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Writing Advice for College Students
Author Bio: Dr. Christopher Jones is an Assistant Principal at Seekonk High School. He writes a blog called Dr. Jones’ Office and connects with others on twitter @SeekonkAP_Jones.
I have often been asked by friends and colleagues why I blog. My kneejerk single response is always “to communicate.” When reflecting on the multiple reasons why I blog however, it dawned on me that every reason came back to education. Not just education of the surrounding community (teachers, students, parents, et.), but more importantly myself. Soon to follow was the mental exercise of where communication with the community at large and education meet and how that is enhanced by blogging.
Benefits to You
I find that blogging in general allows me to expand the opportunities for all those involved to learn. For me, it serves as a mental sketchpad where I put down ideas, revisit them, and then put them out for other people to see. For colleagues, parents, and students it is an opportunity for a glimpse into the inner workings of a school and a portion of who I am as an educator.
One of the biggest problems for both parents and students is that they are outsiders when it comes to how things work within a school. As educators we preach about the positive impact for students when the parents and school partner to improve the educational experience, but how often do we reflect on this important issue from parents’ perspective? How do we in education expect parents to work as partners if they do not understand a few basic things such as the; best way to communicate, reasoning behind policies, current efforts being made around initiatives, or vision of the school?
For a few examples (taken from my earlier blogs), topics such as:
• important transition skills,
• parent teacher conference strategies,
• bullying issues,
• new initiatives, or
• the impact of electronics on students
Blogging about topics such as these can help parents and other community members understand something very important about the school in general; you are a credible institution/leader who wants to create relationships with the community through honest communication.
It is important for community members to know that both the administrators and teachers are up to date not only with the most current research, but also the mediums through which they learn best. Blogging helps parents get a glimpse into the thought processes, events in the classroom, and motivation behind instruction and decision making.
In essence, the community at large will find more credibility in a person or institution that practices complete transparency.
Benefits to The Community
Lately, there have been more articles appearing concerning the “branding” of schools. Blogging (along with Twitter) affords the opportunity to do just that. It gives me the chance to display what type of leader I am as well as what I believe the community needs to know about concerning the school. In short, it gives a picture or description of not only what kind of school the community currently has, but also what type we could possibly have by working together for the continual improvement of the educational system (high school experience in this case). After all, schools and the communities in which they reside both have the same vision; students becoming educated, productive citizens who make positive contributions to society.
Overall, blogging is about engaging the reader. As I have heard our Librarian/Media Specialist say over and over…”useful content is king.” Therefore, it is important to understand what may be important to your audience. A responsive blog that describes or explains any aspect of school life that the community is interested in will help build a relationship. Blogs basically invite the reader to come in and peruse the thoughts behind action. The possible clarity provided is priceless when it comes to building a trusting relationship that lasts.
Education is about relationships, engagement, credibility, community…and providing a clear, helpful voice through a blog is an easy way to make a positive impact in all these areas.
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