Jesuits are renowned worldwide for their excellence in education, especially at the secondary and post-secondary level. But what makes a Jesuit education distinctive? What do students at a Jesuit institution learn, and how?
Jesuit education has always had characteristics that distinguishes it from other pedagogical approaches. These characteristics are rooted in the Ratio Studiorum (Latin for "Plan of Studies"), the 1599 document that standardized the worldwide system of Jesuit education. However, modern realities required new articulations and expressions. In 1993, the Society of Jesus published "Ignatian Pedagogy: A Practical Approach," a document that clearly identifies and articulates the Jesuit model of learning and teaching in the contemporary context.
As "Ignatian Pedagogy" emphasizes, Jesuit educations "aim[s] to form leaders in service, in imitation of Christ Jesus, men and women of competence, conscience, and compassionate commitment." In order to enable this formation, Ignatian pedagogy is fundamentally structured on experience, reflection, and action. Through these elements, "teachers . . . accompany their students in order to facilitate learning and growth through encounters with truth and explorations of human meaning."
In its contemporary articulation, the Ignatian pedagogical paradigm consists of five steps:
Understanding the real context of the life, culture, and environment of the student
Providing both cognitive and affective learning opportunities
Deepening understanding of what has been learned and its meaning for oneself and others
Internal and external manifestations of what has been learned
Consideration of subjective and objective measures of growth
These steps are fundamental to the Ignatian way of proceeding in education, in all academic disciplines and even in extra- and co-curricular activities. They shape our vision of a whole person educated for faith and justice and how to enable and support that goal.
- Ignatian Pedagogy: A Practical Approach, 1993 document from the Society of Jesus
- The Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm, collection of online resources from Xavier University's Office of Mission and Identity
- Ignatian Pedagogy, collection of online resources from Georgetown University's Teaching Commons
- "Gifts of Our Ignatian Heritage/Jesuit Education and Ignatian Pedagogy," one-sheet primer from Xavier University's Office of Mission and Identity