PCEP Supports Bilingual Text Development in Chuuk
PCEP supported the development of three bilingual texts from PREL’s Language & Content (L&C) Learning Across the Curriculum project, which is a multi-year effort in Chuuk funded by the Chuuk Department of Education (CDOE). The project focuses on how language plays an important role in learning across content areas to support academic success. PREL works closely with a core group of CDOE staff to build their capacity in addressing academic language and literacy learning in both the local language and English.
One output of this project is the development of locally relevant bilingual texts for kindergarten (K5) to grade 8. The texts build language and literacy skills in the local language and English, through topics important to students, their communities, and Chuuk. There are four texts in each grade, and each text focuses on a topic from one of the following themes: traditional stories/legends; environment/climate change; plants and animals; and daily island life.
Three texts in particular are co-sponsored by PCEP: Pwórausen Fáán Nááng (Weather), Ráás me Efen (Seasons), and Iráán wón Fénúweei (Plants on My Island). The former text is written at the K5 level, and the latter two at the grade 1 level. All of these three texts are written in Chuukese and English. These texts can be used to build students’ understanding on weather, climate, and the environment, which is foundational to more complex concepts related to climate change at upper grade levels.
For example, Pwórausen Fáán Nááng (Weather) gives K5 students the tools to talk about weather now, to make observations in the past, and to predict for the future. Such tools include formulaic sentences that are emphasized through repetition in the text, such as Ifa pwórausen fáán nááng ikánáái? (How’s the weather today?) By developing K5 students’ skills in observing and comparing weather at relatively short scales (i.e., immediate past and future), this provides a foundation for understanding climate patterns and change at much longer scales (i.e., 30 years).
Each text is conceptualized and written by CDOE staff, with technical assistance from PREL on brainstorming, writing, and reviewing; local knowledge from community members to enhance the content; and technical assistance from Island Research & Education Initiative on reviewing, layout/illustration, and printing logistics. The first round of development and publishing has produced seven books and two posters. PCEP staff provided additional resources to support content enhancement, review, and illustration for the three aforementioned texts.
report by Dr. Emerson Lopez Odango, with assistance from Emily Lam and Dorsalina William;
photo courtesy of Diana Manuel