Student Spotlight: Miles Meijer

Student Spotlight: Miles Meijer

By Miles Meijer

 What makes you want to be a teacher or involved in education?

I specifically want to be a Spanish teacher because I believe that learning a language is one of the most powerful experiences someone can have. Learning a language means that not only are you learning new vocabulary and new grammar, but you're learning about new cultures, new histories, and new people. Language learning is humbling and empowering, frustrating and rewarding, challenging and fun! It allows you to communicate in the most intimate way possible with others - in their own language - and allows you to explore various parts of your identity along the way. It opens the door to new literature, new music, new media, and new ideas. Maybe I'm too idealistic in saying this, but I believe that language learning is a central foundation for building a future that is more empathetic, more understanding, and more equitable.

Why did you choose Northwestern University’s MSEd Program?

I chose Northwestern because I wanted to learn how to be a great teacher, but also to engage with research and learn about the field of education more broadly. I think the program does a great job of making sure that we are learning skills to help us have an impact in the classroom at the same time it helps us to contextualize the role of teachers as being agents for real societal change in a complex educational landscape. I also chose it because it is a relatively small program, which means I get to really know my classmates, the program coordinators, and the professors.

What were you doing prior to starting at Northwestern?

Before Northwestern, I was working in higher education! I worked in the Residence Life central office at Boston University for almost two years.

Are you involved in any extracurricular activities outside of Northwestern?

I work as a grad assistant in Residence Life here at Northwestern, supporting a Faculty-in-Residence to provide meaningful and fun programs for undergraduate students living on campus. I'm also a huge soccer fan, so you can usually find me watching a game or two (or three...) over the weekend. I'm new to the Chicagoland area, so I also like getting out and exploring the city and the community here in Evanston.

Tell us a little bit about your Master’s Project if you are at this stage in your MSEd courses. What are you planning to research and/or what are you interested to learn more about and explore?

It sometimes feels like language teachers have to choose between exposing students to meaningful input in the target language and building deep relationships with students, especially at novice (beginner) levels. In those classes, students are at the beginning of their language-learning journey and so they don't yet have the tools to engage in relationship-building and feeling connected to the subject matter in the same ways they might in their native language. While I haven't nailed down an exact research focus, I want to continue exploring how language teachers can use lots of input, that is, staying in the target language, while still creating classrooms in which students can express their identity and feel connected to the material.

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Master of Science in Education School of Education & Social Policy

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