Let your students know about A-SMYLE

An opportunity for your students to live with American host families and attend U.S. high schools – for free:


The competition for scholarships is conducted by American Councils for International Education.

Eligibility Requirements – 2014-2015 Academic Year Program:

  • Proficient in English
  • Currently enrolled in first or second grade
  • Citizen of Republic of Serbia or Republic of Montenegro
  • Meet US J-1 Visa Requirements for high school students
  • Born after January 1, 1997 and before July 15, 1999
  • Have not spent more than 3 months of the past 5 years in the US
  • Demonstrate leadership potential
  • Desire to contribute to community upon return
  • Students with disabilities who were born between March 15, 1996 and July 15, 1999 and who are not in the last year of secondary school are eligible for the competition
  • If an applicant or any other immediate family member has applied at any time to emigrate to the United States or if any other immediate adult family member (whether estranged or not) is a U.S. citizen or green card holder, it may impact negatively on my child’s final selection for the A-SMYLE Program.

More info here and here.

New EFL syllabuses in Serbia on the way

Secondary school teachers should pay attention to three new syllabi for the first grade:

What is new in the syllabuses?

  • The aims finally bring us to the 21st century (I particularly like the fourth one: “Развијање способности за самостално, аутономно учење, тражење, селекцију и синтезу информација до којих се долази самосталним радом и претраживањем изворника различитог типа (писани и електронски извори, самостална истраживања на терену, интервјуи итд.)”);
  • There is an impressive list of quite well-phrased expected outcomes (we can see the link to future achievement standards);
  • In addition to the four skills and mediation, now we have sociocultural competence too (including “учествује у свим видовима модерне комуникације (електронске поруке, смс поруке, дискусије на блогу или форуму, друштвене мреже)”);
  • New topics, such as: consumer society – Потрошачко друштво, labour market – Свет рада (перспективе и образовни системи);, and the EU – Европа и заједнички живот народа.

Source webiste: the National Education Council of the Republic of Serbia:

Министарство је упутило Савету предлог наставног програма за страни језик у гимназији за почетни ниво учења, као и наставне програме за страни језик за 1. разред  гимназије и средњих стручних школа за пету и девету годину учења. Пошто није било примедби,

Национални просветни савет једногласно је усвојио наставни програм за страни језик у гимназији за почетни ниво учења, као инаставне програме за страни језик за 1. разред  гимназије и средњих стручних школа за пету и девету годину учења.

Approved coursebooks for primary schools in Serbia

You can view the official excerpt from the catalogue of approved textbooks for primaryschools in Serbia for the year 2013-2014 here.

Or you can browse this list that was put together based on the official excerpt. So as to be more helpful, the list is grouped per textbook titles, with links to more information about the title or the publisher. Use the filters in this list to select the grade or publisher you are interested in.

If you notice an error, please let us know.

Approved coursebooks for secondary schools in Serbia

You can view the official excerpt from the catalogue of approved textbooks for secondary schools in Serbia for the year 2013-2014 here (general English) and here (ESP).

Or you can browse this list that was put together based on the official excerpt. So as to be more helpful, the list is grouped per textbook titles, with links to more information about the title or the publisher.


If you notice an error, please let us know.

Public hearing on the role of ICT in education in Serbia

There are two ways you could join the public hearing on the advancement/improvement/enhancement/any-other-near-synonym-you-prefer of the role of ICT in education in Serbia:

  • live: attending the public hearing event in Belgrade on 20 June 2013;
  • online: by filling in/out this form.

You can read the draft of the guidelines here. You might want to read the document as it also dwells on cross-curricular competencies, CPD, safety, the digital gap ….

The public hearing is organized by the National Education Council of the Republic of Serbia.


Special Educational Needs Conference: Challenges and solutions

Special Educational Needs Conference: Challenges and solutions, a conference on special educational needs and inclusive classroom, is held in Sava Centre in Belgrade on 7 June 2013. It is organised by the British Council.

The event will be an opportunity to learn from British experience and gain practical insight into relevant regulations, as well as teacher training needs and opportunities. The conference also provides workshops tackling dyslexia, ADHD, general challenges of inclusive learning…

There is no attendance fee. The event shall also be broadcast online.

The conference agenda, as well as some info on the presenters, the plenaries and the workshops can be viewed here.

To register, fill out this form or go to http://bit.ly/118cJDm.

Do a class project and join the Cambridge English exams centenary celebrations!

The end of school year is the perfect time to swing into action and do a project: it is the fun way to revise grammar points and functional exponents, recycle vocabulary, integrate IT and other 21st century skills, and create a tangible memorabilia that your students, their parents or you yourself will cherish.  Student-driven projects usually mean motivated students busy in your classroom, genuinely interested in language and other students’ work.

Class projects are also a great tool for assessment: you can identify not only language areas that need to be worked on, but also what makes your students tick, learn more about their group dynamics – both in class and online, their level of digital literacy. All the data gathered can help a teacher in developing better plans for next year for the particular class.

You might be in for a surprise, a pleasant one: While developing pages for their school diary, a student of mine wrote an apology for his classmate for something that had happened years ago and brought tears in her eyes.  Yes, class projects almost always result in a breakthrough, at some level.


Centenary Competition for Schools 2013

So, if you are already doing a project with your students, why don’t you join the Cambridge English exams worldwide centenary celebrations as one of the Penfriends schools? Or, perhaps, you could get inspired by the range of activities for different ages and language levels provided for the 10 themes to choose from:

  • The world cam
    e to our house today
  • Friends forever
  • How English will improve my future
  • Our class diary
  • Welcome to my home town
  • My street
  • Our class
  • My ideal school
  • Create your own invention
  • Away from home for one year.

Pen Friends

Cambridge English Centenary Competition for Schools 2013 is a worldwide competition open to any school offering compulsory education and teaching English to students between the ages of 5 and 19 years old.

  • Competition deadline: 31 October 2013
  • Register as a Penfriend school, work on a class project (The world came to our house today, Friends forever, How English will improve my future, Our class diary, Welcome to my home town, My street, Our class, My ideal school, Create your own invention, Away from home for one year) and share it with your partner.
  • Only one entry per school.
  • Prizes: The first prize:  educational equipment to the value of £3,000. Two runners-up: educational equipment to the value of £1,000.

Have your voice heard at the 2nd national CPD conference

The Second National Conference on Continuing Professional Development of Teachers of English will be held at Hyatt in Belgrade on 16 March 2013. The event is organised by the British Council.

The conference agenda and invitation letter 

Why attend?

  • To find out about the results of a research on CPD of teachers of English in Serbia;
  • To get acquainted with the CPD framework for teachers of English;
  • To get inspired (or pensive) having heard the testimonies of three teachers about their own CPD;
  • To have a better insight into relevant Serbian CPD regulations;
  • To learn about CPD in Montenegro;
  • To have your say and get the right answers – join in three round-table discussions and shape the future of CPD.

The conference will be attended by representatives of the British Council; the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia, the Institute for the Improvement of Education;  the Provincial Secretariat for Education, Administration, and National Communities; professional associations YALS and ELTA; publishers, and universities.

Public hearing on foreign languages standards

A public hearing on foreign languages standards for secondary education is organized on Monday, 25 February in the premises of the First Belgrade Grammar School (61 Cara Dusana, Belgrade). The event starts at 6:30 pm.  Please attend.

Click here to view the draft of the core/achievement standards for foreign languages


Online learning – the less talked-about other side of the coin

I admit that I am (and will remain) a huge fan of online and blended learning, that I fancy the idea of flipped classrooms. Not for technology’s sake, mind you, but for the vast opportunities it brings for the benefit of learners themselves.  Nevertheless, Lee Fang’s article How Online Learning Companies Bought America’s Schools made me aware that the breakthroughs I would like to see attributed to IT-enhanced learning worldwide were not always quite that pure, open source and openhearted.

Below are some extracts from the article:

From Idaho to Indiana to Florida, recently passed laws will radically reshape the face of education in America, shifting the responsibility of teaching generations of Americans to online education businesses, many of which have poor or nonexistent track records. The rush to privatize education will also turn tens of thousands of students into guinea pigs in a national experiment in virtual learning—a relatively new idea that allows for-profit companies to administer public schools completely online, with no brick-and-mortar classrooms or traditional teachers.

The frenzy to privatize America’s K-12 education system, under the banner of high-tech progress and cost-saving efficiency, speaks to the stunning success of a public relations and lobbying campaign by industry, particularly tech companies.

It was just a year ago that News Corp. announced its intention to enter the for-profit K-12 education industry, which Rupert Murdoch called “a $500 billion sector in the US alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed.”

To be sure, some online programs have potential and are necessary in areas where traditional resources aren’t available. For instance, online AP classes serve rural communities without access to qualified teachers, and there are promising efforts to create programs that adapt to the needs of students with special learning requirements. But by and large, there is no evidence that these technological innovations merit the public resources flowing their way. Indeed, many such programs appear to be failing the students they serve.

And states like Florida are embracing tech-friendly education reform to require that students take online courses to graduate. In Idaho this November, the state board of education approved a controversial plan to require at least two online courses for graduation.

“We think that’s so important because every student, regardless of what they do after high school, they’ll be learning online,” said Tom Vander Ark, a prominent online education advocate, on a recently distributed video urging the adoption of online course requirements. Vander Ark, a former executive director of education at the influential Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, now lobbies all over the country for the online course requirement.

Keep an open mind. Keep going.