What have I learned?

Reflecting on Learning Journey

Applied Practice in Context – Week 32

Had I sat down to design my perfect course of study, I doubt I could have created one that fits my needs better.  I have blogged since 2011 and this has taken on refreshed importance during Mindlab. I have revisited previous thinking and confirmed the existence of a collaborative mindset.

Senga's Space
Life in the information world


Obvious and amazing
White, S. (2011, November 11.) What’s obvious to you is amazing to me.

As I reflect on the goals set in July 2018, I can see progress with all of them, but most particularly with #1 and #3. Momentum continues to build and won’t cease at the end of this course, as I embark on my NZEI scholarship, investigating collaborative practice in the UK.

Personal Learning Outcomes

My practice hasn’t altered dramatically through this journey, but there has been noticeable development in my leadership; with a renewed conviction to seek a wider audience with the power to instigate systemic change; and a need to convince political leaders and educational changemakers of the place librarians can inhabit in learning outcomes for students in all New Zealand schools. It has also encouraged me to persevere in my approach to advocating for those changes, not only within my sphere of influence but those yet within my reach.

Experiential learning cycle

Stage 1: Problem identification

Siloed libraries, ineffectively managed and with no collaborative opportunities, will only ever, at best, be on the fringes of student learning.  Comprehensive research underscores that every student in every school deserves equitable access to the unique insight, experience, and knowledge that a professional librarian offers if they’re included in curriculum and lesson planning and implementation.

I have begun to see even more possibilities for collaborative practice when an experienced librarian, working with a new teacher, could take the lead in the partnership, regardless of which profession they belong to.


I am repeatedly climbing the ladder of influence, steadily reaching the middle and top rungs.  Mindlab has contributed to me now frequently reaching the top rungs, understanding WHY I’m there and WHERE to find the NEXT ladder.


Stage 2: Observation and analysis

Ministry of Education (2017). Our code, our standards.

It’s about relationships, conversations, a “servant” attitude, and collaborations of all sizes.

Partnering with my teaching colleague Jacque last year has crystalised the true benefit of collaboration – bringing together two sets of professional expertise within an environment of mutual respect, which transports the learning from merely transactional to something contextual and transformational. This has become even more obvious as Jacque moved schools this year, and I can see the gap emerge with her leaving.

In analysing the qualitative data collected, this perspective is validated.  However, I also acknowledge there’s a vast number of teachers who haven’t participated.  Is that because they don’t value the library, haven’t worked with a librarian, don’t see the need to work with one or are ambivalent to even considering it.  How can I affect change in those schools?

Stage 3: Abstract reconceptualization

Becoming more familiar with the teaching profession code of practice offers new ways of considering how to frame these relationships with a strong teacher focus.

Ministry of Education (2017). Our code, our standards.

Being able to mesh my librarian perspective with that of teachers allows for deeper and more satisfying connections to their knowledge, and participation in professional conversations.  The teaching code of practice provides numerous switches and buttons to activate the light!

Ministry of Education (2017). Our code, our standards.

Stage 4: Active experimentation

Acting on these new ideas will not be easy. I am still in the space between reconceptualisation and active experimentation. However, an opportunity may be on the horizon with numerous education reviews currently underway, a first-term government and continuing international research, I will find the right intersections in my professional roads.

Reflect forward and back




Ministry of Education (2017). Our code, our standards. Retrieved from https://educationcouncil.org.nz/content/our-code-our-standards

Osterman, K. F., & Kottkamp, R. B. (2015). Reflective practice for educators: professional development to improve student learning. Retrieved from https://app.themindlab.com/media/77396/view

Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (2006). Knowledge building: Theory, pedagogy, and
technology. In K. Sawyer (Ed.), Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences (pp. 97-118). New York: Cambridge University Press.  Retrieved from http://ikit.org/fulltext/2006_KBTheory.pdf

White, S. (2011, November 11.) What’s obvious to you is amazing to me. Senga’s Space. [web log post.] Retrieved from https://sengawhite.nz/2011/11/29/whats-obvious-to-you-is-amazing-to-me/


Evaluating the impact

Potential Impact

Applied Practice in Context – Week 31

This inquiry is based on my passion project, part of the wider research I’m currently undertaking in an effort to quantify and highlight the place of professional school librarians in teaching and learning. I want to add to the growing evidence that school librarians have a meaningful and unique role in educating our next generation, so that it is better understood, valued, and considered by education leaders and policy-makers.

What is the Impact:

My inquiry alone won’t bring about the change I strive to affect, however, in tandem with other studies and surveys, it adds to the growing narrative addressing the necessary steps towards achieving equitable outcomes for both student learning and librarian employment conditions.

Emerson, Kilpin, White et
Emerson, L., Kilpin, K., White, S., Greenhow, A., Macaskill, A., Feekery, A… O’Connor, R. (2018). Under-recognised, underused, and undervalued: School libraries and librarians in New Zealand secondary school curriculum planning and delivery.  Curriculum Matters 14, 48-68. https://doi.org/10.18296/cm.0029

As Stoll & Temperley (2015) discuss, this spiral model of inquiry supports system-wide culture change and is “driving a process of professional learning, action learning, and evaluation.” I acknowledge that my aims and objectives may be lofty and my efforts will not facilitate a quick fix approach, but it is allowing for wider networking, which could promote discussion beyond the library profession alone.

Three of the eight key learnings from Stoll & Temperley’s paper link to my own inquiry:

1. Scanning can be powerful and is challenging (#2 – p. 12)

Scanning proved to be the most enlightening phase for me, particularly when employing the synthesis matrix approach to compare and contrast the new research I discovered. However, on reflection, I may have been guilty of scanning to confirm what I already knew or suspected.  This made the context more powerful but may have skewed my thinking about what I was reading.

Let them know

So What:

2. Networking enhances the process (#6 – p. 18)

I am an active collaborator. As part of a team of cross-sector New Zealand researchers investigating information literacy skills, we are also measuring the effectiveness of collaborative practice between teachers and librarians.  I will travel to the UK in April, courtesy of a 2019 NZEI Scholarship, to continue investigating successful models of collaborative practice.

Juggling three sizeable projects simultaneously has had advantages, but the level of cross-over between them has at times contributed to a certain level of vagueness and obscurity in my thinking.

However, it is impossible to have a true inquiry mindset if you are in a bubble of one, so taking the message beyond your own situation is imperative for success, and mitigates the frustration levels that rise when you feel powerless on your own.

Librarians and floaties

Now What:

3. School context and stage of development affect involvement (#8 – p. 20)

In my own school situation, recent leadership changes and challenges coupled with the current mindset of teachers and leaders to investigate change will, in the short term at least, impede any personal progress with this research.

NLNZ Services Report
School libraries and school library services in New Zealand Aotearoa report-November 2018

On a national front:

  • We can’t expect to alter school perceptions individually regarding how librarians could be better employed in impacting the learning for all students. This would not be equitable for every student.
  • We can’t ignore the historical inequities regarding librarian pay and conditions

Current Equal Pay Amendment Bill – as it relates to the library profession

Earlier this month, LIANZA presented a submission to the Education and Workforce Select Committee, which I had been asked to contribute to, along with the SLANZA president, to ensure a balanced school library perspective.

From the SLANZA contribution to the Equal Pay Bill libraries submission – http://www.slanza.org.nz/news/school-librarians-and-pay-equity-update

My next steps will be:

  • analysis completion of the librarian and teacher surveys,
  • compare my results with those of the Information Literacy Spaces survey in 2017 and the National Library survey in 2018,
  • share relevant findings with the wider key audiences.

Libraries & groceries


Emerson, L., Kilpin, K., White, S., Greenhow, A., Macaskill, A., Feekery, A… O’Connor, R. (2018). Under-recognised, underused, and undervalued: School libraries and librarians in New Zealand secondary school curriculum planning and delivery.  Curriculum Matters 14, 48-68. https://doi.org/10.18296/cm.0029

Libraries Aotearoa. (2019, March 5). Submission on the Equal Pay Amendment Bill. [web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.librariesaotearoa.org.nz/korero-blog/submission-on-the-equal-pay-amendment-bill

School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa. (2019, March 14). School librarians and pay equity update. [web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.slanza.org.nz/news/school-librarians-and-pay-equity-update

Stoll, L., and Temperley, J. (2015). Narrowing the Gap with Spirals of Enquiry: Evaluation of Whole Education’s Pilot. Whole Education, UK. Retrieved from http://www.wholeeducation.org/download,634

Tuohy, M. (2019, January 30). Report: School libraries and school library services in New Zealand Aotearoa. National Library of New Zealand. [web log post]. Retrieved from https://natlib.govt.nz/blog/posts/report-school-libraries-and-school-library-services-in-new-zealand-aotearoa

Taking Action: Reflecting on the evidence

Reflecting on Evidence

Applied Practice in Context – Week 30

Collecting the Data:

I knew from the outset that my data collection plan was ambitious when I made the decision to survey both secondary librarians and teachers about librarian leadership focussed on digital literacy. Previous experience had led me to anticipate a reasonable response from librarians, however, the number of teacher responses surprised me at almost double that of the librarians.

Inquiry QuestionBabione (2014) states that the volume of information can “become overwhelming and threatens data overload, with too much information to organise and analyse.” This is proving to be the case, resulting in me choosing to focus on the librarian responses first. I’m confident that when I have time to compare both sets of survey data, it will provide deeper insights, particularly into each profession’s thoughts and attitudes towards librarian leadership.

In both surveys I chose a mixed methods approach:

  • quantitative data to establish a clear picture of respondents
  • qualitative data to determine the main issues and attitudes relating to librarian leadership.

I began framing the librarian survey questions during the learn phase of the spiral of inquiry and these were informed by relevant articles read during the focus phase, as I considered the current landscape and the gap in research.  Once I was satisfied with them, I used them as a base for the teacher survey questions.


Analysing the Data:

My research, coupled with my experience, led me to form hunches during the focus phase of the spiral of inquiry, but I need to be mindful while interpreting the data that I don’t contaminate the results with my own bias or subjectivity. (Babione, 2014)

I began by reading responses as they were submitted, and once the surveys closed, I printed out all responses to enable me to read through them in their entirety, which I did several times before beginning to analyse them.

Graphs from quantitative data allowed for quick comparisons.  Below are graphs of how librarians think their schools view librarians as leaders compared to how librarians view themselves as leaders, though it should be noted that sample sizes of 40 librarians and 79 teachers while unlikely to be considered significant, still gives valuable insights that represent general attitudes and beliefs.

1 = Not at all  –  4 = Considerably
1 = Not at all  –  4 = Considerably

I then began coding the qualitative responses to these questions, attempting to establish similarities and differences, and identify respondent perceptions to leadership. I used a subsequent layer of coding to identify the opportunities and barriers from the responses to leadership, some of which correlated to previous research. Calvert (2016) identified people and relationships as well as institutional structures among some of the enablers and barriers around librarian leadership in schools, while Clephane’s 2014 research also included attitudes and culture. All of these align with identified librarian perceptions in this survey.

Through this process, I came to realise not all the data I collected was worthy of analysis for the purposes of my research question (Babione, 2014). I will come back to those ones again at a later stage of the analysis.  I am also conscious of the need to revisit the responses I have already analysed, using other lenses to extract different insights from the data.


Reflecting on the Data:

The librarian survey results, to some extent, confirmed my hunches, but I have also realised that some questions were too ambiguous and open to alternative interpretation by respondents. However, it has clarified librarian views of the issues, which I can go on to compare to those of their teaching colleagues.

I have indeed been too ambitious within the timeframe of this research.  However, the rich data collected through both surveys will further inform my thinking and contribute to my 2019 NZEI support staff scholarship, investigating collaborative practice models between teachers and librarians in the UK. It potentially could be included in a submission to interested groups about the wisdom of investing sufficient resources into school libraries to support learning.


Babione, C. (2014). Analyzing, interpreting and managing inquiry study. Practitioner Teacher Inquiry and Research. USA: John Wiley & Sons. Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com

Calvert, P. (2016). School libraries in New Zealand as technology hubs: Enablers and barriers to school librarians becoming technology leaders. School Libraries Worldwide, 22(2), 51-62. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.14265.22.2.05

Clephane, S. (2014). New Zealand school librarians: Technology leaders? School Libraries Worldwide, 20(2), 14-27. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.14265.20.2.002

Survey Monkey. (n.d.) Sample size calculator. Retrieved from https://www.surveymonkey.com/mp/sample-size-calculator/

Taking Action: Considering my audience


Applied Practice in Context – Week 29

School librarians excel at understanding the opportunities and issues facing our profession as we advocate for superior library services in all New Zealand schools while recognising the difficulties and barriers facing us to make it a reality.

Indeed, the two subthemes from the future-oriented learning and teaching report, namely the role of current and emerging technologies and that of collaborative practices, could be classified as a “wicked problem”. One where “education for the 21st century needs to support learners (not to mention teachers, school leaders and families/communities) to actively develop the capabilities they need. This is not something that our current structures and systems were designed to achieve.” (Bolstad, Gilbert, McDowall, et.al., 2012).

One of the pivotal barriers to embedding librarians’ unique skill sets and experience into collaborative partnerships in our schools is our inability to deliver the message beyond the profession itself. Bolstad, Gilbert, McDowall, et.al. (2012) state collaborations beyond the school need to be encouraged but we are yet to exhaust the potential for collaborating within our existing school communities.

Inquiry QuestionAs I continue to reframe my thinking, based on my ongoing action research, I recognise the need for new approaches to initiate discussions not only within our schools but as importantly, the wider education sector.


My hunch is that librarians need to employ a more leadership-focussed approach towards having their place in education acknowledged and sanctioned. It is crucial to engage the attention of the following groups:

  • teaching colleagues
  • school leaders
  • principals
  • education policymakers
  • government ministers and officials
  • education unions
Elena Aguilar (2014)

We need to consider our spheres of influence and how to employ it to reach these groups. The diagram below from the supporting future-oriented learning and teaching — a New Zealand perspective report indicates a process we could use to engage with our target audiences.




Local and National Interfaces – Bolstad, Gilbert, McDowall, et.al. (2012)

One of Core Education’s 2019 Ten Trends outlines the benefits of increased opportunities to create connections both physically and in the online world, with an emphasis on schools working as clusters, which is also highlighted in the Tomorrow’s Schools Review recommendations. The wider education community needs to be advised that school librarians can already provide access to required expertise and resources, but currently, this is not routinely recognised beyond individual schools, and sometimes not even there.

National Library, SLANZA, and LIANZA joined forces last year to survey all schools in New Zealand about the nature of school libraries and school library provision. Among the summary of findings are insights into the gaps and potential for improvement in library services.  We need a national conversation to take place with all stakeholders about the place of professional librarians in our education system.

As Emerson, Kilpin, White, et.al. (2018) asserts, “for beliefs to change, for librarians to be respected as professional contributors to the school’s curricular responsibilities and aspirations, we need to address change, not at the individual (librarian/teacher/principal) or even school level; more radical, systemic change is required.”

Engaging in national conversations can begin by taking every opportunity presented, as I did just last week when National education spokesperson Nikki Kaye visited my city to discuss the current education review.  I introduced myself and spoke with her about the current state of school libraries. And I will continue to take every opportunity to widen this conversation, as I travel to the UK next month to present at an international conference on collaborative practice between teachers and librarians.


Bolstad, R., Gilbert, J., McDowall, S., Bull, A., Boyd, S., & Hipkins, R. (2012). Supporting future-oriented learning and teaching — a New Zealand perspective. Report prepared for the Ministry of Education. Retrieved from https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/schooling/109306

Core Education. (2019). Ten Trends 2019. Retrieved from http://www.core-ed.org/research-and-innovation/ten-trends/2019/

Drake, W. (2018). Repurposing school library positions | Take the lead. Retrieved from https://www.slj.com/?detailStory=repurposing-school-library-positions-take-lead

Emerson, L., Kilpin, K., White, S., Greenhow, A., Macaskill, A., Feekery, A… O’Connor, R. (2018). Under-recognised, underused, and undervalued: School libraries and librarians in New Zealand secondary school curriculum planning and delivery.  Curriculum Matters 14, 48-68. https://doi.org/10.18296/cm.0029

National Library of New Zealand, School Library Association of New Zealand & Library and Information Association of New Zealand. (2018). School libraries and school library services in New Zealand Aotearoa. Wellington, New Zealand: Author. Retrieved from https://natlib.govt.nz/schools/school-libraries/understanding-school-libraries/importance-of-the-school-library-in-learning-the-research

Taking Action: My professional environment

Quotes for Learning in Progress

Practice in Context – Week 28

In the library and information profession, practice is guided by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) code of ethics. These global guidelines are designed to encourage reflection on principles when forming policies, improving professional awareness and providing transparency for users of information, and society in general. (IFLA, 2016).

Professional_domainsAs a member of the professional registration scheme, administered by the Library and Information Association New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA), I am assessed every three years against six Body of Knowledge (BOK) clusters, where I am required to reflect on a range of activities within one of four domains: practice, knowledge, communication or leadership.

BOK 1, The Information Environment, Information Policy & Ethics, include the changing nature of the information sector, relevant ethical issues, the purpose of professional codes of practice and the significance of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. (LIANZA)

At the beginning of this school year, 60 new laptops were added to the library resources.  This has delayed the digital literacy aspect of my action plan but highlighted the librarian leadership part of my inquiry. New policies and procedures are required for teachers booking and using the new devices.  To track usage and mitigate damage, I recommended to the Associate Rector that devices be managed through Accessit, our library management system (LMS) as it allows for them to be issued to individual students and statistical usage data to be reported on.

While trialing this new system with a small Year 13 class this week, I encountered an unexpected ethical issue.  Part of the new process allows teachers to issue devices to their classes. However, I hadn’t fully considered how this system would now allow teachers access to confidential student information related to their borrowing history. This became uncomfortably clear when the teacher publicly commented to a student about a lost book on his record.


New Zealand Teachers Council Code of Ethics

My actions in response to this incident can also be linked with the registered teachers’ code of ethics.

  • protect the confidentiality of information about learners

  • respect privacy

  • respect confidential information

  • treat colleagues and associates with respect

Ethical decision
When considering options in response to this situation, I used Erlich’s framework

Herd, in his 2008 article, Is there a place for ethics in the library?, discusses moral and ethical dimensions of leadership in a school library, where some ethical dilemmas aren’t solely a choice between right and wrong, but between two rights, and where professional judgment and a sense of teamwork is preferred to hard and fast rules. McCrimmon (2007), as cited in Herd, suggests effective leaders employ ethical thinking, working within laws and policies while developing a trusting working relationship with the whole school community.  In this instance, I need to adhere to ethical rules, while considering how to implement them so as not to damage any teacher librarian relationships.

I am confident I will reach an ethical compromise that allows the necessary flexibility for teaching staff while preserving student confidentiality.

This reflection does not directly illustrate my inquiry into digital literacy, but it does highlight the need for librarian leadership to be very clear about moral imperatives when making decisions about access to information in digital media and will inform my thinking in the future about leading in this area.

National Library Services to Schools Capability Building Projects

Interesting to note, National Library, Services to Schools use the spiral of inquiry model in their capability-building projects. One of the project options is digital literacy and includes improper use of social media within the context of school and cyberbullying as well as plagiarism and intellectual-property violation.  This sits within the scope of my current inquiry and is something I will continue to investigate, even as this assignment concludes.



Ehrich, L. C., Kimber M., Millwater, J. & Cranston, N. (2011). Ethical dilemmas: a model to understand teacher practice, Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, 17:2, 173-185, DOI: 10.1080/13540602.2011.539794

Herd, J. (2008). Is there a place for ethics in the library? ACCESS, 22(4). p5-8Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/publications/access/access-commentaries/ethics.aspx

Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa. (n.d.) BOK cluster 1: Understanding the information environment. Retrieved from https://lianza.org.nz/bok-1-information-environment-information-policy-ethics

Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand. (n.d.) Code of ethics for registered teachers. Retrieved from https://www.educationcouncil.org.nz/required/ethics/coe-poster-english.pdf

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. (2016). IFLA code of ethics for librarians and other information workers. Retrieved from https://www.ifla.org/publications/ifla-code-of-ethics-for-librarians-and-other-information-workers–short-version-?og=30

The National Library Services to Schools. (n.d.) Capability building projects to improve student learning. Retrieved from https://natlib.govt.nz/schools/professional-learning/capability-building-projects-to-improve-student-learning

Taking Action: Examining cultural context

I am a library
Education matters to me: Key insights A starting point for the Statement of National Education and Learning Priorities

Applied Practice in Context – Week 27

This quote from the front cover of Education Matters really resonates with me, beyond the obvious link to libraries, into the realm of knowledge, and the message that young people don’t feel valued for what they know.

My school has been involved with several educational initiatives including He Kakano, Kia Eke Panuku, and Potama Pounamu. However, until recently, as a non-teaching staff member, I have had no direct involvement in them. The result is that I haven’t understood how to incorporate a cultural framework into my professional context.  However, recent readings and engagement are developing my understanding of culturally responsive pedagogy so my next step will be to inquire of the new Associate Rector how I can be involved in the current Potama Pounamu work within my school.

As Berryman, Lawrence & Lamont (2018) states, responsive pedagogy begins with listening and being actively engaged in seeking to make sense of what we hear. Everyone has a story and showing genuine interest is crucial to building mutually beneficial relationships.  As educators, we indeed need to embrace Bishop’s (2011) assertion to be learners among learners and share the journey.

Bishop also outlines the destructiveness of deficit theorizing, which I am now considering anew at the beginning of this fresh school year.  I need to create a learning environment where I discover and acknowledge the student’s own understanding of their learning.

Knowledge Basket

As an immigrant of Scottish descent, I find it reassuring that Bishop and Berryman (cited in Berryman et. al., 2018) identified in their Te Kotahitanga research that engaging students in their learning “is not dependent on the ethnicity of the teacher, but upon how teachers related to them and what teachers did.” 

For the past two years, I have worked with our Māori teachers to support Year 10 student research in a Te Ao Māori context.  Together we guide the students towards choosing a topic to research which has significance for them, and which builds on their own prior knowledge and experience.

Doing this as a student-librarian-teacher team follows a kaupapa approach and builds on Bishop’s (2011) concept of “learners among learners”, where we are able to provide contextual, personal and shared feedback and feedforward, and where we can equally demonstrate to the students that we are learning from them.

It also incorporates ata, as we model growing respectful relationships – between teacher and student, librarian and student, and also teacher and librarian.


Berryman, et.al., (2018) define pedagogical contexts for learning as something in which:

  • culture counts,
  • learning is interactive and dialogic, and
  • where there is a fundamental connectedness.

When these traits are evident, it cements the learning happening for everyone and makes it transparent and obvious through this process.

I am now able to identify that my role goes beyond merely supporting their journey of research. It also needs to help them realise there’s no shame in being a “not knower”. (Berryman, et. al., 2018)

This week, we’ve been discussing changes and additions to this assignment, to better support the outcomes for this year’s cohort. We will continue to include our students whānau by not only inviting them to attend their son’s research presentation but this year the venue will be our local marae, where the boys will also lay a hangi for shared kai.

The growing relationship with these students will add to my deepening understanding of culturally responsive pedagogy in an authentic context and presents me with opportunities to continue the dialogue with them beyond this assignment and this classroom.



Berryman, M; Lawrence, D & Lamont, R. (2018). Cultural relationships for responsive pedagogy: A bicultural mana ōrite perspective. Set: 1. Retrieved from https://www.nzcer.org.nz/nzcerpress/set/articles/cultural-relationships-responsive-pedagogy-bicultural-mana-rite-perspective

Edtalks.(2012, September 23). A culturally responsive pedagogy of relations. .Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/49992994

Kaupapa Māori Research. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.katoa.net.nz/kaupapa-maori

New Zealand School Trustees Association, & The Office of the Children’s Commissioner (2018). Education matters to me: Key insights. Wellington, New Zealand: Author. Retrieved from http://www.occ.org.nz/assets/Uploads/OCC-STA-Education-Matters-to-Me-Key-Insights-24Jan2018.pdf

Taking Action: Reflecting on inquiry

Thinking allowed

Applied Practice in Context – Week 26

I have been thinking, talking and writing about reflective practice for the better part of a decade.  I first publicly shared my thoughts about reflection on my professional blog, Senga’s Space in 2011, when I described how blogging was making me become more circumspect, reflective and analytical about my own thoughts and practices. I went on to say that “becoming reflective practitioners allows us to replicate the good results and minimise our frustrations when things don’t go quite the way we want them to. It’s not just what we read, it’s what we do with it that affects our day to day practice.”

I now find myself regularly returning to previous posts, partly to remind myself of where I was at that point in time in my professional journey, but also to re-engage with my thoughts about aspects of my practice. I shared my rationale about blogging in a post entitled, What’s obvious to you is amazing to me.

“Making the decision to share this publically with “the world” feels a little scary as you don’t know who might be reading it, whether others will agree with you, or indeed think you have anything valid to say at all!”


In his book, Building Influence for the School Librarian, Hartzell (1994) signals there’s a “difficulty for school librarians to plan the majority of their services and activities in advance, partly because the majority of our contributions are made in response to the expressed needs of others, which are often not articulated until the last minute.”

The What

Interestingly, some of my best opportunities come from casual, unplanned conversations where I share an idea or a resource with someone, and then invite them to respond, connect or participate. Case in point is just such a conversation this week around incorporating digital literacy and digital citizenship into the curriculum with a wellbeing lens.


This is not specifically included in my action plan, but it sits alongside the actions I do have planned involving the new Digi Skills 101 sessions for Year 7 & 8 classes.  It also responds to ideas which resonate with another staff member. This could provide a new pathway toward further progress.

The So What

What is exciting about this particular conversation, is that after sharing the resources discussed, with the intention of following up within a few days, this staff member approached me the next day very positively and suggested we continue the conversation.

This affirms my ongoing efforts to establish collaborative approaches. As another professional, non-teaching staff member, she holds a unique knowledge base within our community, which could lead to more widespread action beyond the one I have already planned.

The Now What

Should we reach the stage of actually using these resources to develop a trial for digital citizenship interventions, I would consider using the Gibbs Model to reflect on the work, as it lends itself to richer, deeper reflection, which is particularly important when it involves students.

Reflecting on leadership

Mindlab Food & Leadership

After completing the University of Kent’s leadership style quiz, I discovered my two top scores suggest I favour transformational and participative leadership styles equally.

When I consider my responses to identifying leadership potential in an interview by the Library & Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) Emerging Leaders Working Group, I now recognise that I identified traits of leadership solely as I understood it at that time. What is missing from my response is the recognition of why these traits are successful and linking them to leadership theory, something this Mindlab experience has given me a deeper knowledge of, as well as the confidence to use.



Finlay, L. (2009). Reflecting on reflective practice. Practice-based Professional Learning Centre, Open University. Retrieved from http://www.open.ac.uk/opencetl/sites/www.open.ac.uk.opencetl/files/files/ecms/web-content/Finlay-(2008)-Reflecting-on-reflective-practice-PBPL-paper-52.pdf

Hartzell, G. N. (1994). Building influence for the school librarian. Worthington, Ohio: Linworth Publishing Inc.

Ministry of Education. (2019). Student wellbeing spotlight. Retrieved from http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/Curriculum-resources/Spotlights/Student-wellbeing

Sheard, C. (2013). Identifying leadership potential. Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa. Retrieved from https://lianza.org.nz/identifying-leadership-potential

White, S. (2011, September 5). Taking to blogging like a duck to water. [web log post]. Retrieved from https://sengawhite.nz/2011/09/05/taking-to-blogging-like-duck-to-water/

White, S. (2011, November 29). What’s obvious to you is amazing to me? [web log post]. Retrieved from https://sengawhite.nz/2011/11/29/whats-obvious-to-you-is-amazing-to-me/