Experience level: 
Intended Audience: 
Anne H. Reilly, PhD Quinlan School of Business Loyola University Chicago

Using Ignatian Pedagogy towards Developing a Safe Space for Learning

Storming the Capitol. Fighting about face masks. Bullying people perceived as different. Conflict seems to be everywhere, and Jesuit business school classrooms are not immune. This challenge provides the opportunity for Jesuit institutions to model a different approach. Reducing conflict in the classroom environment—whether in person or via Zoom—is important in creating a safe space for instructor teaching and student learning. In this interactive online workshop, we draw from Ignatian pedagogy in considering how to reduce conflict and support a mutually respectful classroom environment. The three elements of experience, reflection, and action are used to guide our discussion. Classroom management strategies to reduce conflict have long been studied in the educational framework. Because instructors have individual teaching styles guided by their backgrounds, experiences, and personal beliefs, they demonstrate different orientations towards classroom management. Students are different as well, and faculty are frequently unaware of how their teaching styles impact student perceptions. Different orientations plus mismatched expectations may precipitate unintentional classroom conflict. Research on the student actions linked to conflict suggests two broad categories of disruptive classroom behavior. More common is incivility: e.g., using electronic devices during class, doing other coursework, and side conversations. More challenging is hostility: interrupting or confronting the instructor, objecting to course policies, and bullying other students. Some studies have shown that students are more likely to show disrespect to women faculty and faculty of color, compared to white male faculty. In this interactive Zoom workshop, we build on prior research, supplemented by a recent faculty development session and a student survey, to explore how to reduce classroom conflict and encourage a mutually respectful environment. The workshop uses three elements of Ignatian pedagogy to guide the discussion. Participants will share their experience with student incivility and hostility; reflect on their own teaching philosophies and how they may impact student responses; and generate ideas for actions that support a safe space for learning. Take-aways include course planning guidelines and specific strategies for positive classroom interactions. The workshop’s agenda includes: 1. Introduce the classroom management context, with a few highlights of prior research. 2. Use break-out rooms to share participants’ Experiences. A set of other instructors’ experiences will be provided (if needed) for discussion. Reconvene to discuss. 3. Allocate time for individual Reflection. What is our own teaching philosophy? How do students perceive us? How might our teaching style affect student behavior? Reconvene to discuss. 4. Use break-out rooms to discuss specific ideas for Action. How can faculty prepare in advance to reduce classroom conflict? How should we respond to disrespectful behavior “in the moment”? What special attributes of Jesuit principles might assist? Reconvene to discuss. Ideally, the workshop will be supported by assistants in the break-out rooms to facilitate discussion and take notes. Participants are welcome to bring an example of classroom conflict from their own experiences.