French Language Assistant

Durham, United Kingdom
£23067 - £25941 per annum
15 Jun 2021
End of advertisement period
23 Jun 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

School of Modern Languages and Cultures

Grade 5: - £23,067 - £25,941 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 9 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 23-Jun-2021, 6:59:00 AM 

Job Description

The School of Modern Languages and Cultures seeks to appoint a Language Assistant in French. The post will be full time. It is a fixed-term post for 9 months. The post-holder will ideally be in post on 15 September 2021.

The post-holder will be responsible for the delivery of French language teaching, especially oral classes, to undergraduate students at all levels, as well as conducting assessment and assisting with the development of assessments and course materials.

The School of Modern Languages and Cultures

The School is one of the largest and most successful Schools of Modern Languages in the UK bringing together research in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hispanic Studies, Italian, Japanese and Russian Studies. It is consistently ranked in the top five in national league tables, such as the Complete University Guide. The School’s reach spans Europe, the Arab world, Russophone Eurasia, Hispanic America, and East Asia, and their mutual socio-cultural, intellectual and linguistic relations. The School federates expertise to generate innovative research practices and activities that cross historical, geographical and methodological boundaries. Its research focuses on the transnational study of literatures, cultures and histories. Translation – understood in its broad sense of transmission, interpretation and sharing of languages, ideas and histories – underpins the School’s collective practices. The School has particular strengths in medieval and early modern Studies, visual arts and culture and the relationship between the sciences and the humanities, with further strong research interests in 19th to 21st century literature and culture, textual scholarship, gender and sexuality studies, critical and cultural theory, travel literature, creative writing, and translation. The School’s forward-thinking research agenda was recently highlighted in its major conference Our Uncommon Ground, held in Durham in 2018.  This conference brought together speakers from across the world to articulate and embrace the values of a discipline equipped to study cultures and their interactions in historical perspective.


French Studies in Durham is consistently highly ranked in the UK: it appears in the top five in major national league tables, contributing to Durham University’s top-20 placing for Arts and Humanities in the THE World Reputation Rankings 2020.

There is a team of six teaching-track colleagues and teaching specialists in French, whose pedagogical interests include the use of role-play in language teaching, and the assessment and support of the year abroad. A further 15 members of academic staff in French Studies are actively engaged in research and publication as well as teaching, part of an overall complement of over fifty research active staff in the School. Individual research expertise in French ranges from medieval and early modern studies to the contemporary and covers literature, cinema, theatre studies, political and critical theory, philosophy, cognitive methodologies, translation, post-colonialism, and gender studies.

Further details can be found at https://www.dur.ac.uk/mlac/ and related pages.

Student Profile and Teaching

The School of Modern Languages and Cultures runs a modular degree programme, delivered over a university year that is organised on the basis of three terms. The School seeks to foster a culture of outstanding teaching and personal development in both the graduate and undergraduate communities, prescribing in accordance with University strategy that all undergraduate teaching be research-based, research-orientated, or research-led, and striving to reinforce and enhance the characteristically strong Durham bond between staff and students.

There is a thriving community of excellent students in French, most of whom are registered on the BA in Modern Languages and Cultures. French students at Durham are required to take the relevant core language module in any given year, and may choose from a range of optional modules in literature, art, cinema, history, politics, and other disciplines. Further information is available from https://www.durham.ac.uk/departments/academic/modern-languages-cultures/undergraduate-study/courses/french-modules/.

All students are required to spend their third year abroad. They progress afterwards to a final-year Dissertation, which offers an opportunity for students to engage at an advanced intellectual level with topics relating to history or to literary, visual, and cultural production.


1. Teaching

  • To teach languages classes, predominantly oral classes, to undergraduates studying French at all levels
  • To carry out all related preparation, formative marking, follow-up work and record-keeping
  • To monitor students’ progress

2. Summative assessment and examining

  • To undertake summative marking related to teaching as required
  • To take on related examination marking as required
  • To assist in setting and vetting of oral examination topics and questions as required
  • To assist in preparation of year abroad

3. Curriculum development

  • To assist in the development and maintenance of language modules including preparation and updating of course materials
  • To develop and support students’ independent learning facilities

4. Administration

  • To liaise with module coordinators and other teachers as appropriate
  • To undertake occasional administrative work as required by the Director of French

5. Outreach

  • To assist in outreach or school liaison events during term time

6.  Any other duties as occasionally required by the Director of French in consultation with the Head of School

The duties and responsibilities outlined above are not intended to be an exhaustive list, but provide guidance on the main duties of the post.

Relationships and Contacts

Responsible to the Head of School of Modern Languages and Cultures.  Directly supervised by the Director of French. Interacts with support staff in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, and other teaching staff in the School.

How to Apply

For informal enquiries, please contact Professor Jonathan Long, Head of School (j.j.long@durham.ac.uk) or Professor Jan Clarke, Director of French (jan.clarke@durham.ac.uk).  All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence. 

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. https://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University.

What to Submit

All applicants are asked to submit:

  • a CV and covering letter which details your experience, skills and achievements in meeting (or the potential to meet) the criteria set out above.


You should provide details of two referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference (if they are not listed as an academic referee).  Please note:

  • We shall seek references during the application process.
  • We would ask that you alert your referees to this application as soon as possible so that we can quickly obtain references.  If you do not wish (some or all) of your referees to be approached during the recruitment process; you must clearly indicate this to us at the time of your application.
  • References sought for candidates may be made available to the panel during the shortlisting process.
  • We will seek a reference from your current line-manager if we make you an offer of employment (albeit you may have also nominated your line manager as an academic referee).  Please clearly indicate on the application form which referee is your current line-manager and indicate if we should only approach them once an offer has been made.

We will notify you on the status of your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system.  Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails.

When appointing to this role the University must ensure that it meets any applicable immigration requirements, including salary thresholds which are applicable to some visas.

Person Specification

It is essential that in your written application you give evidence that you meet the selection criteria.  



  • A strong undergraduate degree

Special Knowledge

  • Understanding of cultural, political and social aspects of contemporary France
  • Knowledge of communicative and student-centred language teaching methods

Skills & Competencies

  • Native or near-native proficiency in spoken and written English
  • Native or near-native proficiency in spoken and written French
  • Ability to communicate clearly, precisely and effectively in written and oral forms
  • Ability to work as a member of a team that delivers a range of language courses
  • Willingness to engage with and contribute to activity in a professional and collegial manner



  • A postgraduate qualification in teaching French as a foreign language


  • Experience of teaching French as a foreign language
  • Experience of teaching French culture

Special Knowledge

  • Knowledge of recent developments in Language Learning and Teaching
  • Knowledge of UK secondary and tertiary education systems
  • Knowledge of Blackboard or equivalent virtual learning environments

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.