On Sunday, June 23rd, in the premises of Devana Labs the first conference of the Best Educators of Serbia was held under the title of “U susret kvalitetnom i inovativnom obrazovanju“ [Meeting a high-quality and innovative education“]
The project “The Best Educators of Serbia“ has been implemented for six years in a row. It is a great honour to work with the best teachers of our country. They are the bearers of the title of the best, they are our team with which we work during the whole year. They are often the inspiration for new projects, activities, they are our professional family, the people who advise and direct us and, before all, they share their knowledge with us unselfishly. Just for this reason we wanted to gather them once again and to work, learn and grow together. All people who follow our work know that we gather this team of brilliant people each year at the award presentation ceremony for every new generation of the Best Educators of Serbia but we wanted to gather together at least once a year. This is why we have decided to organize the First Conference of the Best Educators of Serbia.
What is a specific feature of this conference is that we have organized it in cooperation with the Best. We listened to their suggestions, wishes, ideas and this resulted in a great gathering in June this year. Although it was the end of the school year and we were aware that a large number of our educators had a lot of work, it was a great honour to see a vast majority of those brilliant people in Belgrade. This has shown that the project grows year by year with the best team in Serbia!
At the very beginning of the gathering Ivona Jovanović, the coordinator of the Associations, addressed the attendees. She greeted all the present and showed her pleasure because the best teachers from Serbia gathered together so as to spend some time with one another and learn from one another.
After Ivona, Tatjana Marković Topalović, the awarded physics teacher in the first year of the implementation of this project, addressed the attendees. Tatjana recollected the beginnings of this project, with the following words: “Today there are 69 of us and we, veterans, recall how it looked like in 2014 when there were only 16 of us. We looked and stared timidly and suspiciously, asking ourselves how we happened to be there. Who discovered us? Is it possible that someone has noticed our work? And that, to cap it all, he decided to award us. We knew that no one among us had ever worked for an award. To be fair, we have never received any or were acknowledged in a way that this Assocication, which bears the name of one of the greatest army strategists, awarded us.
We believe that we asked ourselves then, and now as well, from where this parallel Universe appeared “in which there is a kingdom where fellowship rules, where there is joy everywhere...“ Three years ago we organized the gathering of the Best Educators of Serbia for the first time and understood both our difference and strength in networking and sharing new ideas. At that time there were no more than a half of us today but we managed to lay down the guidelines to something which is now happening in Belgrade and practically it is the First Conference of the Best Educators of Serbia under the sponsorship of the Association “Živojin Mišić“, which will bring big benefit to all of us in the forthcoming period, according to many estimates.
After her introductory words, Nikoleta Rakočević, the founder of the school “Queen Victoria Education & Translation”, the coach for teachers, expert in teaching methodology and simultaneous interpreter, opened a panel discussion in which Vigor Majić, the director of the Petnica Research Station and our longtime fellow worker, Stevan Jokić, the counsellor in science at the Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences and Ivana Kovačević, awarded in our project in 2018.
We dealt with the issues of our educational system, what can be improved and how in our educational system, how much technology is used in our schools and if it helps as a tool in acquiring teaching units, how to motivate students to study today.
Stevan Jokić pointed out that everything changes nowadays at incredible speed and that only the teacher who follows the changes is a good teacher. If children change, we must change as well, especially at universities which are, at this moment, the most conservative institutions as Stevan Jokić puts it.
Ivana Kovačević also agrees with this opinion. She states that independent professional development is one of the best ways to grow professionally. Since teachers are those who educate our children, they first should have a wish and will to make progress and look for the ways of taking a step forward even when it is not prescribed by the curriculum.
When it comes to the challenges of today’s education, as one of the biggest challenges Vigor Majić sees a challenge of the linking of school subjects and the fact that each subject is learnt separately, which is not applicable in reality where we need comprehensive knowledge.
After the panel discussion, Ranko Rajović, the author of the NTC programme, the winner of the award of the world Mensa for the development of society as a whole and the lecturer at the the Faculty of Pedagogy Kopru, talked to the Best Educators of Serbia about “Can learning be play?”. He talked about how much early stimulation is important for the development of intelligence, how much functional learning is important and not rote one and about how the brain develops during movement.
After the panel discussion and lecture of Rajko Rajović, the best learnt from the best! The workshops of the Best Educators of Serbia were held for their colleagues, in two sessions. One was “The Use of Technology in Teaching” and the other was “The Development of Critical Thinking and Learning Styles in the 21st century”. Once again we thank Milica Andnović, Branislava Živanović, Zorica Ivanović, Vera Isailović, Nada Stojičević, Dragan Kuveljić, Ivana Krulj, Marinko Petković, Mladen Šljivović, Suzana Miljković and Aleksandra Sekulić for the workshops which they had prepared and run for their colleagues, which are accredited in ZUOV.
We would like to express our gratitude again to all attendees, their active participation and spread of positive energy. We believe that we have shifted both this project and the Association and our knowledge to a higher level. As it happens every time, it is a great honour to have worked with you, the Best Educators of Serbia, who bring hope for a better tomorrow!
We will meet soon again!
The Team of the Association!