Tel: (671) 735-2193/1/7/8
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Micronesian Language Institute
House # 3 & # 4
Dean Circle Area
University of Guam
University of Guam
Micronesian Language Institute
UOG Station, D.C. # 4
Mangilao, Guam 96923
More About MLIA major formative factor behind MLI was the encouragement and support of a regional cadre of indigenous language experts from Guam and each other political entity in the American Affiliated Micronesian Region. These individuals had worked collaboratively since the 1970's, first during years of training and dictionary development at the University of Hawaii and then through the regional training and technical assistance activities of BEAM. At a major regional language conference on Guam in 1989, at a time when federal funds for language education in Micronesia were rapidly disappearing, they expressed strong needs for a permanent place where interdisciplinary research and development on the indigenous languages of Micronesia could be conducted. They looked to the University of Guam as the best location for this endeavor. At that conference they developed a research agenda for the incipient Micronesian Language Institute.
Within a year following that formative conference, a core group of respected indigenous language leaders met in Yap and agreed on some fundamental recommendations for the Institute's structure and operational approach. These included Chair of the Guam Commission on Chamorro Language, Professor Rosa Salas Palomo; Lieutenant Governor of Yap, the Honorable Late Tony Tawerilmang; Director of Education of Pohnpei, Damien Sohl; Director of Curriculum and Instruction of the Palau Ministry of Education, Masa Aki Emesiochl. Also in attendance was Dr. Mary Spencer, Director of BEAM and a cross-cultural language researcher. One of the main recommendations of this group was to convene a Regional Advisory Council for MLI that could continuously report on changing language issues in the region, recommend items for the research agenda, provide support to MLI, and actively engage MLI in language affairs of the region. The Council has proven to be very supportive of MLI. Many of the contracts that MLI has engaged in have derived from the requests and influence of MLI’s Regional Advisor members.
Other sources of research participation and support have been provided by an interdisciplinary team of University of Guam faculty, staff, and students; by national and international scholars specializing in Chamoru and other indigenous languages of Micronesia; English and/or second language education and by community leaders and government agencies in Guam, other parts of the region, and in Washington, D.C. Government of Guam appropriations for MLI and MLI's contract and grant history are provided in a later section.
The Pacific Basin is home to the largest language family in the world – the Austronesian language. Recognizing the diversity of this language that stretches from the Indian Ocean to the west to the far reaches of the eastern Pacific is the Micronesian Language Institute, established at the University of Guam in 1990.
In its first decade of operations, MLI was engaged in the development of oral language proficiency assessment tools in Palauan, Chuukese, Pohnpeian, and Tagalog. Basic research on the sequence of child language has been on-going in Palauan, Chuukese, and Pohnpeian languages.
Supported by federal grant funding, at present, MLI in consortia with the Guam Public School System (GPSS) is in its final year of the Guam Dual Certification in English as a Second Language (DCESL)Project, a five-year Title III – National Professional Development grant under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, which is administered by the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) U.S. Department of Education.
The institute’s purpose is to conduct research and provide service and teaching activities that enlarge an understanding of the indigenous languages in Micronesia. To enhance Micronesian language resources, a variety of instructional materials are being created for island instructors and researchers, developed either in response to specific needs identified by regional governments and agencies or because of MLI professionals’ specialties.
Guam English as a Second Language Certification Plus Project
U.S. Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) Title III National Professional Development. Duration: 2007-2012 (5Years). Purposes of the project are:
- To provide professional development opportunities for prospective and existing Guam DOE teachers, school aides and staff to obtain their education degree and also to be dually certified in ESL and in math, science, language arts/reading, or language/bilingual.
- To form a Tri-college curriculum Team that will review all courses in the teacher preparation program in order to revise existing or develop new courses that will improve classroom instruction of ELLs to better assist educational personnel working with these children in the Guam DOE.
Guam Dual Certification in English as a Second Language Project
U.S. Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) Title III National Professional Development. Duration: 2002-2007(5Years). The main purposes of the Project were:
- To prepare prospective teachers and existing Department of Education teacher and school aides to secure dual certification in ESL and in either math, science, language/bilingual, or reading. Each academic year, at least 2 courses pertaining to certification in language/bilingual, science, math or reading were revised or developed and offered with at least 20 students successfully completing the class.
- Each summer session, a special summer institute was implemented on ESL and reading, ESL and math, ESL and science, ESL and language education with at least 200 teachers successfully completing the institute.
The institute, in collaboration with GPSS, has completed several Title VII Bilingual Projects through the Office of English Language Acquisition (formerly the Office of Bilingual Education of Minority Language Affairs, OBEMLA) U.S. Department of Education. Some of the MLI’s other past Title VII Bilingual Education projects are:
Project Eyak: To Learn
U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) Title VII Bilingual Education Development and Implementation. Duration: 2001-2004 (3 Years). The Project provided support to Agueda Johnston Middle School’s Limited English Proficiency ( LEP ) students in grades 6th , 7th , and 8th to master challenging mathematics through a three-pronged approach:
- To develop an upgraded curriculum and instructional program for LOTE students with supplementary after-school sessions designed to give LOTE students opportunities for meeting challenging language arts, science, and math academic standards, and to produce measurable students outcomes.
- To develop a social and emotional school climate for LOTE students by decreasing the disruption and violence of inter-ethnic conflict, increasing school linked social and career development opportunities for all cultural groups of LOTE students, and enhancing appreciation of the cultures of all students. Providing mainstreamed classroom teachers with in-service training and mentorship with ESL support to learn best practices in successful mathematics teaching for bilingual students.
- MLI grant staff and LOTE teachers improved and enhanced the continuity of home and school support of high expectations for students academic achievement by organizing and training parents of AJMS LOTE students for involvement in the education of their children. Providing an intensive after school program to give bilingual students an opportunity to use computer-assisted mathematics instruction and hands-on manipulative materials to enrich their regular mathematics program.
- To implement long and short term training activities for participating LOTE language arts, science, and math teachers on computer-assisted programs, new and innovative instructional methodologies and strategies, as well as in the theoretical foundations of language, first and second language, language arts, science, mathematics content instruction.
Geckos Excel at Challenges and Opportunities (GECO) Futures:
A project with Guam’s George Washington High School regarding experimental bilingual education instructional approaches for LEP students.
- To provide an upgraded curriculum and instructional program for LOTE students at GWHS, with supplementary after-school, Saturday and summer sessions, designed to give LEP students opportunities for meeting challenging language arts, science, and math academic standards, and to produce measurable students outcome improvement and increase high school graduation rates.
- The social and emotional school climate for LEP students was improved by decreasing the disruptions and violence of inter-ethnic conflict, increasing school-linked social and career development opportunities for all cultural groups of LEP students, and enhancing appreciation of the cultures of all students.
- MLI grant staff and LOTE teachers improved the continuity of home and school support of high expectation for students academic achievement and career preparation by organizing and training families of GW LEP students for involvement in the education and future-oriented opportunities of their children.
Paradisu Family English Literacy Program:
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Affairs (OBEMLA), Title VII Bilingual Program. Duration: 1992-1995 (3 Year). The project provided literacy training to the Chamoru, Chuukese, and Palauan communities on Guam.
- To strengthen and develop the English literacy, school survival, school success, and school participation skills of a selected number of Chamorro, Chuukese, and Palauan families living on Guam through instruction and other program activities.
Micronesian Language Institute’s second decade has been characterized by federally funded grants supporting professional development for educators in instructional strategies that address educational effectiveness in the indigenous languages as well as English; e.g., dual certification of teachers in a modern language as well as a content area; family literacy; and collaborative program development with George Washington High School for English language learners. As part of these grants, MLI has been able to sponsor courses featuring national and international language and linguistic experts. MLI faculty and associated scholars worked closely with academic centers in Germany, multiple locations in the U.S., and throughout the Pacific. MLI is proud of its history of addressing the interests and needs of Micronesian language communities on Guam and the region. These include several studies related to Micronesian migration induced by the Compacts of Free Association and its multi-directional impacts. Assessment of children’s competencies in indigenous and English languages, and in academic content areas, continue to be important interests of MLI. Basic language research with Chamorro elders and child cognitive and language development research with Chuukese children are among active faculty efforts.
MLI has also been instrumental in other local and regional community-related services including: Teaching English as a Second Language and Basic Skills classes – in conjunction with Guam Community College (GCC), developing innovative instructional materials and teaching strategies that resulted in adults acquiring their high school equivalency diploma.
A collaborative arrangement between MLI, GDOE’s Language Other Than English program, and the Chamoru Language program has resulted in effective teaching strategies and higher standard practices to students. Criteria-referenced tests are currently being developed for the Chamoru Language Program, and pilot testing is set to take place.
FSM National Tests – MLI coordinated the development and analysis of the FSM’s National Standardized Tests of language arts, mathematics, and science, awarded by the National FSM government in the realigning of its language arts standards, benchmarks, and test items.
Translation and interpretive services – MLI has provided technical assistance and training to Peace Corps volunteers in Micronesia, and addresses research with indigenous languages in contact with other modern languages, such as Tagalog, Spanish, English, and Japanese.
Palauan and English bilingual development – a major longitudinal study of both languages was completed, resulting in several evaluation studies of language instructional programs.
Micronesian Language Institute's ongoing research programs frequently employ and train student research assistants, providing financial support as they study while simultaneously enhancing the development of a future generation of individuals with interest in and appreciation for the indigenous Micronesian languages, and knowledge and skill in language and linguistic research.
MLI’s 2008 Group Participant’s Recognition Award
This operational approach has proven its worth :
Dozens of students have received educational opportunity, financial support, and research practicum experiences while they study;
Hundreds of other students have benefited from the support Micronesian Language Institute has given to regular coursework at UOG by way of guest lectures by Micronesian Language Institute professionals on language research topics; through the research findings of Micronesian Language Institute that are now part of the curriculums of numerous social science and language courses; and through the language assessment services Micronesian Language Institute provides for Master Degree students in the Micronesian Studies Program.
Historically important baseline databases on the indigenous languages of Micronesia have been developed, subjected to primary analysis, and preserved for secondary analysis by other language scholars.
An impressive roster of academically significant publications and reports have flowed from the research and development activities of Micronesian Language Institute. Some of this research is basic research which has theoretical implications in psychology, linguistics, and sociology. Some of the research is applied research designed to answer practical questions of a social, educational, or psychological nature, or which aid in the development of public language, migration, or social welfare policy. Examples of some of this research are in a later section of the report.
A continual stream of grant and contract funding has been generated by Micronesian Language Institute, and at a very modest cost. There is every evidence that prospects for future funding are very good. The cost effectiveness ratio of MLI has always exceeded that of the other UOG research institutes; i.e., Micronesian Language Institute has raised almost as many (and sometimes more) external dollars than it has spent in local appropriations. This is especially significant in view of the important local and regional cultural and social needs that Micronesian Language Institute's work serves.
Micronesian Language Institute's contributions to applied research needs in Guam and other parts of Micronesia, as well as its positive Pacific and international reputation respond harmoniously to the University of Guam's mission statement which emphasizes regional and international activity.