This interview with Marija Jović, a teacher in Serbia and a runner-up in the recent Project Competition, was originally conducted by Anica Đokić of the Elementary School “Sonja Marinkovic” Novi Sad and posted on the “Sveti Sava” school’s English blog, Svetisavabadnjevac.
Over 700 hundred projects were submitted to the International Project Competition organised by Oxford University Press. The topic was “Communication” and the participating teachers and their students had to create a paper project about this phenomenon. We will hear more about the competition from our colleague, Marija Jović, whose work was chosen among the six best of all 700!
Q: How did you learn about the competition and how did you decide to participate?
The magic word is surfing. I often use the Internet, Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. I also google because I am curious and always willing to learn. I don’t even remember how I came across this competition but I do remember I was determined to give it a try. Except being curious, I am also very competitive. However, I am often not motivated by the prizes, but by the process of reaching the goal, by participating with other colleagues from all over the world and most important by including my students into something new and challenging.
Q: What was your students’ opinion about it and how motivated were all of you to create and submit a project?
I am very proud of my students, especially of those who are willing to participate in different projects. They write, draw, act and even dance if that is necessary for our English lessons. So when I asked them to pose for this project, they were more than interested – they were flattered. Of course, they liked the prizes too and I promised to grant some extra marks for their effort only, regardless of the competition result.
Q: Could you tell us more about the process of making your project?
We started with sharing ideas and then we talked about different means of communication. Later on we produced a draft, took photos and printed them out (I asked for their parents’ permission for publishing photos). The message on the poster came naturally, by itself, as we had arranged the photos.
Q: What were your expectations?
First of all we expected to have good fun and we actually did have it. Then we prayed for our poster to arrive safely, because it had been sent by snail mail. And then of course, we were excited to see the results and to hear the judges’ opinion. We also wanted to keep the poster for the memory, so we made two almost identical posters. The second one is in their classroom.
Q: We can see the video in which Tom Hutchinson announces the winners, and also explains why each was chosen. What were the feelings like as you watched the winners video?
When I saw the video I was over the moon! The day before I had told my students we were in top 28 and they were so happy and excited. When I told them about the final result they were over the moon, too. They were very proud especially because someone far away in England recognised their ideas and enthusiasm. Now they are even more motivated and they are looking forward to new challenges.
Marija Jović has been teaching in a primary school “Sveti Sava” in Badnjavac for over 6 years. She has also held a workshop in Jagodina during the 2nd International Conference: CLIL in Teaching Young Learners and a workshop in BC Challenges of Teaching Gifted Students – Challenging But Fun. Apart from teaching, she successfully participates in running different educational Facebook groups, teachers’ forums and websites. Being techy, Marija uses many different technologies and likes browsing in search for useful ideas for her lessons.