DesJardin, Doll ’12 ‘Epitomize’ Student/Faculty Relationship
Professor-Alumni Collaboration Leads to Communication Disorders Quarterly Article
The path to collaboration began for Jean DesJardin, assistant professor of education, and Emily Doll ’12, DesJardin’s former student, as it does for most joint ventures: with a shared interest. In the years since, the professor-student relationship has grown into a peer-peer partnership, one that resulted in a recently published article in a peer-reviewed academic journal.
As part of her self-designed minor four years ago, Doll, a psychology major, enrolled in DesJardin’s Education 160 course, “Culture, Community, and Diversity: Introduction to Critical Pedagogy.” Eventually, the class discussion turned to sign language, a topic both women were drawn toward.
DesJardin, who has a master’s degree in deaf education, introduced signing to the class, and Doll was immediately engrossed. An after-class conversation eventually led DesJardin to invite Doll to work on the professor’s longitudinal research grant project, delving into language development for young children with hearing loss.
This olive branch convinced Doll to join DesJardin’s research project as an independent study student for a semester, and later as a consultant funded by the grant. Their research ultimately led duo to present at the ZERO TO THREE's 2011 National Training Institute, a multidisciplinary conference that focuses on issues related to infants, toddlers and families.
Fast forward three years, and the collaboration has continued – despite Doll’s Moravian graduation standing in the way. Serving as lead authors, they recently published an article, titled “Parental Support for Language Development During Joint Book Reading for Young Children With Hearing Loss," in the May 2014 issue of Communication Disorders Quarterly. Their co-authors hail from San Diego State University, the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, and the Indiana School of Medicine.
“I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to work with Emily because there is this great collaboration of ideas between us,” said DesJardin, during a March conversation with Doll, who returned to campus during her spring break. “There has been great back and forth, which has opened my world to other possibilities in research. We have learned so much from each other It’s really been a two-way street.”
Although Doll has since graduated, continuing her studies at George Mason University – where she will earn her master’ degree in applied developmental psychology in May – she and DesJardin have stayed in touch thanks to shared interests, and hours of videotape.
ABOVE: As part of their research, Doll (left) and DesJardin have had endless on-going conversations and correspondence.
ABOVE: DesJardin said she has enjoyed working with Doll because 'there is this great collaboration of ideas between us.'
As part of their research, Doll and DesJardin have watched more than a hundred of videos of parents and children sitting down together to read storybooks. The researchers studied two groups of parents and their young children (12 months to 48 months old): children with normal hearing and children with hearing loss. The families were videotaped at facilities in Indiana and Los Angeles, Calif.
Post-graduation, while at George Mason, Doll continued their work, coding the parents and children’s interactions – using the coding scheme she helped develop – transcribing the families’ conversations, and analyzing the results.
In addition to verbal interactions – which they transcribed word for word – the researchers recorded non-verbal actions, including small details such as parents pointing to words on the book’s pages, child eye gaze to pictures, and proximity between parent and child.
“There were a lot of videos, a lot of coding, and a lot of discussion of what we were seeing,” Doll said. “By the end, we had the books pretty much memorized.”
DesJardin and Doll had endless on-going conversations and correspondence discussing their findings, rating the behaviors, and comparing their results to the children’s expressive and receptive language scores.The findings, the researchers hope, will help “empower the families” to better support their children’s language development.
“It’s been noted in research that reading storybooks to young children has many positive outcomes”,” DesJardin said. “Reading storybooks has been encouraged, at pediatricians’ offices, in parenting magazines, and at public library programs.. We know that it’s a good thing. We now have a better way to quantify the experience for both parent and child.
“This has been an incredibly positive experience, and I am hopeful that we will continue to collaborate,” DesJardin said of Doll, who has recently accepted a research assistantship position in the Master’s Speech-Language Pathology program at East Stroudsburg University to begin this fall.
Joseph Shosh, chair of the College’s Education Department, commended the DesJardin-Doll partnership, noting his appreciation of their “meaningful research” and the “powerful difference” they are making in the lives of children with hearing loss.
“The fact that Jean was able to bring a Moravian undergraduate student with her on this journey is simply first-rate,” he said. “Jean’s work with Emily epitomizes the best in the Moravian student/faculty relationship.”
DesJardin would also like to extend a warm thank you to her three SOAR students,
Emily Baer ’14, Lindsay Galasso ’15 and Megan Davis ’15, who have also made great contributions to this project.
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