October 28, 2016

Multilingual Repertoires and Multilingual Discourse Conference

This week Suzanne Hopf and I attended the Multilingual Repertoires and Multilingual Discourse Conference held at Western Sydney University in Parramatta.
We presented the following paper: Hopf, S. C., McLeod, S., & McDonagh, S. H. - Individual and societal linguistic multi-competence in Fiji.
It was interesting to hear presentations from some of Australia's prominent linguists including Diana Eades, Jeff Seigel, Felicity Meakins, Howard Nicholas, Patrick McConvell and Andres Ahlqvist. I enjoyed attending the following masterclasses:
  • Investigating multilingualism in school-aged children - Dr. Lucija Medojevic
  • Researching language contact in the field - Dr. Rikke Bundgaard-Nielsen and Dr. Brett Baker
  • The Story of Kriol in northern Australia - Dr. Felicity Meakins
Suzanne Hopf and Jeff Seigel

Suzanne and Lucija were the 2015 winners of the Australian Linguistics Association awards. Lucija won the Michael Clyne Prize and Suzanne won the Gerhardt Laves Prize.
Suzanne Hopf, Lucija Medojevic, and Sharynne McLeod

October 21, 2016

Endeavour Research Fellowship awarded to Sarah M

Congratulations to Sarah Masso who has been awarded an Endeavour Research Fellowship for 2017. The list of 2017 award winners is here.
Sarah will be going  to Memorial University of Newfoundland,  Canada to work with Associate Professor Yvan Rose and Dr Greg Hedlund and the team to help them build a user-friendly interface for Phon. Sarah met with Yvan and Greg in Canada a few months ago at the ICPLA conference (here).
Phon is an innovative and comprehensive open-source analysis software that has been developed for linguists and is free (Rose et al., 2006). Phon has received funding from a number of sources including R01 funding from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). Phon is currently used in phonetics and speech pathology research and has nine language dictionaries (Rose & Stoel-Gammon, 2015).
Sarah is the third of my students to be awarded an Endeavour Scholarship/Fellowship (see blog posts here). Suzanne Hopf is currently on an Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship in Fiji. Sarah Verdon was also awarded an Endeavour Research Fellowship after her PhD, but had to decline the offer. The opportunities provided by the Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships are outstanding, enabling international collaborations that can make a big difference to professional practice and children's lives.

The German Intelligibility in Context Scale (ICS-G): Reliability and validity evidence

Congratulations to Dr Sandra Neumann and colleagues in Germany who have just had the following article accepted for publication:
Neumann, S., Rietz, C. & Stenneken, P. (2016, in press). The German Intelligibility in Context Scale (ICS-G): Reliability and validity evidence. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders.
Here is the abstract:
Background: In 2012 the Intelligibility in Context Scale (ICS) was published as a parent-report screening assessment that considers parents’ perceptions of their children’s functional intelligibility with a range of communication partners that differ in levels of authority and familiarity in real life situations. To date, the ICS has been translated into 60 languages (including German).
Aims: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the psychometric properties of the German translation of the ICS, especially its reliability and validity, using four objective measures of speech sound disorder severity: (a), percentage of consonants correct (PCC), (b) percentage of initial consonants correct (PICC), (c) percentage of vowels correct (PVC) and (d) percentage of phonemes correct (PPC).
Methods & Procedures: Children who were typically developing (TD) and children with speech sound disorder (SSD) (N = 181; 90 males, 81 females; mean age 4.18 years, SD = 0.79 years, range 3;0–5;11 years) were recruited through 13 kindergartens and 15 speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in Germany. All children’s parents completed the ICS-G. To get insight into the severity of SSD, children’s speech skills were assessed with the PLAKSS-II (n = 30). For the analysis of test-retest reliability the ICS-G was re-administered with a sub-sample of parents (n = 36) after one week.
Outcomes & Results: The ICS-G had high internal consistency (α = .95, p < .001) and high test-retest-reliability (r = .998, p < .001). The ICS-G total scores and item scores for both samples showed significant correlations, indicating good construct validity. Analyses revealed low but significant correlations with external factors (e.g. age, social class). Criterion validity was established through significant correlations between the ICS-G and scores for PCC (r = .43), PICC (r = .43), PVC (r = .62) and PPC (r = .47). The discriminatory ability of the ICS-G was indicated by significantly higher mean scores for the TD group (M = 4.49, SD = 0.47) than the SSD group (M = 3.97, SD = 0.63).
Conclusions & Implications: The overall good psychometric properties of the ICS-G support its use by SLPs for clinical and research purposes with German-speaking children.

October 13, 2016

Welcome Nicole - my newest PhD student

Nicole Limbrick is my newest PhD student, who has just accepted a RIPPLE PhD scholarship. She will be co-supervised by Kate Crowe. Nicole commences her studies with many accolades already. Recently she was awarded best poster prize at the APAC Forum, an international conference on quality, innovation and leadership in health care with 1500 delegates in attendance. Her poster was selected from  270 posters across a number of categories.

Nicole undertook her honours degree at CSU, supervised by Jane McCormack and myself. Her honours research was published in the following article:
Limbrick, N., McCormack, J., & McLeod, S. (2013). Designs and decisions: The creation of informal measures for assessing speech production in children. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 15(3), 296-311. doi:10.3109/17549507.2013.77055
Nicole has already featured in a number of my blogposts: see here.
I am very excited to begin working with Nicole on her PhD.

Keeping in touch all over the world

The world is a small place thanks to tools such as Skype and the CSU conference app. This week I have had productive meetings with students and colleagues in Vietnam, Fiji, Newcastle, Brisbane, and Sydney thanks to technology.
Sharynne in Bathurst talking with Suzanne Hopf in Fiji
Ben Pham and Sharynne in Bathurst talking with Xuan Le in Vietnam
Sharynne in Bathurst talking to Anna in Brisbane

October 12, 2016

Productivity Commission Inquiry into the Education Evidence Base

The Australian Government's draft report on the Productivity Commission Inquiry into the Education Evidence Base has been released recently and is found here. I was involved in the Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) submission, and RIPPLE also made a submission.
Both of these submissions were quoted extensively within the report. Here is how Speech Pathology Australia wrote about the report to its membership today:
The Productivity Commission has released its draft report into the Inquiry into the Education Evidence Base. A key conclusion made by the Commission was one we emphasised in the SPA submission - that there is a large gap in the evaluation of policies, programs and teaching practices in Australian schools and early childhood services to identify what works best, for whom and in what circumstances. Of note, our submission was quoted in the report on numerous occasions in relation to distinguishing between 'data and evidence', gaps in data on early learning outcomes, the evaluation and evidence of 'what works', improving data collection and processing and data linkage. Thank you to the members who contributed their expertise to the development of the SPA submission to this Inquiry.
Speech Pathology Australia submissions on this and many other topics are available here. It is pleasing to see our research informing conversations with the government.

October 11, 2016

Balancing Research Capacity and Excellence with Professional Engagement

I was invited by the Research Office at Charles Sturt University to present a 2-hour workshop for mid-career researchers titled "Balancing Research Capacity and Excellence with Professional Engagement" and I presented the workshop today. I provided an overview of my experiences with engaging with professional associations and the immense benefit this has been to my research productivity and impact.
One of the papers that I highlighted during the presentation was:
Misso, M. L., Ilic, D., Haines, T. P., Hutchinson, A. M., East, C. E., & Teede, H. J. (2016). Development, implementation and evaluation of a clinical research engagement and leadership capacity building program in a large Australian health care service. BMC Medical Education, 16(13). http://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-016-0525-4

October 7, 2016

Dr Þóra Másdóttir's visit to CSU, Bathurst

This week Professor Þóra Másdóttir (Thóra Másdóttir) from the University of Iceland and The National Hearing and Speech Institute of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland visited me at Charles Sturt University, Bathurst. I had a wonderful time visiting Iceland a few years ago (see here) so was keen to ensure Þóra enjoyed her visit to Australia. During Þóra's visit we have enjoyed the Australian countryside (including seeing kangaroos, the Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves), discussed Þóra's publications, her research into the Intelligibility in Context Scale, and worked on her analysis of Icelandic children's speech acquisition. She also met Ben Pham who is currently working on a similar analysis of Vietnamese children's speech acquisition. Þóra has published a number of resources that are used throughout Iceland in speech pathology and education:
Sharynne and Þóra with her test and book
Ben Pham and Þóra discussing creating speech assessments and resources for Vietnam and Iceland
Sharynne and Þóra in Jenolan Caves
A mother and joey kangaroo near Charles Sturt University
While Þóra was visiting she saw many Australian animals including: kangaroos, a platypus, galahs, rosellas, lorikeets, cockatoos, a lyre bird, an echidna, and a (dead) wombat

Best Tertiary (Wholly Australian) Teaching and Learning Resource: Highly commended

The Educational Publishing Awards, organised by the Australian Publishers' Association were held last night. The final book category awarded on the night was Best Tertiary (Wholly Australian) Teaching and Learning Resource. The winner was Business Law 9th Edition by Andy Gibson and Douglas Fraser (Pearson). Highly commended was Introduction to Speech, Language and Literacy edited by myself and Jane McCormack (Oxford University Press)! We didn't even know we had been entered or shortlisted! We are thrilled that our work with our chapter authors and editors from OUP has been acknowledged in this way.

Here is the description of the awards from the Educational Publishing Awards website:
The prestigious annual Educational Publishing Awards reward excellence and innovation in the industry. The event offers colleagues and industry professionals the opportunity to network and celebrate achievements. Awards are judged by a panel of peers, and each year teachers and booksellers vote for the coveted Publisher of the Year award. Awards will be presented in the Primary, Secondary, TAFE & Vocational and Tertiary Education categories as well as to the Primary and Secondary Publisher of the Year. ​
The shortlisted publications are here. The winning books are listed here.
Blog posts about our book are compiled here.
The Oxford University Press blog post about the development of our book (written by Jane McCormack) is here.