Tuesday, October 15, 2013

University developing Chamorro curriculum

University developing Chamorro curriculum
by Amanda Francel Blas
Pacific Daily News
October 15, 2013

A standardized Chamorro language curriculum for college students is now being developed.
The University of Guam received a three-year federally funded grant from the Administration of Native Americans to create a standardized curriculum for teaching the Chamorro language at the college level.

"We want to develop a typical language course of instruction for Chamorro," said Faye Untalan, Ph.D, principal investigator of the project and writer of the grant. "We have one for all the other languages, and we need one for Chamorro."

Entitled "I Ma Adahen i Fino' Chamorro gi Koleho," or "The Preservation of the Chamorro Language at the Post-Secondary Level," the project also includes plans of producing a textbook for student use. According to Untalan, the standardized text and curriculum will allow students to get the same Chamorro language education at any institution it is offered.

Working together

Currently, there are only four colleges that offer Chamorro language: the University of Guam; Northern Marianas College; Guam Community College; and University of Hawai'i at Manoa. The four institutions will come together to develop the uniform curriculum.

According to Untalan, the curriculum and textbook will be reviewed and approved by a panel of experts, or the mamfayi.

"Members include native Chamorro speakers that have demonstrated advocacy and work in Chamorro language," Untalan said.

Local programs

The project will add to Guam's already existing standardized chamorro language and culture programs, which are part of the Department of Education's Chamorro Studies and Special Projects Division.

These programs include the Chamorro Language and Culture Program (CLCP), which provides Chamorro language and culture instruction daily to all elementary students, and the Chamoru Mandate Program Secondary (CHAMPS), which requires all secondary school students take a one-year credit course in Chamorro language instruction at the middle school level and at the high school level. Both of those programs are locally funded.

For Untalan, having a standardized Chamorro language curriculum will help promote culture.
"It provides an opportunity for students who never learned their language to learn it in college," Untalan said.

Untalan and project coordinator Michael Lujan Bevacqua, Ph.D, will formally introduce the project to the public today at 3 p.m. They will make their presentation in the multipurpose room in UOG's Leon Guerrero building.