by Gina Merys, Director, Reinert Center
Thinking about Ignatian pedagogy as we begin our spring semester 2022, it is nearly impossible not to think about the current, on-going context in which we are living: the COVID pandemic, racial disparities, the climate crisis, and so many more issues and challenges that weigh heavily on us both as a collective and as individuals. This context may have permanently changed the way we approach course design and teaching for the foreseeable future, in both positive and adverse ways.
At these times when so much seems out of our control, we can still try to control ourselves–in our perspective, responses, choices, and contributions. So often when we encounter discussions of Ignatian pedagogy, they are outwardly focused on our students. What we often miss is our own place within the paradigm and how the framework serves our needs as well.
Looking at each part of the paradigm from the position of the instructor can open up new possibilities for reconnecting to our disciplines, our ways of thinking, as well as our practices and procedures.
I challenge you this first week of classes to take some time to reflect on your courses with the following questions based on each part of the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm:
What is going on in my life right now? How are my identities being supported and challenged in the design of this course and/or the content of this course? What are my thoughts about teaching in general, about this course in particular? What is frustrating me about teaching/this course? What is enlivening me about teaching/this course? How are my attitudes about teaching and this course apparent in my course design, in my daily pedagogical practice? How does this course add to the richness and complexity of my life?
What (learning) experiences am I having in the course? What can I take away from the lessons, activities, and projects of this course that will develop me further as a teacher, scholar, researcher, clinician, professional, learner, human? How can I enhance the course so that there are more opportunities for my own learning? When I frame the activities of this course as experiences for me, how does it expand my perspective?
How does this course connect to other courses I am teaching, my research, my scholarship, my clinical practice? What more do I need to learn in order to get the most out of teaching this course? How will I gain that experience?
How am I showing my experiences in this course to my students, my colleagues, myself? How am I using the experiences I have in this course to change or enhance my context?
What will I do or approach differently as a result of teaching this course? What do I need to continue to enhance in this course? What do I need to develop in my knowledge base and pedagogical practice to teach this course to my fullest potential? How has this course changed me this term?
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