The Teacher-Learner Relationship

(27) Applying, then, the Ignatian paradigm to the teacher-learner relationship in Jesuit education, it is the teacher's primary role to facilitate the growing relationship of the learner with truth, particularly in the matter of the subject being studied under the guiding influence of the teacher. The teacher creates the conditions, lays the foundations and provides the opportunities for the continual interplay of the student's EXPERIENCE, REFLECTION and ACTION to occur.

Figure 1 Ignatian Paradigm and the Teacher-Learner Relationship
(28) Starting with EXPERIENCE, the teacher creates the conditions whereby students gather and recollect the material of their own experience in order to distil what they understand already in terms of facts, feelings, values, insights and intuitions they bring to the subject matter at hand. Later the teacher guides the students in assimilating new information and further experience so that their knowledge will grow in completeness and truth. The teacher lays the foundations for learning how to learn by engaging students in skills and techniques of REFLECTION. Here memory, understanding, imagination and feelings are used to grasp the essential meaning and value of what is being studied, to discover its relationship to other facets of human knowledge and activity, and to appreciate its implications in the continuing search for truth. Reflection should be a formative and liberating process that so shapes the consciousness of students -- their habitual attitudes, values and beliefs as well as ways of thinking -- that they are impelled to move beyond knowing to ACTION. It is then the role of the teacher to see that the opportunities are provided that will challenge the imagination and exercise the will of the students to choose the best possible course of action to flow from and follow up on what they have learned. What they do as a result under the teacher's direction, while it may not immediately transform the world into a global community of justice, peace and love, should at least be an educational step in that direction and toward that goal even if it merely leads to new experiences, further reflections and consequent actions within the subject area under consideration.

(29) The continual interplay, then, of EXPERIENCE, REFLECTION and ACTION in the teaching-learning dynamic of the classroom lies at the heart of an Ignatian pedagogy. it is our way of proceeding in Jesuit schools as we accompany the learner on his or her journey of becoming a fully human person. It is an Ignatian pedagogical paradigm which each of us can bring to the subjects we teach and programs we run, knowing that it needs to be adapted and applied to our own specific situations.