UOG Receives 3 Year Grant For Chamorro Language Curriculum Project


Guam- The University of Guam received a three-year federally funded grant to standardize the Chamorro language curriculum for post-secondary instruction; it also plans to produce a textbook for student use.

Starting this Fall Semester, UOG will begin this three-year project funded by the Administration of Native Americans to create a standardized curriculum for teaching the Chamorro language at the college level. The project entitled “I Ma Adahen i Fino’ Chamorro gi Koleho” or “The Preservation of the Chamorro Language at the Post-Secondary Level” will bring together the four colleges that currently offer Chamorro language in their curriculum to work together to determine a unified curriculum for instruction for four-semesters of Chamorro language. Dr. Faye Untalan is the Principal Investigator of this project.

The Chamorro language is taught at only four institutions of higher education, the University of Guam, The Northern Marianas College, the Guam Community College and the University of Hawai’i, at Manoa. As there is no standardized curriculum for teaching Chamorro at the college level, faculties at each institution often have to create their own materials. Instruction may vary widely from one class to the next. Students taking one level of Chamorro with one instructor are often lost when moving to the next level, as their new instructor may follow a completely different curriculum.

Chamorro language faculties, one representing each of the four colleges and two outside members, will be convened to identify and determine the core curriculum content for each semester of the Chamorro language curriculum. This effort and product will form the basis for the instructional text. The Mamfayi, a Panel of Experts of native Chamorro speakers and leaders, scholars and educators will be established to provide oversight on the product produced by the project and to give approval on the accuracy of Chamorro language usage and rules governing its grammatical structure and syntax.  “I Ma Adahen i Fino’ Chamorro gi Koleho” aims to produce as a final product at the end of the three years a four-semester curriculum with instructional materials for textbook production.

The textbook and curriculum developed under this project will have an impact beyond just the four institutions that already teach Chamorro. According to Dr. Faye Untalan, “This curriculum and this textbook will be a resource for Chamorros anywhere in the world, whether it be Guam, San Diego or Killeen Texas, to use to create language learning opportunities in Chamorro communities everywhere. These materials will be created by those who have dedicated their lives to preserving the Chamorro language. The goal of the project is to make Chamorro language teaching easier and to increase fluency in Chamorro here in the Marianas, and throughout the diaspora, who want to learn Chamorro but may not have the resources they need.”

The project will be formally introduced to the public on October 15, 2013 at 3 pm at the Multipurpose Room in the Leon Guerrero building at the University of Guam. Dr. Untalan and Project Coordinator Dr. Michael Lujan Bevacqua will both make presentations outlining the logistics for this grant.