Professor Makes Tape To Help Train Teachers

Harvard classes filmed yesterday will star in a videotape made by members of the Romance Languages Department to help train language teachers.

The video, entitled "Languages at Work," was filmed in Guttmann Library using two Harvard Italian classes. The tape is being produced and directed by Marlies Mueller, Senior Preceptor of Romance Languages and Literature.

The videotape, which also features Harvard classes in French and Spanish, will be used primarily for training Harvard teaching fellows. Many of these graduate students come to the University from France and Spain in order to teach at Harvard. "We plan to use it every fall during orientation," Mueller said.

The Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning, comprised of 11 universities including the Ivy League, will receive a copy of the video in exchange for funding half of the expenses for its production. The University Development Fund funded the other half of the project.

Languages at Work focuses on themes connected with occupations and includes Italian and Spanish, as well as French.


Four language classes were chosen to participate in the video, two Italian, one French and one Spanish. Manuela Bertoni, one of the Italian teachers whose class was filmed yesterday, said. "This is the best group of students I've ever taught. When they prepare, they do well. When they don't, they do well. We didn't do anything special to prepare for being filmed."

The video is going to be made on a two-channel basis, Mueller said. Typically, when students watch a videotape they listen in one language, Mueller explained. With this system thelistener can change channels and hear the samedialogue in another language, typically English.

Mueller, who is Harvard's director of teachertraining in French, was the first person atHarvard to use videotaping as a form of evaluationand teacher training in the 1970s. Since then thetrend has caught on in other Harvard departments.

"It's a non-threatening way to train someone toteach," said Mueller. "They can pick up what'swrong and what's right while avoiding frictionwith a supervisor." The self-criticism method hasworked very well, Mueller explained.

Mueller made her first video dealing withimproved teaching of languages in 1978. "In thefirst video I showed good and bad teaching. Thebad teaching was acting," she said.

Mueller also recently made a video focusing onFrench cultural literacy and how to includeliterature in teaching languages. That tape is inits final stages of production.

"We've received requests for the last video, oncultural literacy, from schools in Australia,Haiti and other Francophone countries in Africa,"Mueller said. "There is a lot of interest inpedagogy in the Third World." Mueller said sheexpects a similar interest in Languages at Work,particularly since it includes Spanish