I just finished reading Heroic Leadership by Chris Lowney. This should be required reading for any leader, especially one who is involved in Jesuit education (every teacher is also a leader).
The book describes four values that orient Jesuit leadership. How does the Rockhurst classroom redesign project reflect these values?
Self-Awareness - understanding their [the Jesuits] strengths, weaknesses, values, and worldview
- We are teaching young men. Teenage boys move…a lot. The furniture (all on wheels) moves. There exist specific furniture arrangements that align with specific learning activities. Students can be in a circle for a class discussion, students will be in tables for group work, traditional rows for exams, etc.
Ingenuity - confidently innovating and adapting to embrace a changing world
- Each new class comes in with a new context. Most incoming freshmen were born after 9/11. They grew up with screens. Our new classrooms have three screens. Teachers harness each screen independently, which will help the students realize the learning objectives. Teachers control the screens with their iPad in similar fashion to Tony Stark manipulating his own inventions in the movie Iron Man.
Love - engaging others with a positive, loving attitude
- All of the classroom redesign teachers volunteered. Teachers at Rockhurst care about the students. EVERYTHING about this project is about the students. The foundation of the project is an intentional effort for Rockhurst education to be more student-centered. We will be asking for student feedback along the way and we will listen.
Heroism - energizing themselves and others by heroic ambitions
- We are attempting something that has NEVER been done before at Rockhurst. We are questioning the most basic of assumptions when it comes to learning in the classroom. By putting the magis into action, we hope that the Rockhurst experience yields better education and better formation.
What can be more energizing!? Ignatian educators at Rockhurst are making St. Ignatius proud; they may not be traveling to new lands like Francis Xavier or Matteo Ricci, but they are pioneering new frontiers within the classroom walls.
Lowney, Chris. (2003) Heroic Leadership. Chicago: Loyola Press.