The four Domains in the title refer to the National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries (NSLS) and should be familiar. As the Standards state, it’s the steps you use “to empower learners to master competencies ….” (p.15). It’s a continuum we have followed since the AASL Standards for the 21st– Century Learner (2009). While AASL has updated those standards, the continuum is still incorporated into our teaching. Is it incorporated into your professional life? When you focus on these Domains, you have a path to follow that can reduce stress or help move you and your program to a new level.
It starts with Think, the cognitive domain which deals with inquiry and critical thinking. Create is psychomotor and requires drawing conclusions, applying knowledge to new situations, and creating new knowledge. Share is the affective domain and involves sharing that new knowledge and participating ethically and productively in our democratic society. Grow moves into a developmental stage involving personal and aesthetic growth.
Consider how one Domain flows into the next. Although all are needed, you probably can identify more strongly with one of them. It’s always good to know where your strengths are and where you need to gain more proficiency. Now to apply them – in the library and in our lives.
Think – Take time to pause and look at the big picture, your Mission, your Vision. We don’t do that enough. What is working? What isn’t? What is and what isn’t in your control? What is in your control that you would like to change?
It doesn’t have to be about the library. It can be in your personal life as well. We have a tendency to compartmentalize our work and private life, but one impacts the other. You might be concerned about not spending enough time with your family or be stressed by non-library duties. Select the one that is most important to you or the one over which you have the most control.
Create -What is your best method for representing a complex problem? Many people like mind mapping. You could use a Google doc or a simple blank sheet of paper. Maybe dictating your thoughts into a document helps you. The purpose is to look at all the things buzzing in your ear and give yourself the ability to sort them out.
Color code, boldface, or do whatever works for you to highlight the best ideas you have. Move them around into an order that makes sense. If it’s something at home, can you make a schedule that helps you see where you can spend more time being with family rather than giving them the leftover minutes from your household tasks? For a library issue, consider how to introduce “library” into those duties or offer a better proposition to the administration.
Share – Who needs to hear this? Who can help? If you don’t ask, people will rarely notice you have a problem. We are often so busy, we don’t take time to reach out, feeling that it will take too long, and either we might as well handle it ourselves or we don’t want to bother others.
For the personal issues, you may discover that others are feeling the same way. When you work together, it might solve the problem or at least reduce it. In the library, finding a good time to talk to the principal, keeping it brief and leading with solution can get you what you want. Particularly in this climate, your administrators are at least as stressed as you are. If you can help them, they are more likely than ever to go with your approach. It’s one more thing off their list.
If your plans work out, share them with other librarians and your friends. They may need the ideas and encouragement. We can all use help.
Grow – This is about you as a person and as a librarian. It might be self-care but also think of new avenues you wish to explore and give yourself a space for them. Whether it’s cooking or learning or getting back to playing an instrument, don’t dismiss the thought. To grow, we need to break open shell that encases us. What ideas excite and inspire you?
As a librarian, look how far have you stretched your leadership muscles. Just like starting an exercise plan, you don’t need to put in extensive new time. Consider doing a blog post for Knowledge Quest and share it (!) with your administrator when it is published. That one thing will raise awareness of what you contribute. And then you can get back to the ideas you came up with as part of Think.
Take time out to Think, Create, Share, and Grow. Notice ways these Domains can support you in and out of the library as well as those you serve. Look for ways to gain experience in the competencies that will improve your life, your leadership, and your librarianship. Let your imagination run wild and your program – and life – will move to a new level.