IAJBS 22nd Annual World Forum Jesuit Province of Eastern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya

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Satya P Chattopadhyay

Ignatian Pedagogy and Reflection: Experiential Learning in Jesuit Business Education

The paper examines the basic tenets of Ignatian pedagogy in the context of undergraduate Jesuit business education and argues that discernment and reflection are what sets apart the experience from similar experiences at other programs. The course is designed to introduce first year students to the ideals of Jesuit education and reinforce the integration of business principles in the context of moral, ethical and humanistic underpinnings that they are expected to internalize in their four years at the University. The Ignatian tradition that guides our mission and vision requires that our students’ aspirations “transcend” worldly success, and that they strive to be men and women for others. The participants are encouraged to strive to be aware of the responsibility of using such knowledge and skills acquired at the University to contribute generously to the good of society and serve to protect and further the causes of those less fortunate. To this end, a number of experiential exercises form the core of the course The students engage with a community soup kitchen, perform simulated grocery purchase, follow current business practices of controversial nature, and also participate in a structured poverty simulation. The exercises are accompanied by a series of structured reflection assignments. The initial reflections are personal, which are then shared among participants. In each case, a follow-up assignment is completed where students document their prior expectations from the exercise, and the learning from them following their individual reflection as well as the shared reflections of their peers. What is revealed in the analysis is that the exercises are not new to them, and many or all of them are within the realm of their experience already. What is new is the reflection component. It emerges from the results that beyond experiencing the phenomena, the participants begin to sense dimensions of the issues that they were oblivious to earlier. Their work indicates progress in recognizing and embracing the values of engaging with those less fortunate and being responsible for using the knowledge and skills that they are fortunate to acquire for the benefit of society and particularly for the former. The paper provides results of a number of these exercises. A qualitative in-depth analysis is provided to demonstrate the impact on the participants’ worldview of the contexts of these experiences.