Learning leaders and Ignatian coordinators for Jesuit and Companion Schools Australia gathered in Sydney in late February for a workshop on Ignatian pedagogy.
Education Secretary for the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific Fr Johnny Go SJ facilitated the four-day workshop from 23 to 27 February. Fr Go is co-author of ‘Learning by Refraction – A Practitioner’s Guide to 21st Century Ignatian Pedagogy’, which was also the theme of the workshop.
In addition to his JCAP role, Fr Go is currently the Director of the Ateneo de Manila Institute for the Science and Art of Learning and Teaching (SALT), and Global Assistant for Mission and Identity for the Global Network of Jesuit Schools.
Consistent with the original approach of the Jesuits to education, the workshop provided an opportunity to look at the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm (IPP) through the use of 21st century best practices and new ideas.
‘If people were disgruntled with the ‘old’ Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm, Fr Johnny has given it plenty of ideas for renewal’, said one of the participants, Anthony Wentsell of Saint Ignatius’ College Adelaide.
The workshop was interactive and provided much opportunity for participants to develop new ideas and share practices of their own. In addition to Fr Go’s input, St Aloysius’ College Rector Fr Ross Jones SJ also gave a presentation on Wonder and Excellence, and Jesuit Education Australia Executive Officer Jennie Hickey presented on Globalisation and Building Reconciliation.
‘There were many useful elements, but I did find the sessions on reflection and action particularly helpful in terms of providing ways to transform Ignatian learning and teaching for the school’, said Annette Chidsey from Saint Ignatius College, Geelong.
Jennie Hickey said the audience choice for the workshop – the leaders of learning and the Ignatian coordinators – was deliberate in that these two groups demonstrate the distinctiveness of Jesuit education, which is the interconnection of Ignatian spirituality with education.
‘The workshops have informed my understanding of how the IPP encompasses contemporary learning. The sessions on the first day provided the big picture of the “why” and the sessions on reflection and action provided the “how” ’, said Sharon McLean from Saint Ignatius’ College, Riverview.
‘The workshops have provided the opportunity to use the previous iteration of IPP as building blocks for this re-imagining of the IPP and to enable teachers to develop students’ critical thinking, depth and excellence.’
Participants were interested to learn how the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm might apply for learning leaders across their school.
‘The IPP was primarily in the RE domain. Now I am enlightened to know that it is at the core of quality teaching and learning and curriculum implementation’, said Jennifer Walker from St Aloysius’ College.