Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Chamorro Lessons Ta'lo

I began teaching the Chamorro language formally at the University of Guam this past semester. It was a very eye-opening experience. After 10 years of classes in the community, whether they be in coffee shops, community centers or via email, it was both empowering and frightening to have a classroom that was mine to design for 220 minutes each week. I found that alot of my informal style worked well, but that I needed to produce more materials and handouts to keep students engaged. More and more I realize students have trouble just listening and following instructions but constantly need a sheet of paper in front of them telling them what is what. When you organize lessons in a coffee shop only those that want to learn will attend, but when you teach a class the overwhelming majority who attend many not want to learn but simply want to pass and so I learned I needed to recognize this lack of motivation and compensate for it.

But because I was focusing on teaching in the classroom I stopped offering my community classes at Java Junction in Hagatna. It was too difficult this past semester to keep those going because of the three full time jobs I was juggling and so I put them on hiatus. I have received a few requests, not too many but a few requests to start offering them again. Even though my coming year promises to be just as ridiculously busy as the last one I am still excited about offering them again. Teaching in the classroom gave me lots of ideas about how I can improve these more informal learning circles. For example previously the language groups I would run would focus primarily on learning grammar and then I would leave the practicing to the students when they would go home. I would recommend that each person have a language partner to practice what they had learned with. Most never got around to getting someone to commit to this and so they would learn but not use it and so the lessons wouldn't be very helpful in the end. Those that did find a language partner to help cement the lessons did wonderfully and some of them, such as my former student Ken Gofigan Kuper have gone on to become fluent. I know now that for these lessons I need to incorporate more drills and practice during the lessons in order to help make things stick and show them the interchangeable structure of the grammar.

If anyone is interested in attending these free Chamorro language lessons please let me know. Email me at mlbasquiat@hotmail.com or add me as a friend on Facebook. The lessons would most likely take place on Fridays during the Spring semester. The time and location haven't been decided yet, I'm still trying to gauge interest and commitment.

I also infrequently offer a Chamorro sentence email list, where every other day or so I email out Chamorro sentences, mainly questions that people can try to answer and respond to. If you want to be included in this list please let me know and I can add your email. We are currently on Chamorro Sentence #171.


Jess Merrill said...

Interested! Thanks for considering community classes again...

Brian M said...

Sinot- Malagu yu bai sangani hao si yu'us ma'asse. Un sohyu yu ni todus na un fanui mona kuttura-ta i fino-ta yan ayi siha na tao tao na malagu kumekuentos fino Chamoru. Umessalao fino-ta ya passa papa gi manhoben siha. Malagu yu attendi iyon miyu class. Esta hu takka hao...Biba Fino Chamoru.

Brian M said...

Sinot malagu yu bai sangani hao Si Yu'us Ma'asse. Un sohoyi yu ni todos un chochogue. Gof malagu yu bai attendi Klas-mu. Biba fino Chamoru biba ayi siha na malagu emessalao fino-ta. Si Brian

Rhonda Dee Lillie said...

I wish that every time I read a sentence in Chamorro that above each word was the English equivalent. Often I see so many wonderful sentences but I have no idea what the words are. I spend so much time looking through dictionaries trying to find the words only to fall short and fail to learn the meaning because I cannot find the word's translation. It is so hard to learn a language, when I come to it and there is nothing for me to reference it's meaning with.

I want to learn the language very much.... I just wish, if someone wrote a paragraph in Chamorro that they also included the definition of each word they used so that I could look at the sentence, see the way it is used, see the definition and comprehend what is being said.

You're someone I very much look up to. I would love to be on your email list, if you still do send out emails. I hope you're well.

Big Hugs until we meet again! ~~~~hugs~~~~~


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