Shared Vision of Jesuit education

Campion Hall

Last week, on Thursday 15 June, Shared Vision 3 took place at Campion Hall in Oxford.

Shared Vision is a programme of formation for teachers and support staff who work in Jesuits schools.

Teachers and support staff from the eleven Jesuit schools in the UK, as well as from the Niels Steensens Gymnasium in Copenhagen and Cardinal Griffin Catholic College in Cannock, were invited to learn about the tradition of Jesuit education and the history of the Society of Jesus.

All teachers in Jesuit schools get an introduction to Jesuit identity and mission through Shared Vision Induction. It is for new teaching and support staff and is carried out in sessions throughout term time in the schools by teachers who are trained presenters. It introduces the Jesuit schools in the UK and worldwide, makes people aware of who St Ignatius of Loyola was and what is the mission of the Jesuit schools.

When a teacher or member of the school’s support staff has been there for a year or two, the schools often send that person to do Shared Vision 1. Shared Vision 1 is a two-day residential course, often in Oxford or Birmingham, and picks up on what they already had learned.

It explains more about St Ignatius, the Spiritual Exercises, the Examen, the history of the Society of Jesus, Jesuit schools worldwide, the Jesuits in Britain and finally Ignatian Pedagogy. The form that Shared Vision 1 takes, the two-day residential course, is also replicated for headteachers, deputy headteachers, governors and chaplains, when they want to know more about the Jesuit schools they work in.

Shared Vision 2 is more about the Ignatian Pedagogy, so is more for teachers, and explores the Jesuit method of teaching and learning. There are sessions on ‘Teaching in the Tradition of St Ignatius’, the ‘Art of Being Attentive to Experience’, the ‘Practice of Reflective Teaching and ‘Forming Active Agents of Change’.  Shared Vision 2 is also a two-day residential course, and usually takes place in Campion Hall in Oxford.

Both of these Shared Vision courses take place once a term and have anywhere from a dozen to eighteen people on them each time. This means that over 100 people a year will go on a Shared Vision course. Campion Hall is usually used at the venue because of its location and the items of Jesuit history that it contains.

The programme is called Shared Vision, because it shows that Jesuit education is not the domain of the Jesuits, where the initiative lays with the Society of Jesus, but shows that the mission of Jesuit education is for all that take part in it.

The Characteristics of Jesuit Education is a book that updates the original Jesuit document on education, the Ratio Studiorum for the modern world. It talks about those who work in Jesuit schools ‘need to have an understanding of Ignatian spirituality, of Jesuit educational history and traditions, and Jesuit life.

The Jesuit school provides programmes to encourage a growing awareness and understanding of the aims of Jesuit education’ (The Characteristics of Jesuit Education n.153). General Congregation 35, in decree 13 says, “The Society of Jesus places itself at the service of this mission of the laity by offering what we are and have received: our spiritual and apostolic inheritance, our education resources and our friendship.” Shared Vision 3 that happened last week, trains school staff to be able present the initial Shared Vision Induction that is done in the schools.

It allows teachers to take what they have learnt and directly apply it by spreading the spiritual and apostolic inheritance of the Society of Jesus making the joint initiative a shared vision.