ellie <3 libraries

sooooo much!

TLA Conference – Wednesday, April 11th, 2007 April 17, 2007

Filed under: Conferences,TLA 2007 — ellie @ 3:03 am
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Welcome to my TLA 2007 Annual Conference experience – day 1. I believe Wednesday was technically a pre-conference day, but there were some conference events. It was also an adjustment day for me. I hadn’t made arrangements to meet up with any fellow librarians and I didn’t run into anyone I knew while I was there. So being the shy-in-new-situations person that I am, I ended up heading home after the sessions rather than have dinner (alone) while waiting to head off to the welcome party (alone). Lesson learned: If, like me, you’re one of those people who hates to venture out to new social situations alone – plan your down time ahead of time, especially for pre-conference.

Wednesday I went to a two part session:

1:00pm – 2:50pm
Invigorate Collaboration with Gary Hartzell, Part 1
Collect strategies for “closing the deal” with reluctant colleagues to develop successful partnerships and collaborative initiatives at your school. Attend Part 2 (follows immediately) to learn how to develop a plan for stronger working relationships.
by Gary Hartzell, professor emeritus, Department of Educational Administration, University of Nebraska at Omaha. Sponsored by the Conference Program Committee and Professional Rights, Responsibilities, and Recruitment Committee.

3:00 – 4:50 PM
Invigorate Collaboration with Gary Hartzell, Part 2
In a continuation of the “closing the deal” discussion from Part 1, learn how to develop a successful action plan for becoming an influential player at your school.
by Gary Hartzell, professor emeritus, Department of Educational Administration, University of Nebraska at Omaha. Sponsored by the Conference Program Committee and Professional Rights, Responsibilities, and Recruitment Committee.

Gary Hartzell was an engaging and entertaining speaker. Apologies if I cause any age offense, but he reminds me of my dad in that older businessman ease and affability. So I immediately liked him. The presentation was definitely geared to K-12 school librarians, but I tried to keep my mind open to ways to apply the information to a Community College setting. We were told that handouts will be available on the TLA site. I’ll try to remember to link to them when they become available.

My notes from the session:

Part 1:

  • Watch out for the vehicle eclipsing the goal. That is, keep in mind the goal of benefiting students rather than focusing on collaboration for collaboration’s sake.
  • Concentrate on quality collaborations. Don’t judge your results by quantifying the number of collaborations.
  • Schools are cellular. This structure affects the culture. Norms of isolation and autonomy. “I don’t want to share my kids.” “I decide what my kids are going to do.” Collaboration decreases autonomy and increases scrutiny. Teachers are not used to being watched by another adult. Sense of being judged. This violates isolation and privacy norms.
  • Librarians see library as academic center. Teachers see classroom as academic center.*
  • Teachers do not see librarians as teachers or colleagues. Teachers see librarians as support staff.
  • These threats can be reduced by showing the rewards. Publicize how collaborative projects have helped students.
  • Have concrete attainable goals and objectives. Start from the end – What will this look like when it’s done? How will we know it worked?
  • Ask for training on how to deal with other adults – communication and conflict resolution.
  • You cannot collaborate with everyone. Use volunteers only, avoid mandated collaboration. If you are approached, choose carefully – top people only. Why? Successful experience begets success. A recommendation from a non-respected teacher doesn’t help you. Other teachers will listen to a respected teacher. “Social proof” Your first line targets should be the best/most innovative/excited teacher on staff.
  • Adapt your teaching style to work with/accommodate the teacher. Flexibility is paramount.
  • When research is presented on teaching techniques, ask at what level it was done. Kids are different at different ages.
  • You must treat teachers with difference amount of experiences differently. (Someone fresh out of school vs. about to retire.) Consult the research on work/life cycles of education. Also be aware of sub-cultural considerations. Vocational vs. academic.
  • Think of all these parts as a kaleidoscope – that’s the flexibility you have to pursue. Many parts shifting into place, different in different circumstances, each beautiful.
  • Start small, remember you’re a threat, the whole experience is a threat. Small wins encourage people and open the door to other small wins. Based on the idea that your first task should be something they can easily accomplish and you work up from there.

10 minute break.

Part 2:

  • Strategies for action plans:
    • A high ability/high confidence teacher is more likely to trust a collaborator.
    • Make what you do obvious/visible.
    • Look up their association – see what the buzzwords are. You will be more respected.
  • Trust is a 3 legged stool: competence, integrity, commitment.
  • Competence buys personal indulgence. Visibly do your job well.
  • Tie what you do to what they do. Show how you can make them do their job better, that your success contributes to their success.
  • An implementation dip WILL happen. Change is hard. Performance will go down until the adjustment period is over.
  • Relationships are based on what others:
    • think we’re like
    • sense we can give
    • think we need from them
  • Attributes of successful collaborators:
    • likability
    • expertise
    • integrity
    • energy and focused effort
    • sensitivity to context
  • Stress shared concerns, talk about student needs.
  • Humans are vulnerable to flattery. Compliments say you are worthy. In our culture your job often defines you, so a compliment to doing your job well is big. Praise the teacher to the principal and cc the teacher. This increases your reputation with the principal (for being able to spot good work) and the teacher (for the praise).
  • Be aggressive in establishing ongoing relationships.
  • Technical expertise vs. systems expertise. We offer systems expertise. Learn enough technical to relate.
  • Don’t say “Call me if you need help.” That makes them admit failure. Instead say “I can help you with that. I have these things in the library. I can show you and talk about how we can use them.”
  • You won’t draw people in by positioning yourself as the expert.
  • Convince them that you know their work pressures. Context of their lives.
  • Get involved. Ask questions. Make and take the opportunities to observe people.

*Here he joking proposed an idyllic school with the library literally at the center and all the classrooms encircling it, but said, no, the library is always down at the end of the hall, sectioned away. That just made me remember that in my elementary school the library was at one end of the building, but with all of the 4th and 5th grade classrooms forming an outer circle around it.

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