As school psychologists, our job is never the same. One minute, you’re monotonously report writing, the next minute, you’re trying to explain to a student that throwing chairs at the wall is not really the best calming-down technique. Good news is, we’re right there with you. School psychologists are having conversations on a global scale through various social media outlets, and one of the best ways to talk about our practice is through blogging.
There are many benefits of blogging- it incites meaningful discussions, raises interesting questions, provides amusing anecdotes, and helps us to learn about new things. Speaking of learning new things, this post is dedicated to encouraging school psychologists to start blogging or enhance their current blog. If you’re unaware of how to set up a blog, you can check out video tutorials from WordPress, Blogger, Edublog.
For those of you who already have blogs, here are 5 tips to enhance your blog (we’ll see if I can practice what I preach in my upcoming blogs)
1. Find Your Voice
It’s important that your blog stays consistent with your personality and part of this is choosing the right topics that bring out your personality. For example, you may be the type of school psychologist that wants to bring about activism and positive change through your blogs. If this is the case, take a firm stance on a position. DO NOT make half-hearted statements. DO NOT come across as matter-of-fact. If a topic really matters to you, SHOW IT. Stir up emotion. Give statistics. Cite research. Whatever your personality is, make sure to reflect it through the voice of your blog and stay consistent.
2. Always Give Examples
Having read a lot of school psychology blogs, the one’s I remember the most are the one’s that give meaningful/entertaining/interesting examples to support their viewpoint. Here’s an example of a blogger effectively using an example
“Perspectives are the points of view that establish exactly what is truly important to you. This process is different for everyone. I have what I refer to as “hard earned blessings.” For example, before entering academia I was a school psychologist for 16 years in schools, hospitals, and private practice. During this time I was cut by a teenager with a knife, bitten by a six-year-old (and still have a small scar), many of my patients in pediatric oncology succumbed to their illnesses (exactly 33), performed CPR twice (both with unsuccessful outcomes), came home with vomit or blood on my clothes several times, and was the first person to tell many parents that their child has intellectual disabilities or autism. Putting things into perspective, a rejected manuscript is just not that big of a deal.” – Research to Practice by Stephen R. Shaw. Source: https://researchtopracticeconnections.wordpress.com/
3. Entertain Your Reader
There are so many different ways of making your posts more exciting- a strong hook, an amusing example, using jokes, making lists, closing with several thought-provoking questions, and using entertaining pictures- You can freely use any photos labeled public domain.
The list of ways to entertain your reader is endless, but I think a strong hook is one of the most important ways to keep your audience reading. Here’s an example of a strong hook from Dr. Branstetter’s latest blog post from Notes from the School Psychologist:
“I think of my life in two phases: now and B.C. (before children). Before having my own children, I rolled my eyes at the so-called “Helicopter parents” who rescued their children from disappointments and frustration. Or, if we are keeping up with the latest judgmental term for moms, I would have rolled my eyes at the “Snowplow” moms who move all obstacles out of the way of their precious unique snowflakes.” Source: https://studentsgrow.blogspot.com
Both witty and entertaining. Only problem is I probably just lost half of my audience to viewers switching over to read her post. Well, at least I proved my point.
4. Get Your Message Out There
As school psychologists, we write all the time. It’s easy to assume that for most school psychologists, the hard part won’t be writing blogs, but building an audience. Building your audience can be done through many ways- promoting your blog on other social media sites (i.e. Twitter, Facebook), encourage your audience to sign up for updates by giving their email, blog about topics that are requested by your audience, get to know your existing readers better, and publish new posts regularly.
5. Disseminate Your Knowledge
As school psychologists, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. Don’t assume every school psychologist already knows everything you know about RTI, PBIS, etc. We all have something to contribute and since we have first hand experience with a particular topic (i.e. anti-bullying), your point of view is extremely meaningful. It could even be more helpful in some ways that popular anti-bullying resources such as Olweus because your audience can ask you questions for example about how you implemented an anti-bullying program from the ground up. We all have something to contribute so get out there and blog!
What questions do you have for me about blogging? Is there anything that is holding you back from blogging? What areas of technology would you like me to blog about next?