Revolution Lullabye

May 18, 2011

The International Commission on the Apostolate of Jesuit Education, Go Forth and Teach: The Characteristics of Jesuit Education

The International Commission on the Apostolate of Jesuit Education, Go Forth and Teach: The Characteristics of Jesuit Education. Originally published in 1986.

This published collection of the essential characteristics of Jesuit education provides Jesuit secondary schools and colleges with a common vision and benchmark to which assess and evaluate their educational objectives. The first Ratio (characteristics of Jesuit education) was published in 1586.

Key question: What is the distinctive nature of Jesuit education? There are 28 characteristics of Jesuit education listed, divided into nine sections, each section preceded by a statement of the Ignatian vision that illuminates that group of characteristics. The tenth section explains Ignatian pedagogy.

Notes and Quotes

Characteristics (of the 28) that seem to illuminate writing pedagogy:

the development of effective communication skills and the cultivation of the affective and creative dimension of human life (5-6)

the role of the individual in a larger community (6)

growth in the responsible use of freedom is necessitated on personal relationships between student and teacher (7) – cura personalis

education is tailored to the individual student’s need (7)

students learn to be self-reflective, independent learners (7)

teachers are encouraged to engage in lifelong education, development, reflection, and growth (8)

students discern values by wrestling with differing points of view and the values that underlie them (8)

education for justice: issues about justice are included in the curriculum, “give counter-witness to the values of the consumer society”, awareness and involvment in the serious issues of today (11)

stress community values and the fact that talents should be cultivated for the good of others (11)

reflection

seek magis  – seek human excellence, promote excellence

ongoing professional training and development (17)

“The curriculum should be so integrated that each individual course contributes to the overall goal of the school….The pedagogy is to include analysis, repetition, active reflection, and synthesis; it should combine theoretical ideas with their applications” (18)

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Boyer, Response

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Boyer, Ernest L. “Response.” In Send Our Roots Rain.

Boyer argues that Kolvenbach’s address at the bicentennial convocation points out the key problems and challenges facing all institutions of higher education, not just Jesuit ones. He explains four themes that he believes are central to preparing students to enter and serve in the modern world: an awareness of the sacredness of language and an ability to be ethical, precise rhetoricians; a need to see the interconnectness of knowledge throughout the curriculum; an understanding that knowledge should be used to serve others and for greater human good; and an acknowledgement that the educated should protect those who are less fortunate.  Boyer argues that Jesuit institutions can give students the larger vision of what it means to be human: to serve others.

Notes and Quotes

“I am convinced that to achieve excellence, the nation’s colleges and schools must reaffirm the centrality of language. The Jesuits’ historic emphasis on rhetoric can lead the way. But in the Jesuit tradition, good communication means not just clarity of expression; it means integrity as well. In the Ignatian tradition language is a sacred act. So excellence in education means preparing students who are not just good writers and good speakers but good people too.” (11)

 

Four themes: the sacredness of language, shaping a curriculum with perspective, directing knowledge to human ends, confronting injustice

Kolvenbach, Rememberance of the Past for the Future

Kolvenbach, Peter-Hans, S.J. “Rememberance of the Past for the Future.” Address of the Bicentennial Convocation of Jesuit Education of the United States. 8 June 1989. In Send Our Roots Rain.

The goal of Jesuit education is not academic excellence alone: the aim of Ignatian pedagogy is to cultivate men and women who act as leaders in their communities, inspired by contemplative thought and working for the greater glory of God and humankind. This goal butts heads with the predominant goal of many American high schoolers and college students: to to think of their education as a time to cultivate their own individual career.

The interdependent forces of today’s globalized world call for a change in the curriculum at Jesuit institutions that introduces students to a variety of cultures, international histories and languages, and rhetoric beyond the written and spoken. Students at Jesuit schools, Kolvenbach argues, need to develop a habit of reflection so they may learn to always reflect on the implications and underlying values of all the information and ways-of-knowing that they are exposed to. Through this contemplative reflection, graduates of Jesuit institutions will be more prepared to go out and work for the service of the poor and underprivileged, using their education for the good of all, not just for the good of themselves.

Notes and Quotes

John Carroll founded the first American Jesuit institution, Georgetown, in 1789. Jesuit secondary schools and colleges followed American expansion

“What we are committed to in Jesuit education is a living tradition.” (7)

“Today it is especially difficult in the first world to see beyond individualism, hedonism, unbelief, and their effects. What we aim at in Jesuit education is therefore counter to many aspects in contemporary culture.” (10)

“A value-oriented educational goal like ours – forming men and women for others – will not be realized unless, infused within our educational programs at every level, we challenge our students to reflect upon the value implications of what they study.” (8)

Costello, Send Our Roots Rain

Costello, Charles P., S.J. “Send Our Roots Rain.” Foundations. Jesuit Secondary Education Association. 1991

New edition of the Preamble to the Constitution of the Jesuit Secondary Education Association (first was in 1971, this is the 20-year anniversary)

The Jesuit Secondary Education Association argues that Jesuit secondary schools need to reinvigorate their claim to a Jesuit identity by investigating what it means to offer a Jesuit education. Ignatian pedagogy, they argue, has a 400-year-old history and is a viable way to prepare students to be active community leaders and discerning thinkers in today’s world. The goal of Jesuit education is not academic excellence exclusively; it is promoting the growth of the Kingdom of God. A Jesuit institution can only prepare students to have an Ignatian worldview if their teachers, both Jesuit and lay, understand the Ignatian pedagogical tradition.

The Association explains some of the features of an Ignatian pedagogy: contemplatio (developing affective experiences of knowing, appreciation of God in nature and in knowledge, cultivating the affect through experiences of community, companionship, and human interaction); detachment (stripping away attachments to previously-held values, assumptions in order to free a person to follow God’s calling); a commitment to social justice; understanding the deep drama and seriousness in our daily decisions; embracing a dialectic of action and understanding; and magis (a thrist for more and a quest for greater good.)

Notes and Quotes

“Men and women inspired by the Ignatian vision are dreamers, utopians. They also hunger and thrist for the dance of life, for that feeling of transcendence by which they break through the limits of ‘merely’ human existence into the joyful life of the Christian. They find their fulfillment in loving and serving others” (5)

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