Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reflection on Constructivism and the IPP

I work for a Jesuit high school. Therefore, all I do as an educator is done through the lens of the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm (IPP). The Jesuit order was created as a teaching order. From its inception, the IPP was different from other paradigms because it acknowledged, welcomed, and strived to develop individuals.

As I proceed with this Capstone, I wish to look at all concepts through the lens of the IPP. The table below shows the IPP and the Legacy Model of Constructivism side-by-side. I am struck by how personal the learning experience is in both models. Both assume a learner committed to his or her personal growth. Each takes into consideration prior knowledge and experience before moving forward. Each allows the learner to “play” with new knowledge before moving into public dialogue. And finally, each requires an element of reflection. I am also struck by the absence of any conversation of the teacher in these paradigms. All focus is on the learner.

Currently, I am reading the book “Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns” by Clayton M. Christensen. The book’s premise is that US public education must move to a “student-centric approach”. As every learner is unique, so should learning experiences. The need to wedge all public education into one standardized test and set of standards is counter productive. I would argue either the IPP or Constructivism would give satisfy Mr. Christensen’s need for student-centric learning.

1. Context
The teacher must include care and knowledge of the student. The learning environment must conducive to the learners needs.
2. Experience
Cognitive activity with knowledge that leads the learner to “heart, mind, and hand” understanding of the concepts.
3. Reflection
A key feature of the IPP. A learner must have time to reflect on knowledge to make it hers or his own.
4. Action
The student’s outpouring of attitude, values, ideals all pointing outward to service to others. Taking knowledge out to the world in service.
5. Evaluation
Taking learning beyond mastery of skills. Focus on the learner as a whole person, a whole creation of God.

Constructivism: Legacy Model
1. Look Ahead
Learners assess and set their own learning goals.
2. Challenge
A new experience is put before the learner
3. Generate Ideas
Learners work with prior knowledge to assess need for new knowledge.
4. Multiple Perspectives
Students gather information from video, print, audio primary and secondary sources.
5. Research and Revise
Learners work with multiple activities to work with the new knowledge to make it their own.
6. Test Your Mettle
Learners test and assess their work to date before going public.
7. Go Public
Learners share knowledge by presenting, publishing, printing or otherwise publishing their work.
8. Reflect Back
Learners look back on initial learning goals and assess need for further inquiry for investigation


Christensen, Clayton M. (2008) Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Loyola Jesuit College Retrieved from

The Legacy Model. Retrieved from

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