Tami Castro

                     Jessica L. Villaverde

 

Should additional time and financial resources be allotted to teach Chamorro language lessons within the Dept of Ed. for children to master the basic concepts or sentence structure skills of the Chamorro language?

 

VARIABLES:

·        Global trends: among the world’s 6,800 languages, half to 90 percent could be extinct by the end of the century. Half of all languages are spoken by fewer than 2,500 people each, according to the World-watch institute, a private organization that monitors global trends. (PDN, Washington (AP) 06-20-01 p.26)

·        War, genocide, fatal natural disasters, government bans and the adoption of more dominant languages will contribute to the  demise of minority languages. (PDN, Washington (AP), 06-20-01 p.26)

·        "94 percent of the world's population uses a mere 6 percent of its 6,900 ancestral languages. This century will be remembered as a time of a major extinction event when thousands of languages were abandoned by their speakers in favor of languages of wider communication." Linguist Dr. Kenneth Rehg (Malamalama. Univ of Hawai'i Oct 2010 Vol 35 No 2 pg 14).

·        According to the 2000 census, 37 percent of the 154,805 people on Guam in 2000 are Chamorro. The percentage of Chamorro residents remains unchanged from the 1990 census.  According to Fmr. Delegate Robert Underwood, D-Guam the growth of the Guamanian or Chamorro population on the U.S. mainland grew by 20 percent in the last decade, from 1980-1990. (PDN, 07-01-01,p.3)

  • Teachers are having difficulty preparing lessons plans because of limited resources/ materials. Reason: transferring an oral language into a written format is a continuous process but hindered due to lack of financial backing.
  • According to Clotilde C. Gould , early pioneer of the Chamorro Language commission. Stated that the Chamorro language is dynamic, it adapts to new languages. On Guam, there is a lot of Spanish in our language, due to the influence of the Spanish era. On Saipan, there is a lot of Japanese in their Chamorro language, adopted from their years under Japanese administration. In the beginning it was very difficult to get familiarized with something that had never really been written down, except by the church.
  • Public Law 17 GCA CHAPTER 8: Chamorro Language and Cultural Education

§8101. Statement of Findings. The Legislature finds and declares the following:

(1) Traditionally, basic language differences in Guamanian schools have been overlooked to the extent that there exists a need for an education program to revive and maintain the language and culture of the people of the Mariana’s.

 (4) There is a definite need for students to learn and preserve that, which is unique, beautiful and viable within the Chamorro culture, while at the same time acquiring those attitudes and skills, which are necessary for successful competition in the mainstream of American life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANALYSIS OF DATA/INFORMATION:

·        The survey conducted follows the global trend of the majority of the world’s languages facing extinction. (See pie chart, variable)

·        Languages need at least 100,000 speakers to pass from generation to generation, says UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (PDN, 06-20-01 p.26)

·        The Direct instruction implemented last year, under the No-Child left behind act, has either shortened or eliminated other subjects i.e. Chamorro. Currently, Machanaonao elementary school is in violation of the 17 GCA Ch. 8 SS8101 because they do not offer Chamorro lessons. (Oral interview, Mrs. Agnes Takano, 11-25-04/ sees attached supporting statement; survey form 16-anonymous teacher).

·        On Guam, there is no immediate reward to learn Chamorro in high school unlike the Japanese language- you can be easily employed in the hotel & restaurant industry, or if you learn Spanish, it can be used to improve your testing scores for college entrance exams. (interview- Ms. C. Santos, 11-25-04).

·        Positive rewards needed for Chamorro speakers: Today, it’s not about deterring children from speaking Chamorro. It’s about what we, as a people associate with proficiency in English. Being able to speak English well is a mark of education.  We stress to our children that success comes through the ability to read, write and speak English. That these skills will create educational and occupational opportunities. The belief is further reinforced by our educational system. To combat this we should consider for example, creating jobs for individuals who speak Chamorro in the hotel & restaurant industry. We can reward students who excel academically and who also possess the gift of speaking Chamorro with scholarships. (PDN, L. Camacho, 4-11-01 p. 23 )

 

 

Recommendation:

  • Encourage the teaching and usage of the Chamorro language to prevent extinction.

·        When a language dies, linguists, anthropologists and others lose rich sources of material for their work documenting a people’s history: finding out what they knew and tracking their movements from region and region. Languages need at least 100,000 speakers to pass from generation to generation, says UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (PDN, 06-20-01 p.26)

    • Participate in the celebration of Chamorro week!
    • Fmr. Chamorro Language Commission executive director Ann Marie stated that we need to “start with the basics first” she would like to see elementary school students study Chamorro for a full class period every day. But right now, there is no money to support more lessons at any level, so legislating them would be an effort in futility. (PDN, J. Flores, 3-14-99 p. 27)

 

Conclusion:

As much as we would like to believe that if we allot additional time for Chamorro lessons with in DOE, it is simply not enough. We cannot force the preservation of Guam’s language by enacting legislation to make it mandatory. It has to come from within. If we wish to preserve our language, we have to use it at home.  As future educators, as parents, and as citizens of our island we must choose to speak it in our homes.  Our language must be articulated if it is to survive.

 

 

 

 

SURVEY - Guam has public laws that mandate Chamorro language instruction in schools.

 

Frequency Table

 

This survey is to research if teachers, students, and parents feel that sufficient amount of instructional time is spent teaching the subject.

Please circle the answer that applies to you or you feel is closest to your

answer. Thank you for your time.

 

                                          Are you a (teacher student parent)?

 

 

 

 

 

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

teacher

34

65.4

65.4

65.4

student

1

1.9

1.9

67.3

parent

17

32.7

32.7

100.0

Total

52

100.0

100.0

 

 

 

                                                        What is your gender?

 

 

 

 

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

male

13

25.0

25.0

25.0

Female

39

75.0

75.0

100.0

Total

52

100.0

100.0

 

 

 

                    What school level are you (your child) currently teaching or attending?

 

 

 

 

 

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

Elementary School

27

51.9

51.9

51.9

Middle School

14

26.9

26.9

78.8

High School

11

21.2

21.2

100.0

Total

52

100.0

100.0

 

 

 

                                                       Are you Chamorro?

 

 

 

 

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

yes

37

71.2

71.2

71.2

no

15

28.8

28.8

100.0

Total

52

100.0

100.0

 

 

 

       Are you ( your child) knowledgeable in Chamorro customs and culture?

 

 

 

 

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

yes

45

86.5

86.5

86.5

no

7

13.5

13.5

100.0

Total

52

100.0

100.0

 

 

 

                Do you consider yourself (child) fluent in Chamorro language?

 

 

 

 

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

yes

17

32.7

32.7

32.7

no

35

67.3

67.3

100.0

Total

52

100.0

100.0

 

 

 

                              Is the Chamorro language reinforced at home?

 

 

 

 

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

yes

17

32.7

32.7

32.7

no

35

67.3

67.3

100.0

Total

52

100.0

100.0

 

 

 

           How much instructional time is allotted for Chamorro lang in your school

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

1 hour

5

9.6

9.6

9.6

45 minutes

6

11.5

11.5

21.2

30 minutes

31

59.6

59.6

80.8

15 minutes

6

11.5

11.5

92.3

none

4

7.7

7.7

100.0

Total

52

100.0

100.0

 

 

 

                  Do you think the amount of time circled above is sufficient?

 

 

 

 

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

yes

20

38.5

38.5

38.5

no

32

61.5

61.5

100.0

Total

52

100.0

100.0

 

 

 

 

 

Do you support additional instructional time for students to learn the Chamorro language and culture

 

 

 

 

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

yes

48

92.3

92.3

92.3

no

4

7.7

7.7

100.0

Total

52

100.0

100.0

 

 

 

                      Would you participate in a Chamorro studies program?

 

 

 

 

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

yes

43

82.7

82.7

82.7

no

9

17.3

17.3

100.0

Total

52

100.0

100.0

 

 

 

     Do you think DOE focuses enough resources towards Chamorro Studies?

 

 

 

 

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

yes

12

23.1

23.1

23.1

no

40

76.9

76.9

100.0

Total

52

100.0

100.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

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