Looking within at Xavier College

Daniel Crowley and Melinda Roberts, Head of Teaching and Learning at Xavier College. Photo: Michael Rayner

Daniel Crowley and Melinda Roberts, Head of Teaching and Learning at Xavier College. Photo: Michael Rayner

As senior students prepare for their end-of-year exams, there is a lot they must reflect on. Their studies and academic goals are, of course, in sharp focus, along with their achievements so far.

At Xavier College, students practise this type of self-reflection on their learning and on their lives from the time they start their education.

It is an approach called the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm (IPP), which encourages students to adopt a lifelong love of learning and a focus on understanding, experience and reflection in their studies, involvement in social justice programs or on the sporting field.

“A Jesuit education has a clear purpose: the development of a well-rounded person of competence, conscience, compassion and commitment, who will be of service in the world
and who has the generosity to make a significant contribution,” says Melinda Roberts, head of teaching and learning at the Xavier College
Senior Campus.

Melinda says students, including Xavier’s co-educational students who attend from three-year-old kindergarten to year 4, are taught to focus on the education of the whole person, including their head, hands and heart.

“Each day, teachers and students are working towards building the foundations of lifelong learning and accomplishment,” Melinda says.

This happens inside and outside the classroom.

“As Ignatian educators forming young men, we acknowledge that authentic learning is one dimension of a student’s formation, but this does not exist only in the classroom,” she says.

 

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“It is present in the yards and the sporting fields, in musicals, in Ignatian service (volunteering), debating, musical and acting performances and in the boarding house.

“It is learning interconnected with every dimension of each student’s lived experience.”

The IPP approach was inspired by St Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, and St Francis Xavier, from whom the school takes its name.

It provides a means to address students’ academic and spiritual formation within the wider Catholic tradition.

While Xavier College is the only Catholic school in Melbourne run by the Jesuits, parts of the IPP approach are now being adopted by other schools who are also seeing the value of reflection in education. “Reflection is a key component of an Ignatian education and is the process whereby the student makes the learning experience his own,” Melinda says.

“In a Jesuit school, we use the term ‘reflection’ to mean a thoughtful reconsideration of some subject matter, experience, concept or purpose to grasp its significance more fully.

“If learning were to stop at the mere acquisition of content, the collection of knowledge rather than the curation of it, the experience of learning would not be Ignatian.

“It would lack the key component of reflection, wherein students are impelled to consider the deeper meaning and significance of what they study.”

Daniel Crowley, Year 12 & Ignatian Service prefect

For me, an Ignatian education has meant a constant search for depth. School hasn’t just been about learning ideas and information, but understanding and challenging them.

When you are taught to think for yourself like that, learning and education really come alive and become so much more real.

Xavier has encouraged me to be involved in a wide range of things so I can get the best out of myself.

 

Xavier College \ 135 Barkers Road, Kew ● 9854 5411 ● xavier.vic.edu.au

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