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Ignatian Pedagogy: Introduction


"Ignatian pedagogy is a model that promotes the goal of Jesuit education, speaks to the teaching-learning process, addresses the faculty-student relationship, and has practical meaning and application for the classroom." ~ Sharon J. Korth, "Ignatian Pedagogy: A Practical Approach"

Jesuit Education and Ignatian Pedagogy

     ~ Illustration from Audacious Ignatius, Katie Mitchell, illustrator, Corde Press, 2018.

"Education occupied so prominent a place that the Society could rightly be styled a teaching order...." ~The Catholic Encyclopedia

The Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits, is a Catholic order of priests founded by Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) and approved in 1540 by Pope Paul III.   Within a few years of their founding, the Jesuits became known for their commitment to education and are credited with establishing the first true "system" of education in the world.   Today there are more than 2,300 schools in the global network of Jesuit schools, educating more than two million students on five continents and in more than 70 countries.




Below are the central texts and documents that contribute to the philosophy and practice of Jesuit education and Ignatian pedagogy. 

1599 - The Ratio Studiorum (Plan of Studies) codified the Jesuit system of education, describing the roles of administrators, teachers and students as well as establishing classroom practices and curriculum (the humanities, the arts, the classics, the sciences, and theology and philosophy).

1986 - The Characteristics of Jesuit Education was published "as a continuation of the educational tradition that the Society of Jesus began with the Ratio" and was intended to provide “a common vision and a common sense of purpose… a standard against which we measure ourselves.” ~ Father General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach
1993 - Ignatian Pedagogy: A Practical Approach introduced the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm

2019 - The Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus are the results of two years of Jesuit discernment; they identify the four areas that are a special focus for a 10-year period. The Preferences for 2019 - 2029 are

  1. Showing the way to God
  2. Walking with the excluded
  3. Journeying with youth
  4. Caring for our common home  

2019 - Jesuit Schools: a Living Tradition in the 21st Century – An Ongoing Exercise of Discernment, a text produced by the International Commission on the Apostolate on Jesuit Education (ICAJE), asks all Ignatian educators to:

  1. reflect on the foundational documents [listed above]
  2. to reflect on major changes in the world, and
  3. to "strengthen our schools’ participation in the new global reality."