Welcome to the Faculty Learning Community on Ignatian Pedagogy!

As a Jesuit University, the Gonzaga community often speaks of our "Ignatian" approach to the work that we do, acknowledging the vision and method of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus. But what exactly is an Ignatian approach? And in particular, what does it mean in the practice of our teaching? This learning community is intended to help faculty explore and understand the principles of Ignatian pedagogy, and think about how we express those principles in our classroom practice.

A learning community is an interdisciplinary group of faculty who agree to explore collectively an idea, concept, practice, or other topic. The goal is not just to inform oneself, or to have interesting discussions, but to create new knowledge and new practice, to change in some way how we do what we do. The work of the community has a curriculum, a pedagogy, and a set of intended outcomes, but the details of what each participant takes from the experience will vary. Most importantly, the work of the community is communal--participants are expected to prepare, participate, reflect, consider, and contribute in ways that move the group toward its intended outcomes.

The curriculum for this learning community is based on the five central principles of Ignatian pedagogy—context, experience, reflection, action, and evaluation. Our explorations will consist of three workshops, which meet from 12:15 - 1:05 pm on September 15, October 20, and November 17, 2011. Each workshop will focus on one or two of these principles, and the pedagogy will mirror the practice we are exploring. Each workshop will involve discussions of readings, reflecting on and sharing about our own practices, and communal discussion of what we want students to do in our classes. In addition, it will be an opportunity to brainstorm about the kinds of support faculty members need in order to better incorporate these principles in our daily teaching practice.

At the end of the three-workshop series:

  • Participants should be able to analyze their own teaching practice in light of the central principles of Ignatian pedagogy: context, experience, reflection, action, and evaluation.
  • They should be able to identify new practices or approaches they would like to try in their teaching that would better implement these central principles.
  • And as a group, the participants will have identified specific faculty development activities needed to broaden and deepen the application of these pedagogical principles by faculty at Gonzaga.

Because this is an endeavor in collaborative learning, we ask that faculty members commit to participating in all three of the workshops through the semester. There will be readings to complete prior to each session, and some reflection and writing between sessions. In return, we hope that the series will provide not only a deeper understanding of your teaching practice, but also increased communication, collaboration, and camaraderie with your fellow participants.

Readings and assignments for the three sessions:

Below are links to readings that should be competed in preparation for each of the sessions. In some cases, there may also be questions for reflection that should be considered prior to the workshop meeting. Click on the highlighted text to be taken to the documents or web sites.

Session 1. Thursday, September 15, 2011: Context and Experience

Prior to the meeting, please read the following:

National Research Council, 2000. Learning: From Speculation to Science. pp. 3 - 27 in: How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience and School. Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning (eds....). National Academy Press, Washington, DC. You can read this chapter on-line or download a free pdf by clicking here.

Kolvenbach, Peter-Hans, S.J. 2000. The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education. Keynote address given at the conference, "Commitment to Justice in American Higher Education", Santa Clara University, October 6, 2000.

Korth, Sharon J. 2008. Precis of Ignatian Pedagogy: A Practical Approach. pp. 280 - 284 in: Traub, George W., S.J. (ed). A Jesuit Education Reader. Loyola Press, Chicago, IL.

Session 2: Reflection

Session 3: Action and Evaluation