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Jonathan Durham: French Studies

It is a testjd2.jpgament to Jonathan’s teaching ability that he was asked to be a seminar tutor for a final year module as well as a tutoring first year undergraduates.

For Jonathan, the most important skill of the teacher is the ability to break down complex subject-specific material and reframe it in language that anyone can understand. He has used the lyrics from Lady Gaga to explain the history of early French feminism and to explain the complicated ending of Corneille’s tragi-comedy Le Cid set it up as an episode of The Jeremy Kyle show. For the Gameboy generation, he illustrate the love intrigues in Molière’s comedies alongside the conquests of the Super Mario Bros. These contemporary reference points speed up plot and character analysis, and generate interest in the 17th century text. The result is that the obscure classical French texts are made accessible and relevant, and in turn, engaging and motivating the students.

Jonathan is a strong advocate of research-led teaching. He specifically tailors his paper at the department’s postgraduate conference to complement his teaching at that time and his presentation attracts a large number of students. Not only does this help the student engage more deeply with the primary material but it also makes them feel part of a wider and on-going research culture.

students say...

Really good seminar teacher engages with the whole class”

He makes lessons really fulfilling and interesting.”

staff say...

Jonathan is a kind, considerate, popular and approachable teacher, whose students and colleagues praise his exceptional teaching.

“He has the rare ability to convey even complex ideas in an engaging and clear manner.