An advocator of diversity combines adult education and theatre

Tue 05 Mar 2013 12:26:00 PM EET

GENERATION NEXT. Serbian adult educator Maja Maksimovic lives up to her ideals on and off duty. The article series introduces four young European colleagues.

Maja Maksimovic works in the University of Belgrade as a Teaching Assistant. She is simultaneously studying for a doctoral degree at the Department of Pedagogy and Andragogy.

"In my work I get inspired of my colleagues that I work with - discussing and working together is fruitful. I enjoy reading and writing about different topics in adult education as well as designing study programmes and workshops. It is important for me that I have a possibility to change the social environment through my work.

The most annoying features of my work are strong power relations that are present in every education field. Adult educators often neglect how they shape identities of the participants and give too much space for the economic paradigm. Today we focus on skills believing that it is a right way to help people. We are too much involved in the political discourse of the European Union and forget about development and freedom of non-formal adult education.

The mission of non-formal adult education is not to have any particular mission. I believe that we should not have the mission of non-formal adult education. Instead, the biggest benefit of non-formal adult education is its openness to differences. I believe we should have as many missions as possible. The question is always: Who defines a mission? Therefore, I believe it is better not to have just one.

I became an adult educator because I want to work with people. I first studied Andragogy at the University of Belgrade, after which I continued my studies in the United Kingdom. I graduated as a Master of Counseling in the University of Nottingham.

I also have experience with theatre and it has strongly shaped my approach to learning and way of thinking. I am engaged in the psychodrama education for instance. Creativity, freedom and improvisation are important aspects in both theatre and learning. Through theatre practice I have understood the importance of the process over the results. We miss that in education; we should forget about outcomes for a while and trust what is already there.

In ten years I will be everywhere: Writing, teaching at the Faculty of Philosophy, doing various workshops, working as a psychodramatist, changing the world, travelling and playing in a theatre, hopefully.

In my life the most important things are freedom, dance, inspiration, and people of course. But I do not know say why!

I would like to educate everyone, because we all need learning. But I think it is more important to ask what kind of education we need and who decides that. In my opinion education should not be standardized but we should embrace the diversity."

Text: Aura Vuorenrinne

Maja Maksimovic took part to EAEA´s first Younger Staff Training in 2011.