Leading For Change: Four Principles of Openness

Watch the following short talk about leading change (then you will understand what I am responding to!)

Don Tapscott – Four Principles for the Open World

 

Don Tapscott’s 4 Principles for the Open World can be applied to school libraries and teacher librarians as follows:

1.  Collaboration:    ‘Embracing change… view talent differently’ (Tapscott, 2012)

– Acknowledging that our students can often be, at times, more skilled at using current technology than their teachers. Teachers need to be looking beyond their current skills. We need to be incorporating current and cutting edge technology and media into our teaching. Our students are a generation of digital learners and users and we need to be actively engaging them in their education through embedding rich learning experiences that step outside the boundaries of the classroom. What can our students be teaching us?

2. Transparency:     ‘be buff, have good values and integrity’ [you are on display] Tapscott (2012)

In my opinion, a fundamental approach to build respect and trust is through always being transparent. Teacher Librarians are constantly in the process of changing perceptions. Our image is persistently changing. In order to verify our worth and usefulness to our schools we need to be open and transparent about our role, the tasks we perform, the importance of our presence within the school, the importance of our school libraries as a resource for the school and greater community. This can be achieved by, making it known that you are always approachable and available for any queries or help that may be required by colleagues, students, or parents. Keeping a digital presence within the school community and greater community; keeping school internet/intranet current and easy to navigate, this can be achieved with easy-to-search OPAC information, class work/project information and anecdotes, access to fresh and relevant resources, recounting significant events, promotion of services that the Teacher Librarian and school library are providing. Transparency is ‘the communication of pertinent information to stakeholders’ (Tapscott, 2012).

3. Sharing:     ‘…create a rising tide that can lift all boats’ (Tapscott, 2012)

In a world that is becoming increasingly competitive, people are quick to hide their knowledge, to keep things close to their chests so as to not be ‘doing somebody’s work for them.’ The saying ‘no one should get a free ride’ comes to mind as it is one that I hear often. But when education is changing to push student against student, school against school, and teacher against teacher, would it not make more sense to share the load in ways that are mutually beneficial to all who are involved and then share in the result?

Tapscott stated ‘embrace the commons’ (2012) and I interpreted this to mean that in understanding the power of what we have in common, we can share our knowledge for the benefit of all. Within our school libraries this can successfully be achieved through collaborative teaching approaches, the sharing of resources, the sharing of effective lesson plans, the promotion of individual skills, the sharing of assessment strategies and results, student information and teaching styles that are effectual.

Embracing the common goals that we share and working together to achieve them.

4. Empowerment:     ‘moving forward… the open world is bringing empowerment and freedom’ (Tapscott 2012)

Tapscott stated that empowerment involves ‘the distribution of knowledge’ (2012). Teachers and Teacher Librarians can share their knowledge to empower the students and schools. We can engage in collaborative planning and teaching. Perhaps approach the Principle and advocate for some time for the Teachers and Teacher Librarian to share their knowledge and plan learning experiences. This can empower the staff as a whole which will then reflect onto the students. We can also empower our students and parents/wider community by giving them access to, and teaching them to use, an OPAC on the school website. Give them access to their records at home. Perhaps have an online request form that they can suggest items that they would like to see in our library.

 

Through my understanding of these 4 principles I feel supported in leading change as it reiterates to me the importance of openness. In my opinion they are intertwined in the sense that through collaboration, transparency, and sharing we can achieve empowerment. The collaborative approach to our teaching and planning places Teacher Librarians in a situation where they can be transparent and expose their values, work ethics and skills. This will then build respect and trust with teacher colleagues. Once this respect and trust has been gained, we are able to share our professional knowledge, experiences and resources, and empower one another, our students and our school.

 

Tapscott, Don. (2012). Don Tapscott: Four principles for the open world. TEDGlobal 2012. Retrieved 19March 2013 from http://on.ted.com/Tapscott

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