Ana Jovanović works as an assistant professor at the Department of Hispanic Studies at the School of Philology and Arts, University of Kragujevac. After graduating at the School of Philology in Belgrade, she completed her master and doctoral studies at Purdue University, USA, and returned to Serbia. In her professional life, Ana tries to connect her two passions – teaching and researching and, frequently, the border between the two gets blurred. Her immediate interests are in the field of educational linguistics with the particular focus on individual differences in language learning, teacher education, teacher and student attitudes and ideologies. An important research topic is Serbian as heritage language: language acquisition and maintenance and teaching Serbian as heritage language. She believes that there is a strong link between language and a person’s identity.
Why do we learn foreign languages and how do we learn them in the formal educational context? Do you still remember verbal paradigms and exceptions that we used to cram for exams and did you wonder, while in school, about their purpose? Do you believe it is possible to learn languages in school? And what does it mean to know a language after all?
Language is not a subject of study; language use is present in everyday life. Foreign language classrooms, then, cannot be conceived as hermetically protected areas separated from the outer space and with teachers bringing sterilized dictionaries and grammar books for students to dissect and study. Instead, classroom is a space where living people work, think, feel, make mistakes, and learn. It is inseparable from reality because communication makes part of a great deal of our daily activities. Language is learned when it is used – in and out of the classroom.