Dr Jennifer French BA, MPhil, PhD, FHEA

Lecturer in Palaeolithic Archaeology Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology


I co-ordinate and teach on a range of Evolutionary Anthropology modules within ACE, at all programme levels. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and hold a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice.

My approach to teaching is driven by my disciplinary perspective as a Palaeolithic archaeologist, and the challenges faced by both practitioners and students of this field. In Palaeolithic Archaeology, we ask big questions about what it means to be human and about the long-term trajectories of human biological and cultural evolution, engaging with an extraordinarily fragmentary but increasingly inter-disciplinary evidence base in the process. In the classroom, my mission is to help students learn to navigate this (often entirely unfamiliar) evidence base and to develop the strong analytical and imaginative skills required to study the earliest period of prehistory-a period that offers students an unparalleled glimpse into the diversity of past human experiences and that can radically alter their way of viewing the world.

To me, good teaching results from the interaction of student(s), teacher and disciplinary knowledge and requires me to use my expertise to design good curricula and class sessions to find the best ways to make this knowledge accessible to students. Class content is research-led, allowing students to gain familiarity with how knowledge is created and critiqued in Palaeolithic Archaeology. This research-led teaching links in with my wider pedagogical belief that students and teachers are collaborators in the classroom, and that part of teaching is creating conditions in which students can realise their potential to learn. I aim to teach with compassion and make my classroom an environment that is both challenging on the one hand and inclusive and encouraging on the other. I place a particular emphasis on integrating traditional 'study skills' into the teaching of content and employing a range of different learning methods within each class session. These practices all underpin my ultimate teaching goal: that in my classroom, students learn not just 'about' archaeology, but how to 'do' archaeology, and how to 'think' like an archaeologist.

Modules for 2023-24