I love to Teach!

I completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)  at the University of Oxford. Subsequently, I started my professional life as a teacher of English to 13-18 year olds and proceeded to train teachers at DMU’s erstwhile Bedford Campus, co-editing Learning to Teach English in the Secondary School (1999, repr. 2003, 2006, 2009) that is still a staple text on teacher education programmes. Hence, reflective teaching is an enthusiasm I brought to Higher Education.


I I have taught undergraduate courses on all the genres, poetry, the novel, and drama. I initiated specialist modules on Shakespeare and Women's Writing. Latterly, I shaped, led and taught these research-led courses:


  •  C20/21 literature: a second-year module that spawned many dissertations in twentieth-century and contemporary writing, particularly in my specialist areas of women’s and postcolonial literatures.
  • Contemporary Poetry: this was a very popular module that tied in with the annual cultural eXchanges festival. The innovative assignment consistently received praise from external examiners, was taken as an example of good practice by DMU Quality, and was used in the HE education programme.
  • Postcolonial Writing: this module recruited many students, some of whom continued their research to postgraduate level. 


The Vice Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award

This award is based on students' votes. I received it in its inaugural year, and was nominated for it in each subsequent year.

STOP PRESS: 2019 nomination has just come in: 


'Jane supported me in my transition from language to literature last year by showing me how to construct an essay. she was on the end of an email or telephone constantly and boosted my grade from a 2:2 to a first. she gave me a love of modernism and 20/21st literature, particularly Ali Smith. she allowed me to find my own way through the reading material but gave me feedback to ensure I was heading in the right direction. Jane is an amazing teacher. she is thorough, caring and so intelligent, patient and kind. If it wasn't for Jane, I don't think the second year would have been as fun for me. I fully believe she deserves a huge award!!'


What my students said about me


  • "Jane Dowson is an exemplary member of staff at DMU. I have known her since my second year and she eventually became my dissertation tutor, as well as teaching me for two other modules in the third year. She has been brilliant, in her teaching she is always engaging and on-the-ball and she always has resources and information prepared for students. She is willing to answer questions and allows students to express their ideas with confidence. Along with this, as my dissertation tutor, she has been constantly dependable for me. She has helped me to identify my weaknesses and improve upon them and whenever I have gone to see her, even outside of her office hours, she has been there to talk and discuss ideas. She has also helped me get advice and guidance on more personal problems and has always been willing to lend an ear when I've needed advice or guidance. Overall, Jane Dowson has made the biggest difference to my time at DMU in many different ways."
  • "The teaching of this member of staff has helped me to develop my own thinking in regards to the subject area … I felt that I could communicate with her whenever I needed to and felt very confident with my assignments as she had assisted us very well. Moreover, she has inspired me to delve deeper into the theories and discourses that were introduced in her lessons."
  •  "Jane's Post-colonial Writing module this year was fantastic, really inspiring and opened me up to a whole other genre of literature. I am now doing my dissertation on Identity in Contemporary Black Women's Poetry and she has been extremely supportive and helpful with this. She provides detailed reading material in class, encourages class debates, checks and replies to emails promptly and gives out biscuits at Christmas. Overall she is a fab tutor."
  • ‘I would like to say thank you for your support in both modules especially Contemporary Poetry I was very surprised to see what good mark I got, as poetry had never been my strong point - but it ended up my strongest! …. I am now studying at Bath University doing a PGCE Secondary English at M-Level with the intention of carrying those credits gained into a full Masters of Education … I am actually using one of the books you edited ‘Learning to Teach English in the Secondary School’ and the content is helping me a lot. …I am so glad I feel comfortable with poetry!’ 
  • ‘Thank you so much for all the support you have given me in the last year of my degree, your encouragement and understanding has been invaluable to me and it will never be forgotten.’  
  • 'Your First is the first First I had! I would never have achieved such a grade without your guidance, patience, support and amazing teaching! This has been my favourite subject this year, and the fact that you care so much has made it amazing! Thank you for giving me a love of literature and sharing your passion with us all. I'll miss your classes!' (JL, 2018)
  • Thank you so much for your help... honestly, I hae appreciated all the help you have given me over the years from helping with my personal statement to get into uni and my dissertation to finish my degree. I am over the moon with my result!' (2020)
  • I am writing to properly thank you and express my gratitude to you for being my referee last year when I was applying to do an MA ... it was one of the most fulfilling things I've ever done.' (August 2020)



Postgraduate Teaching and Supervision

I have brought to successful completion several PhD candidates who include:

  • Dr Damir Arsenijevic, whose work on translating, collating and publishing poetry of Bosnia and Herzogovinia began in my Contemporary Poetry module. He subsequently completed an AHRC-funded Ph.D and taught at universities in Bosnia. I procured him a Leverhulme Early Career fellowship at De Montfort (2013-6).
  • Dr Melanie Petch, who also started work on women poets during the Contemporary Poetry module, then gained a DMU bursary to work on twentieth-century Anglo-American poets. She became Senior Lecturer in Writing Development at DMU then moved to a management role in Learning Resources at the University of Leicester..
  • Laura-Jane Devanny, an AHRC-funded candidate,working on twenty-first century speculative fiction. She led the postgrad CWWA (Contemporary Women's Writing Association).


I have been internal examiner for numerous candidates across the Humanities and externally examined several Ph.D theses at such universities as Glasgow, Warwick, Birmingham, Leicester, and Edge Hill. 


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© Jane Jana