Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, which reflects the standard volume of learning for a unit in a University qualification of this Australian Qualifications Framework type.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Graduates of programs in Ignatian Spirituality should develop knowledge and skills in this discipline and be able to reflect critically on the ways in which their personal development impacts upon their professional roles. This unit will explore the implications of the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm for future orientations in Jesuit education. The defining elements of Ignatian Pedagogy (Reflection and Action) will be examined through the concept of Refractive Learning – that is, learning to ‘bend’ content so that it is appropriated for one’s own unique experience and context as well as learning from the best practice of other Jesuit schools throughout the world. The proposed model is Learner-Centered, Reflection-Driven, and Action-Oriented. The aim of this unit is for practitioners to reflect on, and wrestle with, Jesuit pedagogical concepts and theories so that Jesuit schools can offer a genuinely transformative and holistic education that is relevant to the twenty-first century and capable of being adapted for future paradigm shifts. 

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 Articulate the close connection between Ignatian pedagogy and the Spiritual Exercises (GA4);

LO2 Define and evaluate critically the core concepts and values of Refractive Learning (GA4; GA10);

LO3 Apply knowledge of the core characteristics of Refractive Learning to specific ministry and vocational contexts (GA6; GA10);

LO4 Evaluate the implications of Learner-centered, Reflection-driven, and Action-Oriented learning and teaching for educational practices (GA10); 

LO5 Formulate a reasoned vision for future possibilities and trends in Jesuit education (GA4).

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include:

  • Roots of Ignatian Pedagogy in Ignatian Spirituality;
  • What is ‘Refractive’ learning?;
  • The 6 Es of Ignatian Learning and Teaching;
  • Ignatian Pedagogy as Learner-Centered;
  • Ignatian Pedagogy as Reflection-Driven;
  • Ignatian Pedagogy as Action-Oriented.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

THSP623 will be delivered in multi-mode, that is, in various combinations of face to face and mediated learning environments, utilising strategies which may include:

  • Self-directed activities (such as completing scaffolded reading tasks or web-based exercises) which enable each student to build a detailed understanding of a topic;
  • Small-group tasks and activities (such as contributing to discussion forums or undertaking peer review) which enable students to test, critique, expand and evaluate their understandings;
  • Plenary seminars and webinars which enable students to link their understandings with larger frameworks of knowledge and alternative interpretations of ideas;
  • Practical or fieldwork activities which enable students to rehearse skills necessary to the discipline and to be mentored in that practice;
  • Critically reflective activities (such as a guided Examen or private journal-writing) which assist students to learn reflexively, that is, to identify their affective responses to the learning and to integrate their learning with action.

The unit is delivered with the expectation that participants are adult learners, intrinsically motivated and prepared to reflect critically on issues as well as on their own learning and perspectives.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to pass this unit, students are required to complete all assessment tasks and achieve an overall minimum grade of pass. All assessment tasks are designed for students to show their achievement of each learning outcome and graduate attribute. They require students to demonstrate the nexus between their learning, dispositions, and teaching and spiritual practice, and the evidence on which this demonstration is based.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Written critical reflection on Refractive Learning (2000 words). This task is designed to enable students to demonstrate the nexus between their understanding, critical practice, and reflexive appropriation of Ignatian Pedagogy.


LO1, LO2


15-minute Presentation (equiv. to 1500 words) which applies the principles of Refractive Learning to the student’s personal context. This task is designed to provide students with the opportunity to articulate their critical practice of Ignatian Pedagogy in the context of peer discussion.


LO2, LO3

GA4, GA6, GA10

Essay (4000 words). This task is designed to enable students to consolidate their learning in the unit and to demonstrate higher-order thinking through the communication of an educational vision based on Ignatian Pedagogy.


LO4, LO5


Representative texts and references

Duminuco, Vincent, ed. The Jesuit Ratio Studiorum of 1599: 400th Anniversary Perspectives. New York: Fordham University Press, 2000.

Boss, Suzie, John Larmer, and John R. Mergendoller. PBL for 21st Century Success: Teaching Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Creativity. Novato, CA: Buck Institute for Education, 2015.

Carbine, Rosemary P., and Kathleen Dolphin. Women, Wisdom, and Witness: Engaging Contexts in Conversation. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2012.

Ignatian Pedagogy: A Practical Approach. The International Centre for Jesuit Education in Rome, 1993.

Kolvenbach, Peter-Hans. The Characteristics of Jesuit Education. Anand, Gujarat: Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 1987.

Mesa, José, ed. Ignatian Pedagogy: Classic and Contemporary Texts on Jesuit Education from St. Ignatius to Today. Chicago IL: Loyola Press, 2017.

Ritchhart, Ron, Mark Church, and Karin Morrison. Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2011.

Sousa, David A. and Carol A. Tomlinson. Differentiation and the Brain: How Neuroscience Supports the Learner-Friendly Classroom. Moorabbin: Hawker Brownlow, 2010.

Schwartz, Howard S. "The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action." Administrative Science Quarterly 32, no. 4 (1987): 614-17.

Traub, George, ed. A Jesuit Education Reader: contemporary Writings on the Jesuit Mission in Education, Principles, the Issue of Catholic Identity, Practical Applications of the Ignatian Way, and More. Chicago IL: Loyola Press, 2017.

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