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Vasanti Piette

Assistant Professor (Teaching)

Assistant Professor (Teaching) in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures+44 (0) 191 33 44671


I am curently working on a book project (Taylor&Francis) which will offer carefully crafted ‘simulations’ to develop advanced speaking functions whilst anchoring the debate in intellectual relevance and cultural awareness.

My main area of scholarship focuses on communicative methods of language teaching, enhancing student engagement and student experience.

I was awarded Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in 2015 in recognition of attainment against the UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and learning support in Higher Education.

I have worked in the School of Modern Languages since 1999 (initially part-time and then full-time from 2004) teaching in the French Core Language module at all undergraduate levels. 

I came to Durham University in 1991 as a French Lectrice, after completing a 'Licence' in Anglophone Literature and English language (B.A.) at Université Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand (FRANCE). I went on to do a PGCE Modern Languages at Durham University, after which I taught for one year at Durham High School for girls.

I then spent several years bringing up our three children until they all reached full-time schooling. During that time, I worked as a freelance translator for the Department of Social Security – Newcastle and as a part-time French teacher at New College Durham, teaching French for Professional Use as well as Diploma and Intermediate Diploma in French (Institute of Linguists).

My main duties include the recruitment and mentoring of French Foreign Language Assistants and outreach work in local schools.

Academic and administrative roles

Teaching and module convening

  • French Language 2 (FREN2051) Teaching and module convenorship
  • French Language 4 (FREN3041) Teaching and convenorship for the oral strand

Other academic roles

  • DELF/DALF examiner
  • Academic Advisor
  • TLRP supervisor (Target Language Research Project) for Year Abroad students

Administrative roles

  • Athena Swan Team
  • Admissions Tutor for the School of Modern Languages
  • Outreach officer with local schools
  • Supervisor and mentor for Language Assistants
  • Recruitment of incoming/outgoing language assistants to/from our French partner universities (Limoges and Clermont)
Scholarship Interests
  • Communicative methods of teaching and learning languages
  • Enhancing student engagement 
  • Assessment and Feedback
  • Enhancing student experience
  • Student support

Research interests

  • Challenges faced by the French educational system
  • Cultural, social and economic challenges of French/francophone television
  • French religious landscape and practices