Maja Maksimović is Assistant Professor at the Department of Pedagogy and Andragogy at University of Belgrade.

“I want education that is exciting and fun”

Meet the board: Maja Maksimović believes that learning pathways should leave room for unpredictability, intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm.

10.02.2022

Elm editorial board plays an important role in developing the journalistic content and strategy of the media.

The editorial board consists of six adult education experts & academics from different parts of the world. In this interview series we get to meet them.

It seems that seriousness is still perceived as inherently important in the learning processes.

Maja Maksimović is Assistant Professor at the Department of Pedagogy and Andragogy at University of Belgrade. She is a member of ESREA (European Society for Research of the Education of Adults) steering committee and a co-convener of the ESREA Active Democratic Citizenship and Adult Learning network.

What about adult education is particularly interesting to you?

I am interested in unrestrained learning that is associated with collective action. I don’t think learning should be reduced only to cognition, but it also includes senses and reflection, discovery, creation, challenge and risk.

Perhaps right now, after the death of bell hooks, it is time to say that I want education that is exciting and fun. It seems that seriousness is still perceived as inherently important in the learning processes.

To generate this excitement, I think it is crucial to open up the curriculum and allow different topics, content and thoughts to emerge from a specific learning situation. Unpredictability in a learning path gives room for the expression of intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm.

What would you like to change in the world through your work?

I do not intend to change the world through my work.

Anyhow, I think that the modernist project that aims to bring liberation to the world as a whole is dead, and we are eagerly trying to reanimate it. I am more interested in small human stories than in big narratives, creation of intimate spaces and micro projects, slowness and tenderness of change.

Why do you want to be a part of the Elm editorial board?

I am learning from the other members of the board.

Being an academic myself, it is challenging to produce a text accessible to the general public, but I find this particularly valuable. Editors of the magazine help me a lot in learning how to do it.

Describe a recent learning experience?

I have been learning to dance tango since last October and the experience is mind-blowing. I have learned a lot of about what it means to be in connection with another person and to follow, but also about being frustrated when the body has its own timing.

So, now I am trying to befriend time.

I also discovered that I am often in a hurry, which provoked me to investigate the narratives of time and my approach to it. We have a very westernized chronometrical approach to time; we use it as a resource and feel we are in constant fight with it.

We could, however, also comprehend time as an ontological force. I see this standpoint relevant for adult learning – time is more of a friend than an enemy. So, now I am trying to befriend time.