Jean-Pol Martin is a prominent French-German educational theorist and practitioner best known for developing the Learning by Teaching (Lernen durch Lehren or LdL) method. His career trajectory and accomplishments showcase a dedicated effort towards improving educational practices, especially in the area of foreign language teaching.
Born in Paris in 1943, Martin pursued his initial education in France, completing his undergraduate studies at Paris Nanterre University in 1969. He then moved to Germany, where he studied German and Romance languages at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg between 1969 and 1975.
After finishing his studies, he began his teaching career as a trainee teacher in French language at Albrecht Dürer Gymnasium in Nürnberg. Subsequently, he taught French and German at Gymnasium Höchstadt/Aisch from 1977 to 1980.
In 1980, Martin started working at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, where he was responsible for training French teachers. During this period, he also pursued advanced studies in language acquisition and pedagogy at Justus Liebig University Giessen, earning his Ph.D. in 1985. His Ph.D. thesis was on „Didactics of the French Language and Literature.“
After his Habilitation in 1994, Martin was appointed Privatdozent at the Catholic University of Eichstätt, and six years later, in 2000, he was appointed Professor.
A key contribution of Martin to the field of education was the establishment of the learning by teaching method (German: Lernen durch Lehren). This innovative pedagogical approach, where students learn by teaching their peers, became widely adopted in German secondary education. By the 1990s, this method had been formalized further and began to be used in universities. It also spread to other disciplines and countries, indicating its wide applicability and effectiveness.
Although Martin retired in 2008, his influence in the field of education continues to be significant. His work on LdL has been continued and developed further by scholars like Joachim Grzega.