Professor Smiljka Stojanovic holds a PhD in linguistics from Belgrade University. For the past 35 years she has been teaching EFL at primary, secondary and tertiary level in Serbia. She was a lecturer at Belgrade University. She currently teaches ELT Methodology to undergraduate and graduate students at the University Mediterranean Podgorica, Montenegro. She is particularly interested in pre-service and in-service teacher education and development, humanistic approaches to learning and applied linguistics.

Professor Smiljka Stojanovic is one of those professors that almost all her ex-students refer to as a huge influence on their careers. She was my ESL Methodology professor at university and one of the most inspiring teachers I’ve ever had. Observers of my classes and the classes of my colleagues used to ask us –“Who is that Methodology
professor you had and you keep referring to? We've never been to a bad English class at our school!”

Like many other English language and literature graduates we keep mentioning Professor Smiljka Stojanovic as our role model for good teaching practice and someone who taught us all the possible basics to do with teaching. She is the type of teacher who perfectly “does what she preaches“.

I met Professor Smiljka Stojanovic at the last ELTA conference – she is still approachable, straightforward, tolerant and very supportive. My colleagues proposed to me to do an interview with her.

How did you choose English at the very beginning of your studies?

  • I liked English films on World War II and wanted to get to know more about the heroes of my imagination.

What did you specialize in your postgraduate studies?

  • In English and Serbian syntax as well as in Semantics

Who was your favorite teacher and in what way did he or she influence you?

  • It was Naum Dimitrijevic who taught Methodology. He introduced the air of freedom into our classroom and showed us that teaching is important.

What subjects did you teach at Belgrade University and which one did you enjoy the most?

  • It was Grammar, Writing, Methodology, Applied linguistics, Teaching English to Children, Drama. I enjoyed all of them, but I think that the most useful for the future teachers was Drama where the students learned both how to use drama in language teaching and talked in English without inhibition while doing something else. They made their own plays and were creative.

Have you ever had problems because of your untypical teaching style?

  • Yes, of course. At primary school, high school and University where I used to teach. The administration liked conventions and did not want to take a risk with some portions of freedom.

Where do you teach now and how does that feel?

  • I teach at the University of Mediteran in Podgorica and Bijelo Polje. I feel great as I can see that no matter where you teach, ELT methodology works.

How important is it to be a member of a national Teachers’ association in your opinion?

  • It is important if you want to contribute more to the development of ELT in your country. Otherwise, you feel lonely and isolated. You become exhausted from fighting and you easily slip into a routine.

What books would you recommend as “must-reads” for every English teacher?

  • Carl Rogers, A Way of Being , Jim Scrivener, Learning Teaching , Gertrude Moscowitz, Caring and Sharing in the Foreign Language Class , Alan Maley and Alan Duff, Drama Techniques in Language Learning , John Morgan and Mario Rinvolucri, Once Upon a Time.

Despite being your ex-students , being aware what good teaching means and willing to improve continuously, teachers in primary and secondary schools aren’t satisfied with our education system (not enough lessons per week and big classes being the biggest problems) – what is your advice for them?

  • The institutions should organize courses on how to deal with large classes and other problems and stimulate teachers. Unfortunately, in the past there were only great pretenders in administration and few enthusiasts that gave up.

What is your ultimate advice for being a good teacher?

To try to believe in the two sentences from the timeless classic To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

1) “.You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.

(2) “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It`s when you know you`re licked before you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.”

Thank you very much, professor Smiljka ! Could you just share one more thing with us - your favorite English word/words?

Thank You. It`s SHARING.


Milica Vojvodić is an enthusiastic English teacher. She has been teaching kids and teenagers for 14 years. She likes sharing her passions with her students, especially her passion for Roald Dahl children’s books. She represented ELTA at 2018 Slovenia conference. Milica has two kids.


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