just can’t be beaten. Made even better by the results of the last assignment! Woop woop! Reasons to be cheerful, especially when I’d finished it on a beach in Indonesia with no internet access except the time I had to upload it.
The next assignment seems to be going quite well. (but you never can tell) I think I need to start relating it more to strategic management and using some of the readings from the subject now. That sounds bad but I have needed to set the scene and make clear the strengths and weaknesses. ( Something I need to check further, along with the hand in date!)
The hardest thing was selecting a vision. I keep wanting to change it because every time I go back to it it seems too simplistic but then each time I think about it I think it is right as I want the needs and wants of the learners to be at the heart of what we do.
It is brief and easy to remember and can easily supports all the changes that I’d like to see within the LC. I’ve got a friend looking at it for feedback. I hope she likes it.

Final vision for the ETL504?

Found an interesting article today that flies in the face of some of the other works I have read. I have to say it made a lot of sense and it made me think a little more deeply. Mardis (2011) argues that we need to stop discussing as much collaboration and regarding it as the only way we can make a difference within school. She states that when preparing new teacher librarians collaboration is talked about and regarded as a very important skill, however when these new recruits get into school the reality is very different. The job is often to put into place the planning of others and time constraints mean that joint planning never really takes place, a frustration to those new TLs. (and more experienced ones I’m sure)
She sees the collection as a vital to make change happen and a tool capable of having great impact. She sees future school librarians using the collection’s diverse resources in order to help teachers differentiate instruction. The widening the collection’s spectrum to include multimedia and the learners needs will also acknowledge and account for differing learning modalities.

Hmmmm… so how does this all fit with vision? Well after a lot of thinking and with time ticking away too quickly I began to think that learning is supposed to be our bread and butter. (didn’t Ross Todd or James Herring say that somewhere?) Surely then the learner is the most important person. Therefore, in order to have a visionary library that deals with the learners needs and preferences we must place the learner at the heart of everything we do. So there it is, Quarry Bay School library, putting the learner at the heart of everything we do. Now I’m not sure if that is what they are looking for or whether it is visionary enough but I think if we did this, not just in the LC but also in every class and every school we would make that difference we are all looking to do.
Wordle: library vision

Utilising the principles of quality management.

It was great today in the ELT, no really. My reading from yesterday fitted in perfectly and I was able to see how the readings on management and leadership gelled with the real world.
I’ve never really been a fan of readings about educational leadership, I was always more of a curriculum girl myself. Yes I see myself as a leader but in a limited sort of way and don’t always feel confident in my own abilities. I’d never dream of stepping up to a VP or a Principal level, I couldn’t do it. I’m better at leading from within, from talking to colleagues and hopefully encouraging, listening, hearing and empowering.
Now these readings, although not the most riveting of reads, are making sense of leadership and makes me want to learn more. I’d like our school to be a happy place where everyone works together to improve the children’s learning. Everyone means me, so what am I going to do over the next few weeks to make a difference, to make the school a happier and more trustworthy place? How am I going to step up?

1. Could I work on what our mission statement looks like with the children and the teachers that work with me in the LC? Would this help qualify things for me, the teachers and the children? Well it would but it is something that needs to be tackled by the whole school, so maybe not the one for me.

2. I could share the research cycle I have been using and see if anyone is willing to trial it with their class and give me feedback so that we can move to a more cohesive approach next year. This would help develop a team approach and a shared view.

3. I should talk to the children about what is good about the LC and what they need from the LC. What works? What do they enjoy? Which lessons have been most successful? How can we improve their learning further? This then needs to be shared with their teachers. This determines that the children and their learning at at the heart of the program ensuring a more learner centred experience for the child.

4. Find out why some systems are not working, for instance the English records. Why are they often not filled in? If I find this out then perhaps it can be made more meaningful for all involved. Why do some people see them as irrelevant? Is it because the assessments are not done or is it because they see no value in writing it down? What about collecting time-tabling comments for next year in order to improve the LC time-tabling. This might give me a way to move to the more flexible approach as seen on Friday.

5, Positives should be celebrated. A celebration board in the LC or just outside? It wouldn’t be difficult and the children and staff could be encouraged to add to the board. Anyone who helps our learning community could have their face added and a little note could be written. ie; The student council for putting in loads of hard work this term, the football team for training so hard. Mrs. A. for being so imaginative and trying something new. Mrs. G. for offering to take me to X to source materials for my book week costume. It is endless.

So that’s only the first 5 principles and already I have a wealth of things I could try to do to make our school a better, happier more trust worthy environment. Most importantly whatever I do I need to be enthusiastic, motivated and demonstrate that I care for our school and the community. I need to STEP UP because unless I do then there will never be a whole school approach as someone will always be missing.

Quality management… the principles.

Streeton Primary School (2000. The 12 quality principles. In Q is for quality: continuous improvement in schools through quality management and quality learning ( pp12-24). Yallambie, Vic.: Streeton Primary School.

An interesting an easy read this one. I like the way it lays out very clearly what is necessary for a school, or any organisation for that matter, to be one of quality.

Yet again, principle 1, VISION and a clear shared objective lays at its heart. ( Clear direction allows organisational alignment and a focus on the achievement of goals) Over and over this comes through the reading. My school has a vision which I think is very clear, powerful, concise and memorable however I’m not sure that we can all explain the meaning behind the statements. What does ‘Empowering learners to make a difference’ really look like? What is a difference? Is it a difference to their own learning by becoming independent? Is it making a difference to their community, both local and global? Is it all of these? How will we know we have achieved this? What do we have to do to empower ourselves as a learner or the children as learners? How do we measure it? I like the fact that all members of our community were invited to contribute to the vision and that we as a community have a sense of ownership over it, we just need to be a bit clearer.

This leads into principle 2 ( Mutually agreed plans translate organisational direction into actions) as we need a team approach, a team approach with a planned approach. Everyone has a vision and a plan including the students. I like this idea as without this planned approach how do we ensure sustainable improvements. The plans need to be shared. If they are not shared and owned by one person, be it the class teacher or the principal, these can quickly fall apart or become lost in amongst the other plans.

Principle 3 ensures that children and their learning are put at the heart of any school as it is the client. (Quality and value are defined by the client) If their needs are identified then they are easier to meet. Talking, having open communication, listening and collaboration ensures that teachers, parents and students have more learning oriented experiences or programs.

Principle 4 (To improve the outcome, improve the system and its associated processes) Schools have many systems however they are not always effective. In order to make them more effective the whole system needs to be analysed first before changes are made. Children within class need to be given the opportunity to improve systems. If systems have good processes with clear steps this strengths relationships between people.

Principle 5 speaks for itself…. the potential of an organisation is realised through it’s people’s enthusiasm, resourcefulness and participation. STEP UP! People should be employed based on attitude. Those who have little enthusiasm or motivation to keep improving should not be employed as they threaten staff morale. Schools, or any organisation need positive enthusiastic people who want to learn and to move the organisation forward. Positives are celebrated, be it small steps in learning or staff acknowledging the help of others.

Principle 6 ( Continual improvement and innovation depend on continual learning) Everyone is a learner and learning never stops. Schools should provide quality PD, staff should be encouraged to participate in conferences, take on further study and sharing of learning with others. Students should learn form each other too through class meeting/ circle time, the identification of experts within the class and talking partners or buddies.

Principle 7 ( All people work in a system, outcomes are improved when people work on the system) This all depends on the enthusiasm of the most valuable asset, the people within the organisation. If the relationships between people are positive the systems are more likely to succeed. Team work is the preferred way of working using the shared vision and values.

Principle 8 is all about using facts and data to move things forward. If we have data and facts then this knowledge can be used to help make improved decisions. Surveys, questionnaires, registers,observations all give us data that we can use to help make decisions.

Principle 9 acknowledges that systems vary. this needs to be monitored over time to ensure that systems do not degenerate but are either maintained or improved.

Principle 10 acknowledges the value that the organisation adds to the community and the impact it has upon it. The school/organisation is not working in isolation but is part of the community. The actions of the school/organisation has an impact on the environment and the people within it.

Principle 11 identifies that only if we are able to meet the needs of all our children and stake-holders we become sustainable. Our sustainability is determined by this ability.

And finally…. principle 12, that leaders need to be a constant role model for these principles. They need to create a supportive environment where these principles are held in high regard and members of the organisation are encouraged to reach their potential.

So just 12 principles…. how easy could it be?