July 30, 2012

Helping children succeed: Presentation to Bathurst Child and Family Network

Today (30 July, 2012) Dr Sarah McDonagh and I were invited to present a 3 hour seminar to the Bathurst Child and Family Network titled "Helping Children Succeed Through Speech, Language, and Literacy". Over 50 early childhood education staff, speech pathologists, and community service staff traveled from Bathurst, Orange, Cowra, Mudgee, Forbes, Portland, and Lithgow for the seminar. Lavinia Gibbs began the day with a welcome to country that reminded us of the Wiradjuri nation who's land we were meeting on and the oral traditions of the nation. I followed by speaking about children's speech and language acquisition then Sarah talked about promoting reading from birth, through preschool and into the school years. The enthusiastic participants were keen to take away ideas to use when working with families and children within their communities. Thank you to Annette, Jenell and Karen for organising such a great day.  
Bathurst Child and Family Network seminar participants
(with Dr Sarah McDonagh on the right)

July 26, 2012

Professorial forum at CSU

Today (25 July, 2012) I participated in the Charles Sturt University Professorial Forum held in Bathurst. The professors within CSU meet three times a year to discuss issues relating to the university, community, and the world. During our meeting topics we discussed included teaching, research, professional practice, finance and resources, and copyright issues. The meeting was followed by dinner with the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor and members of the University Council.

July 19, 2012

The cultural and linguistic diversity of 3-year-old children with hearing loss

The following manuscript, written by Kate Crowe (my PhD student) recently was accepted for publication:

 Crowe, K., McLeod, S., & Ching, T. Y. C. (2012). The cultural and linguistic diversity of 3-year-old children with hearing loss. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 17(4) 421-438. doi: 10.1093/deafed/ens028

Understanding the cultural and linguistic diversity of young children with hearing loss informs the provision of assessment, habilitation, and education services to both children and their families. Data describing communication mode, oral language use, and demographic characteristics were collected for 406 children with hearing loss and their caregivers when children were 3-years-old. The data were from the Longitudinal Outcomes of Children with Hearing Impairment (LOCHI) study, a prospective, population-based study of children with hearing loss in Australia. The majority of the 406 children used spoken English at home; however, 28 other languages also were spoken. Compared to their caregivers, the children in this study used fewer spoken languages and had higher rates of oral monolingualism. Few children used a spoken language other than English in their early education environment. One quarter of the children used sign to communicate at home and/or in their early education environment. No associations between caregiver hearing status and children’s communication mode were identified. This exploratory investigation of the communication modes and languages used by young children with hearing loss and their caregivers provides an initial examination of the cultural and linguistic diversity and heritage language attrition of this population. The findings of this study have implications for the development of resources and the provision of early education services to the families of children with hearing loss, especially where the caregivers use a language that is not the lingua franca of their country of residence.

July 10, 2012

Learning from children and their teachers in Tonga

During the first week of July I took annual leave and traveled with my family to Tonga in the South Pacific. We went as a part of a delegation to bring laptops and a library of children's books to a small village school on Tongatapu (the main island). We had corresponded with the village for about 18 months, and this was our first visit. We were overwhelmed by the welcome from the children, teachers, parents and villagers. We were even on Tonga TV for four days in a row! On Sunday, after spending a few days in the school, we went to the village church service where the choirmaster had composed an anthem in our honour. The Prime Minister of Tonga, Nobel Tu'ivakano, also came to the service, and sat at the head table with us at the feast after the service. The speeches during the feast acknowledged the strength of our ongoing relationship and we look forward to returning in the future.
Playing snap with the boys (a new game for them)
Speeches at the primary school
My family after the Tongan feast
Tongan children's literature: "Pato Puku" by Meleane Faufe'ulungaki

July 4, 2012

International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association Executive Committee

I am very honoured to be the Vice President of the International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association. I am now half way through my second term of office, so have been in the role for 6 years. The most challenging role for the committee over the past 2 years was to work with academics from Christchurch, New Zealand, who were to host the 2012 ICPLA conference, decide that this was not possible due the earthquakes, then find an alternative venue. We were very thankful that Prof Fiona Gibbon and Dr Alice Lee from University College Cork agreed to host the conference at short notice. It was an extremely successful conference. The next conference, will be held in June 2014 in Stockholm, Sweden. We are hoping that Christchurch will be ready to host the 2016 conference.

ICPLA executive committee: Martin Ball, Sara Howard, Sharynne, Ben Rutter, Tom Powell

L-R: Alice Lee, Tom Powell, Martin Ball, Fiona Gibbon, David Crystal,
Sara Howard, Ben Rutter, Sharynne McLeod

July 3, 2012

David Crystal receives honours of ICPLA

In conversation with David Crystal (note the Waterford Crystal bowl)
During the International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association Conference, Professor David Crystal received the honours of the association. This was the first time ICPLA has bestowed an award to anyone, and David Crystal was a very worthy recipient. He was the founder of the field of clinical linguistics and phonetics, and has written many many books and articles on the topic. After being presented with an engraved Waterford Crystal bowl, the delegates of the ICPLA conference were treated to a Conversation with David Crystal. During the conversation, David outlined his long held belief that there should be a linguistics lab, much like a blood pathology lab, for speech-language pathologists to send language samples to. He also described the 3 things influencing the world's languages: the globalization of English, the digitization of language, and the extincion of languages. In addition, he said that he would not change his "bucket theory" regarding the influence of different components of language on one another.
Dr Karla Washington, Professor David Crystal, and Kate Crowe

Being in the same room as my distance collaborators

Most of the writing I do is with people who are in a different city or country to myself. Every so often I have the opportunity of being in the same room as them. While at the ICPLA conference in Cork, I was able to spend time with Bill Hardcastle and Sara Wood from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, to continue to work on our EPG book. I also had the opportunity to meet Elspeth McCartney from Strathclyde University in Glasgow. Elspeth, Jane McCormack and I recently wrote a book chapter for a book on the ICF-CY - and this was the first time we had met!
Elspeth McCartney and Sharynne

Sara Wood, Bill Hardcastle and Sharynne