A review of the year

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

By Julia Howe

As we head towards the end of 2018 this seems a good moment to pause and reflect on why we decided to start a blog for our initial training course in educational psychology and what we have achieved so far. We had a number of reasons for why we wanted to start this blog:

  • We wanted to give our trainees and tutors a different, more informal way, to tell people about what they are doing compared.
  • We are a small profession and can sometimes feel “invisible”, a blog is a good way to reach people who may not have access to more formal academic papers.
  • Our trainees are publicly funded during their training and we need to find ways to share their work and research.

We published our first blog post about educational psychologists working with children with an acquired brain injury , at the beginning of May 2018. Seven months later this is our 13th post of the year. Our blogs have been viewed over 4,000 times, mainly by people in the UK but also in 73 other countries. We could not have achieved this without the support of colleagues on other social media platforms, such as Twitter, who have retweeted and shared our posts. Special thanks go to our colleagues who run the Educational Psychology Today Facebook page for allowing us to promote the blog there. With over 57,000 followers this Facebook page has by far the greatest reach in the world of educational psychology and is quite an achievement.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the media attention surrounding mental health, our most popular post of this year was written by James Birchwood on the role that educational psychologists can play in the promotion of mental health in schools. This is one of 3 posts this year on the topic of mental health, the others have been an account of one of our 3 cohort days on mental health and a reflection on a new research paper on mental health promotion, from colleagues at the University of Birmingham.

In October, Black History Month provided an opportunity to demonstrate how diversity can enrich both psychology and education, with two posts, one focusing on Black Psychology and the other on representation in the curriculum.

Moving forward we are keen to increase the number of blog posts written by our trainees. This year we have had posts from trainees on setting up a stress management groups for secondary school pupils, how to talk to and gain children’s view , a view on hot desking and most recently, some thoughts on social mobility and mentoring.

In the pipeline for 2019 we have posts planned on Growth Mindset and VERP. I have a possibly over ambitious plan to venture into the world of vlogging, not to replace our written blog, but to complement it. So watch this space and if you have any comments or suggestions about the blog, we are always interested to hear them.

Julia Howe is a tutor on the initial training course for educational psychologists at the University of Birmingham.

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