In the struggle to save the Chamorro language, the group which is both the most beloved but also the most maligned are i manma’estron Chamoru or the Chamorro language teachers of Guam Department of Education. They are doing the important work of promoting Chamorro language and culture to all the island’s youth, even those who aren’t Chamorro. But they are also given little to no respect within the educational framework, and are also given an impossible task, of trying to teach students to speak a language with disastrously little contact time. Much is made of the fact that no student has ever become fluent through their mandatory Chamorro classes in public schools. This seems like a very big deal, but truly isn’t. How long do you think it would take you to become fluent in a language that you only practiced for 80 minutes a week? Or even 160 minutes a week? If you look at it purely in terms of how many years a student has to take a language, it seems so insane that they haven’t produced a single fluent speaker yet. But if you look at the actual amount of time they are learning and using the language, it is so small and minute, very few people could learn a language with that paltry amount of reinforcement.
GDOE Chamorro Studies Division gets alot of crap for something that is far beyond its control. If we want fluent speakers to come out of DOE, we need an immersion program and we need more reinforcement. Sitting and complaining about how it isn’t working doesn’t affect the fact that it can’t work, no matter how much we complain.
Below is the mission of the GDOE Chamorro Studies Division:
Etmås takhelo’ na mision-ña i Dibision Inestudion Chamoru yan Espesiåt na Prugråma Siha ayu i para u na’asiguråo i ma prubiniyen manifektibu na enstråksion gi lengguåhi yan kottura ni’ para u na’la’la’, u sostieni, yan u kontenuha i ma na’lå’la’-ñiha i lengguåhi yan kotturan Chamoru yan para u prutehi, u na’hulo’, yan u praktika i ma usan i lengguåhi yan kotturan Chamoru kada ha’åni.