Ignatian Pedagogy

This 1993 document grows out of the tenth part of The Characteristics of Jesuit Education in response to many requests for help in formulating a practical pedagogy, which is consistent with, and effective in communicating the Ignatian worldview and values presented in the Characteristics document. It is essential, therefore, that what is said here be understood in conjunction with the substantive Ignatian spirit and apostolic thrust presented in The Characteristics of Jesuit Education.

There are five main components in this paradigm, which are explained below. The central part of the paradigm is the experience, reflection and action components. These three always take place in a context and conclude with some type of evaluation, the other two components of the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm.

  • Context refers to the entire context in which Jesuit education occurs. Particular emphasis is given to the context of the student and the various elements, which affect that context from the political situation within a country to the individual’s strengths and limitations. Ignatian education always begins with this understanding of context because it is the starting point, which Ignatius insists on for the making of the Spiritual Exercises. The Spiritual Exercises are always adapted to the characteristics of the individual making them.
  • Experience is the second element of the paradigm. Experience means all that the student brings to learning by way of experience and lack of experience. The teacher helps the student comprehend folly and understand completely what it is he already knows as well as assisting in broadening his experience. Experience not only includes facts but also the feelings, values, etc., associated with the facts and the higher level thinking skills of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
  • Reflection is the third element in the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm. Through reflection the student comes to better comprehend and understand his experience and its implications in his life. Reflection is the pivotal point in this paradigm to help the student move from experience to action. Reflection in the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm always calls for some kind of action. Reflection frequently is lacking in the educational process, yet its importance is regularly stressed in general educational circles today.
  • Action is the fourth component in the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm. Action means that as a result of reflecting on an experience the student is moved to some type of action. That action may be different given the particular content and elements within it, but the implicit idea is that action is always a step toward greater service of others based on the love of God. These actions may be quite small and not immediately lead to radical transformation, but they contribute to the process. It is important to note that, while these three central elements of the paradigm are analysed separately for discussion, they can be working simultaneously. Ignatian Pedagogy comments upon this:The continual interplay, then, of EXPERIENCE, REFLECTION and ACTION in the teaching-learning dynamic of the classroom lies at the heart of Ignatian pedagogy. It is our way of proceeding in Jesuit schools as we accompany the learner on his or her journey of becoming a fully human person.
  • Evaluation is the fifth component in the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm. Evaluation refers not only to academic evaluation but also to fuller types of evaluation where the student and teacher reflect upon the broader spectrum of personal growth and commitments. The Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm stresses that the evaluation includes some type of systematic analysis of how a student is growing in becoming a “person for others”.

For more on this visit: http://www.staloysius.nsw.edu.au/jesuits/forward.htm