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The conference is split into two themes, d/Deaf education and ethics & professionalism. As well as the key note, each theme will have further formal sessions, as well as informal sessions which run throughout the conference.

The conference environment will be open one week before the conference starts, for reading only, so that delegates can read and view the various presentations and papers. The conference itself will be open for contributions from Wednesday 28th January 2009 to 8am (GMT) to 8am (GMT) Sunday 1st February 2009. The environment will remain accessible for reading only, so that delegates can catch up on anything they missed, for a further four weeks.

For further information on how the conference works, see the FAQ section.

More information on the programme will be added shortly.

Please click on the presentation titles for more information.

Theme One (28th/29th January): d/Deaf Education
A study of 200 deaf graduates from Griffiths University (provisional title) Mervyn Hyde
The social life of deaf children in the mainstream John Anderson
Theme Two (30th/31st January): Ethics and Professionalism
The power of personality: A study of signed language interpreters
Karen Bontempo
The 'role' of the interpreter in public service and community interpreting settings (provisional title) Peter Llewellyn-Jones
What can we learn from nurses? (provisional title) Ben Karlin
Professional dilemma session - problems, issues, tips and advice
Other online sessions (throughout the conference)
General Discussion area
Social area
Live chat
Resource/announcement area


Theme One: Deaf Education

The social life of deaf children in the mainstream (John Anderson)

How well do we prepare deaf children for mainstreaming? We all know that they need to have strong language and speech skills. But we also know that deaf children struggle with social relationships in the mainstream. Friendship can be difficult to build and maintain. Do deaf children need intensive training in social skills for mainstreaming? What is the role of self-advocacy in social relationships? Are there special issues for deaf teenagers? These are some of the questions that we will explore for this presentation.

Theme Two: Ethics and Professionalism

The power of personality: A study of signed language interpreters (Karen Bontempo)

Is there a personality type, or set of dispositional traits that might be predictive of performance as a signed language interpreter? Organisational psychologists have long theorised that the notions of a "work personality" and "person-vocation fit" have legitimacy, and interest in measuring the range of factors that may be predictive of performance in the field of signed language interpreting has increased in recent years. Identifying the characteristics that are likely predictors of success in the profession would be extremely valuable for interpreter educators, as such information may impact on program admission criteria and course curricula; would likely improve student outcomes and exit standards; and could reduce attrition rates from courses and the profession. Better understanding the personal and cognitive characteristics that may contribute to competent performance in the profession has merit in the present context of limited supply of practitioners, increasing demands in the marketplace, and higher consumer and employer expectations of quality and standards of practice. However, no definitive findings about the psychological 'make-up' of signed language interpreters have been gleaned from previous studies to date. Yet, a number of factors considered promising predictors of performance in the field of organisational psychology, specifically those arising from a social-cognitive paradigm for the study of personality, have not been measured in signed language interpreters. These include factors such as self-efficacy, goal orientation and negative affectivity.

This research paper will report on the findings of a questionnaire administered to 110 signed language interpreters in Australia, which was designed to measure self-efficacy, goal orientation and negative affectivity.

What can we learn from nurses? (Ben Karlin)

This abstract is provisional. Updated information will be added as soon as it becomes available.

In so many ways, the intepreting profession resembles the nursing profession. Both historically have majority female practitioners and both began as helping professions. Nurses also were long viewed as less than professionals but have managed to bring their work to the status of a real profession. Interestingly, in doing so they have debated and developed ethics differing from doctors.

While doctors' traditional value of "do no harm" exists along with autonomy, nurses are concerned also with expressing care and empowerment for those under their charge. In an effort to professionalize, intepreters seem to have adopted ethics more like those of doctors. But what can we learn from nurses? What are some of the concepts that inform nurses' ethical decisions? Are they better suited to interpreters' work, especially interpreters who maintain positions inside of Deaf communities? Do nurses provide a model for professionalization while remaining within our communities rather than "moving up" and out of them?