NATHAN WILLIAM MEYER

EDUCATION PHILOSOPHY

FOUNDATIONAL PHILOSOPHY: STUDENTS AT THE CENTER
A student-centered classroom is a dynamic place where ideas and skills evolve through discussion, feedback, revision, and constant collaboration.  It’s a meeting point where knowledge is exchanged and worldviews expand, notions tested, and complexity welcomed.  There, I see my role as an educational coach designing lessons that question easy answers while building critical skills so students can masterfully express themselves as three-dimensional thinkers across multiple genres and audiences.  And, like all coaches, I can only measure my success as an instructor by the development of my students.

COLLABORATIVE  LEARNING

Teamwork is applied to activities, projects, and workshops to promote skill sharing and metacognition. 

CRITICAL THINKING LABORATORIES

A critical thinking skillset is essential for students and my courses engage with current world issues in academia and mainstream media.  Classes examine arguments with applied knowledge of rhetorical appeals, logical fallacies, bias, omission, and evidence evaluation to identify mechanics of persuasion in political, social, and commercial materials. Analytic strategies are reinforced through activities including discussions, presentations, debates, and writing projects.  This way students can raise their voices in global conversations and not be swayed by manipulative messaging.

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PEER-TO-PEER TEACHING

Flipped classroom models empower a culture of educational ownership where students grow as peer teachers with real instructional responsibilities.

TECHNOLOGY-ENRICHED INSTRUCTION

Tech literacy is essential to contemporary education and students are encouraged to utilize smart devices and available classroom tech for workshops, peer teaching, discussions, and other collaborative learning activities.  We use these tools in and out of the classroom to source online content, verify credibility, explore or challenge our ideas, and approach learning objectives from multiple perspectives.  Students learn to use tech to support multimedia presentations, debates, and other communication activities vital to their future academic and professional success.

DIVERSITY, INCLUSION, TOLERANCE, COMMUNICATION 
These are more than guiding educational principles, they are defining aspirations of our global academic community and must be reflected within the classroom.  Having taught throughout North America, Eastern Europe, and Asia I understand the influence of culture and history in the classroom, but also that everyone carries unique life experiences making it imperative to listen and let each student define her/himself.  As an educator and mentor I am committed to promoting every voice because all voices matter; it is the right thing to do.

ALL VOICES MATTER

Fostering communication and respect across gender, cultural, national, and other identities.

SHARING

Understanding all students have individual strengths, challenges, and contributions.

MENTORING

Guiding students to academic and professional opportunities both local and international.

BUILDING BRIDGES, CROSSING DIVIDES
As an English educator, my purpose is to help people communicate across cultures and this extends beyond the classroom.  In the Balkans I built an EFL NGO promoting post-conflict dialogue through creative writing and led international exchanges between Serbia, Kosovo, and Bosnia.  In Moldova I recruited a citizen diplomacy team of Fulbright scholars to travel the country building ties between Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, and Roma ethnic groups.  The global role of English offers unprecedented abilities for cross-cultural communication bridging generational conflicts and current misunderstandings; it is an opportunity educators should welcome with respect, sensitivity, and hope.     

PEDAGOGICAL APPROACH
A compelling teaching philosophy is vital, but translating it to diverse learning environments requires an instructional toolkit enabling teachers to rise with new challenges.  As an instructor, curriculum developer, and teacher trainer I have developed a fascination for different pedagogies and design my courses using these approaches:

  

  • Backwards course design

  • Spiral learning

  • Content and language integrated learning

  • Sports pedagogy

 

Using these concepts to roadmap the course, I craft skill-building assignments as progressive mile markers guiding towards our learning objective.  Depending on subject matter and student ability, my class meetings are designed around:  

  • Flipped classroom instruction

  • Guided discussions with Socratic questioning 

  • Debates and discussion panels

  • Peer-to-peer teaching

  • Skill-building workshops

  • Multimedia lectures

 

While these approaches are successful, I always look for new techniques and incorporate best practices from fields as diverse as creative writing, psychology, and sports. This intersectional approach invigorates my instruction with new perspectives and has been invaluable in my teaching journey.