Chapter 18 Ignatian Pedagogy

I love Wah Yan College, Kowloon where I have lived for forty years! I think the College has a good example of ignatian pedagogy! And I hasten to explain that “pedagogy” means simply, the methods of teaching, and “ignatian” means following the orientation and spirit of St. Ignatius of Loyola, whose followers devised a style of management and way of successful teaching.

I use the word “ignatian pedagogy” to describe a certain style of Catholic education. Formerly we said, “Jesuit education” to talk about the education in a school taught and run by Jesuits. As we have seen in Wah Yan, there have been less and less Jesuits teaching. Since as early as 1976, steps were taken to form teachers in our ways of teaching so that they could continue the quality of education that Wah Yan has given.

The switch of using “ignatian” education has also taken part in most parts of the world where there are schools started by Jesuits. The fact is that Jesuits have turned to other works in preference to teaching in schools. I can speak because I never wanted to teach in a school, until something happened in 1981! In the chapters I have written, I have described my goals of preaching and working for social changes. I must also state that very few of the young Jesuits I grew up with were keen on teaching in schools. Added to that is the great decrease in young talented men joining us, so if the quality of the schools in which Jesuits taught and managed is going to continue, then people have to be in line with “ignatian” thinking.

The fact is that St. Ignatius only came to assigning his companions to school near the end of his life. Schools were never spoken about in the first decades of Jesuit life. It was only when people of the upper classes asked their preacher, and sometimes their spiritual advisors, to educate their children, that serious thought was given to having Jesuit schools. The first one was at Messina, Italy in 1548, and soon many hundreds were open.

Catholic education had been largely associated with monasteries and learning Christian doctrine. Added to this were seminaries, where future priests were trained. With the spirit of Ignatius of the full development of person in literature and modern culture, the upper classes were keen that their children have this kind of education. In terms of Mission, the Jesuits saw that by educating the ruling classes, good leaders of society would emerge, and the Church and world would be served the better.

However, St. Ignatius made conditions before taking on a school. The tuition would have to be free, so the upper classes, or local ruler, had to make endowments, or make available financial resources to cover the running of the school. Jesuit humanistic education would be free for talented students. With such people as future leaders, there would be the multiplying effect of making significant contributions to the good of the Church and wider society.

Wah Yan College, Kowloon with its vast Chapel at the main entrance has a couplet on the façade which announces the philosophy of the school- To The Greater Glory of God, Following Footsteps of Apostles, May Holy Learning Spread with the Good News of Salvation. Behind the Chapel is a wide spread of low-rise buildings in this oasis of greenery in Mongkok and Yaumatei. This is where for over fifty years the Jesuits guided and managed the school. It might not be correct to say that it is a Jesuit school now, since Jesuits do not really teach or administer the school, but they still direct it. What is more, for over forty years Jesuits have been active forming teachers to continue its education with ignatian pedagogy. No one wants to distance himself or herself from the spirit and style of the education in Wah Yan which has been so brilliant over the decades. Teachers and past students want it continued and even developed.

Wah Yan education is good and many people want it. It is Catholic education in a special tradition, which the Irish Jesuits brought to Hong Kong as far back as the 1930s. It has its goals and spirit, its traditions and ways. As one who has been so long here, I would like to give my personal view.

To put it simply, it is an education, which encourages reflection and evaluation. It encourages changes to constantly improve, seeking the GREATER ( or in Latin, MAGIS). I would be bold to say that changes have often been made in Wah Yan before the education authorities introduced good developments. At the same time, Wah Yan has kept its independence and not just followed government plans. Changes have been made in curriculum and structures in the school, when necessary and helpful. In the dynamic and vibrant society of Hong Kong, the educational authorities have introduced many changes. Wah Yan does not immediately implement these changes, but often has been ahead of developments. For example in 1983, there were many meetings of teachers on curriculum development. Here the goals of the school were inferred and changes introduced. Even in school management, there have been representatives of teachers and past students on the management board well before introduced into other schools.

There is another important word that needs to be used and that is the “more” or to use the Latin word “Magis”, St. Ignatius used the motto “To the Greater Glory of God”, initials A.M.D.G. Here the word Magis is translated as “Greater”. The Magis has often inspired Jesuits to do the greater good, the more universal good, the more urgent need, and the more lasting value in forming aims and directing activities. Wah Yan has not only been modern, but it has tried to be better, to do more, to achieve the more universal good, to meet the more urgent needs. This is “ignatian”, and based on his experience of God- Who is greater than our minds, our imagination, surpassing all good that we know. That is the spiritual element.

As I look around at its building, opened in 1952, I admire the courage and great vision of those who planned the school, at a time when so many were leaving Hong Kong at the time of the Korean War about 1950. I marvel at the faith and vision, the good will and qualities of these men, who were thinking of what they could do for Hong Kong and Modern China. That is an “ignatian” spirit.

To be more concrete I have seen this pedagogy in the classroom, where efforts are made for the active role of each student in personal study, personal discovery and creativity. As in the Spiritual Exercises when indications are given for meditation, there is repetition and drilling to achieve mastery of what is learned, and finally there is the stress on creative imagination, and development of motivation and appreciation. This gives the joy of learning. No wonder such an education is “good”. But further, teaching is to begin with analysis, repetition, active reflection and synthesis, which should combine theoretical ideas with their application. Now this is the “excellence” for which Jesuits have been famous in their school all over the world, especially in Europe.

The Jesuit ideal in ignatian pedagogy is the well-rounded person who is intellectually competent, open to spiritual growth, religious, loving, and committed to doing justice in generous service to the people of God. Three nice words in English come to mind as slogans: to educate people of competence, conscience and compassion.

There are two diagrams which have helped me.

The first is a simple triangle with Student, Teacher and Truth. The teacher is a companion and tutor to lead the student to truth. In the Spiritual Exercises, we speak of the one who is making the retreat, the director and the Lord. The one making the retreat seeks the Lord and listens, while the director listens and helps the person by counsel.

The other diagram is more complex. There is experience, reflection and decision, but it is in a context and it is always evaluated. In the class room, the context of the student has to be known, which means the syllabus, examinations, but also the spirit of the school, the family and cultural background of the student. The experience is the teaching and activities of the student (which includes homework), and it has to be followed by reflection of its value and its meaning. Finally, the application,which should be expressed by the homework and other decisions. This is rounded up by evaluation. In the Spiritual Exercises, the context is seeking for the Will of God, while the experience is the life of the person on retreat and what has happened in prayer and meditation. The person then reflects on life and what happened and where it is leading. The director of the Spiritual Exercises is to listen carefully to the person and aid in discernment of where the person is, and seems to be doing, together with some counsel. This must eventuate in a decision or resolution. Finally, there is to be an evaluation, to see what could be done better and what is lacking.

How this is done is expressed in the school’s goals as:

to build a school community in which teachers, students and non teaching staff have a spirit of mutual respect and co-operation”

As a Catholic school the first goal is: “to form students who are aware of God as Father of all and who thus see all people as brothers and sisters, giving them at the same time opportunities to know Christ, and to help those who already believe in Christ come to a deeper appreciation of their faith.

Education is not given in a vacuum, so ignatian pedagogy aims at “developing in students a desire to work for a just society and to teach them to be generous in placing their knowledge and competence at the service of others, particularly the disadvantaged.” This must start in school through social service, which the Students’ Association has been active in promoting, and is also nurtured by what teachers say and do. It is seen in the lives of the Past Students, many of whom are in public service, civic organizations and active in social concerns.

For this there is a solid moral formation is given to enable students to lead lives in accordance with sound principles. This is done in religious formation and ethical teaching. In this respect, I feel I have done a little.

Though this all seems a happy dream, ignatian pedagogy encourages students to be independent minded in their search for knowledge, while being open to learn from the experience of others. This then is true and good education and it forms people who can be outspoken and constructively critical. Some political systems do not like such education.

Finally, there is the emotional development of students, which is so critical at puberty and middle adolescence. Here there is need for “space” or a certain amount of freedom for them to make mistakes and try new ways. But here it is also necessary to help students appreciate their abilities as well as their limitations, and to get along well with others.

These points are in the educational goals of our school. I believe it can give students a successful future. The past students can well look back and see what it has done for their own lives.

I came to Hong Kong to be a Catholic missionary in China. At first I sensed that Wah Yan was too “colonialist”. The fact was it was under British administration until recently, and so the laws and values also came from the UK, which today also seem reasonable. But the fact is that Wah Yan was always for Chinese students, and these students chose an English Medium of education. They did this in view of tertiary education, perhaps abroad. With competence in English, professional life and leadership in Hong Kong and the global world is open to them.

To balance this, there is no doubt that WahYan has also encouraged a knowledge and appreciation of Chinese culture. Chinese studies has always been a quarter of the curriculum. In the past, the Wah Yan Dramatic Society produced Cantonese opera in all its splendour using English lyrics, to the roaring humour of Hong Kong people and the amazement of foreigners. It symbolized part of the tradition of Wah Yan to lead to an appreciation of the culture of its students. This has always been taken for granted, but needs constant attention and adjustment in our new situation at HKSAR.

To be simple, Wah Yan education has a special spirit, which is informed by Christian values. It is ignatian in the sense that its spirit can be traced to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatian. It is experience based, with reflection and decisions in the context of a Christian world.

There is a paradigm, to use a modern word for a diagram for the mind, which encapsulates ignatian pedagogy; Context of the student and the curriculum, Experience in the classroom or outside classes, Reflection on what we learn and know, and decision on what this means for our life, Actions that are to follow ( beginning with homework, projects etc) and finally, Evaluation (in terms of how aims have been achieved and goals set, which is more than high marks in examinations!)

In 1978, Fr. Francis Chan went to Australia to seek Jesuits who would come to teach in Wah Yan. At that time, it was clear that there would be very few, if any Irish Jesuits, coming to teach in WahYan. Fr. Chan returned with the news that the Jesuit Colleges were facing the same trends as in Hong Kong. There were very few Jesuits coming to teach in the Colleges. In Ireland, the six Jesuit secondary schools were setting up management boards and programmes to enable teachers to use ignatian pedagogy. All through the world, where over ten thousand Jesuits were teaching in secondary schools, the same pattern was emerging- fewer and fewer Jesuits working in secondary schools. I smiled as I thought of myself. I never wanted to be associated with a secondary school. It was only after being in Wah Yan Kowloon for fifteen years that I seriously considered it a full time option of activities. On the one hand there was the falling numbers of young men joining the Jesuits. These few young Jesuits place importance on theological reflection and teaching, spiritual formation and guidance, social development, refugee service and the neglected needs of people. There will be even less Jesuits in Wah Yan and other Jesuit founded schools, but we hope that ignatian pedagogy will continue. It is doing so in Wah Yan where Jesuit presence is shadowy but ignatian pedagogy thrives.

The last word must be the Hong Kong International Institute for Education Leadership which Fr A.Deignan started in 1998 along with a group of serious minded people. This is something new. The Institute has a number of Wah Yan Past Students. The institute is a new field of Jesuits in Education, bringing the ignatian pedagogy to teachers, business people and all who want inspiration. (2553)_

Pedagogy Ignatian Pedagogy

Truth, Student and Teacher Experience, Reflection and Action

( God, believer and Guide) in a context with an evaluation

第十八章 依納爵教學法

我熱愛九龍華仁書院,在那塈琱w生活了四十年! 我認為九龍華仁書院是依納爵教學法的一個典範! 我急切要解釋的是: 教學法(Pedagogy),本意是簡樸地教導,而依納爵(Ignatian)意味遵從依納爵的基本信仰及精神,他的追隨者從而創立了一套管理風格和成功的教學方式。




簡單來說,這是一種鼓勵反省和評估的教育,它鼓勵變化以致不斷改進,我嘗試尋找「愈」(拉丁文的意思),恕我冒昧地說,九龍華仁書院比教育當局更早作出教育改革,與此同時,華仁卻保持它的獨立性,並不會只是跟隨政府的計劃,當百需要時,學校己在學校架構及課程方面作出有用的改變。在充滿活力及生氣勃勃的香港社會,教育當局已經推行很多變化,華仁並沒有立刻執行這些改變,不過時常在發展方面取得領先的位置。 例如在一九八三年,老師為書課程發展而舉行了多次會議,明確了學校目標,引進了一些改變,甚至連學校管理方面,我們比其他學校更早引進教師代表及舊生們進入管理委員會。

這埵野t一個詞需要使用,它就是「更多」或用拉丁文的字「愈」,依納爵的座右銘就是「愈顯主榮」,首字母為A.M.D.G.。在這 Magis 是譯作「愈」,「愈」時常鼓舞耶穌會去做更大的善行,更普世的善行,去滿足更急切的需要,在確定目標和指導活動方面,作出更特久的價值,華仁不只已經現代化,而是已經嘗試去做得更好,更多,達致更普遍的好處,滿足更多急切的需要,這就是「聖依納爵」,健基於他對神的體驗,神是超出我們的思想和我們的想像,超;越我們所知一切的善行,那就是靈性的要素。



耶穌會的依納爵教學法的理想就是全面發展的人,他是有才智能力的、樂於成長的、篤信宗教的、有愛心的、在為神的子民慷慨服務時堅持公正,腦海中不禁想起三個令人滿意的英文字作為口號: 教導人成為有才能(competence)、有良心 (conscience) 和有憐憫心(compassion)的人。



第二個簡圖比較複雜,是由經驗,反省和決定組成,同時要配合經常的評估。在課堂,有關學生的一切都要知道,即是課程、考試、還有學校精神,學生的家庭和文化背景。經驗是指教學和學生活動(包括家課) ,接著是其價值和其意義的反省。最後,是應用,應以家課和其他決定來表達。以評估作為總結。在神操中,整體關係是尋找上主的意旨,當一個人的一生在避難所,他祈禱和冥想時,發生了甚麼事。這個人便要在生活中反省,究竟發生甚麼事,和這是帶領向那堥咿O! 神操的導師要細心聆聽他,幫助他辨別出他的處境,及他大約在做甚麼,並給與忠告。結果,必要定下一個決定,或決心要做的事。最後要做一個評估,看著有甚麼可以改善,及有甚麼是不足。

現在這是如何做到? 這在九龍華仁書院教育宗旨堣w表達出來: 「建立一個教師、學生與各職工之間互相合作精神的學校團體。」

作為一所天主教學校,首要的目標是: 「啟迪學生認識天父是萬有的主宰,了解全人類都是他們的弟兄,同時給予他們認識基督的機會、對於那些已信基督的,協助他們更深切地體會基督精神。」

教育絕不能脫離實際; 依納爵教學法旨在發展學生的志願,為正義公平的社會而努力; 培育他們無私地貢獻自己的知識和能力,為他人(尤其是那些特別百需要的人) 的福利而工作。這必須透過學校堛漯懋|服務開始,學生會已就此積極推動,同時也得到老師們言教的培育,不過,從舊生們的生活已就此積極推動,同時也得到老師們言教的培育,不過,從舊生們的生活中已看到大部份己投身於公共服務,公民組織及於社會關注問題上處於主導位置。








這埵酗@個模式背景用一個現代字作為思想的圖解,概括簡述依納爵教學法; 學生的背景及課程背景課室內、外的經驗,對我們所學及所知的反思,根據這些對我們生活有何意義而作出抉擇,跟著就是行動(從家課、專題報告等等開始),最後是評估(說明如何已達到目的及所定的目標,這些比考試獲高分更重要!)

在一九七八年,陳福偉神父到澳洲尋找能來到華仁任教的耶穌會士,當時,如果有的話,亦很少愛爾蘭耶穌會士來華仁任教,陳神父帶回的消息是外地耶穌會學校同樣面對這趨勢,很少耶穌會士來到學校任教,在愛爾蘭,六所耶穌會中學設立管理委員會提供教學大綱,供老師們使用依納爵教學法,在全球,超過一萬名耶穌會士在中學任教,浮現了同樣模式 – 越來越少耶穌會在中學工作。我笑著想想自己,我從不希望和中學聯繫在一起,只不過經過了九華的十五年頭後,我認真地認為這是一個全職的選擇。另一方面,就是年青人加入耶穌會有下降的趨勢,這為數不多的耶穌會士重視理論上的反思和教學,靈性上的啟迪及指導,社會發展,收容難民的工作兇及照顧那群被忽視的人群的需要,將來華仁及其他耶穌會創辦的學校,會更加少的耶穌會士,不過我們希望依納爵教學法能夠得以持續下去,華仁看來會繼續依納爵教學法,雖然耶穌會會士的存在已經鮮為人知了.