This UOG graduate is making a difference in Micronesia

Akiko Chochol was one of the many hard-working graduates who received their degrees this past Sunday. (PNC photo)

The pandemic has taken a toll on many students, but one University of Guam graduate overcame the challenges and the distance. Akiko Chochol was one of the many hard-working graduates who received their degrees this past Sunday.

Akiko received her undergraduate degree in Japanese Studies in Japan then proceeded to work in Yap and Pohnpei before pursuing her graduate degree in education at UOG.

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When asked about why she chose UOG, she said that it was because it was close and easy to keep up with while teaching at the University of Micronesia. While in Micronesia, Akiko was teaching Japanese but noticed that her students were having a hard time in English.

“They like to learn Japanese but it’s not their priority to learn. They need English much more than Japanese. Then I heard some stories from my co-workers, English teachers, that I want you to try to teach English to Micronesian students,” Akiko said.

When Akiko transitioned to teaching English she noticed a lack of proper English teaching supplies. Akiko noticed that the supplies such as books came from off-island which made it difficult for her students to learn and relate to.

The lack of supplies fueled her thesis project which was about English-language teaching practices on Yap through online methods. Her thesis project earned her a nomination for UOG’s Innovative Research Award.

“Teaching materials. Textbook, workbook, or even oral supplementation. I wonder how they — revise what they have, what they are provided from DOE. The materials are not appropriate to the Micronesian students. Because of the culture or the contents do not match the curriculum. So I told the teachers to make a big effort to make the materials relevant to the students. So I wanted to know how they actually do it,” Akiko said.

Akiko is planning on getting her Ph.D. in education to further her thesis research. And once she gets free time and COVID restrictions lighten up, she plans on visiting Yap to meet the participants of her project.