Theses Doctoral

Ignatius of Loyola’s Pedagogical Philosophy and Human Flourishing: A Pursuit of Character Formation for Urban Youth in Public Schools in New York City

Brenkert, Benjamin James

This interdisciplinary dissertation describes the pedagogy of Ignatius of Loyola (e.g., a Jesuit education is world-affirming, assists in the total formation of each individual within the human community) and examines its import for public schools. Chapter 1 establishes the research context within the historical landscape of Ignatian Pedagogy, with the dissertation question: Could the pedagogical philosophy of the Jesuit founder, Ignatius of Loyola, be used to apply and create a similar program/system of character formation in the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) schools. Character Formation is explained as the way youth are formed as whole persons to be in relationship with self and others, as active participants in a world where their flourishing is emphasized and their ability to be critical, reflective, and self-directed is enhanced by their psycho-social-environmental well-being.

Chapter 2 presents a literature review to examine Ignatius of Loyola’s ideas about character formation. Chapter 3 continues the literature review, addressing concerns about the meeting of faith and education in public schools, this is done through the lens of feminist theology and pedagogy. Chapter 4 describes the strategy of program review of the Loyola Academy Encore Program of Character Formation that I employed to develop and form students’ character at the Jesuit-sponsored Loyola Nativity School in St. Louis, Missouri. Chapter 5 examines a pilot study completed at one of my schools, 30Q151, the Mary D. Carter school, which tracked five special education students’ placement from a Most Restrictive Environment to a Least Restrictive Environment, in order to build their self-esteem and form their character. Chapter 6 discusses findings and implications for the NYC DOE if it were to consider developing a universal program of character formation based on the programs in place at Jesuit-sponsored schools. Chapter 7 presents a theological-philosophical framework grounded in literature for creating the Beloved Community (e.g., King, Gandhi, Freire), my statement for and about how human beings flourish, e.g., ascending towards a rationalization for why public and private schools need programs of character formation in the 21st century.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Interdisciplinary Studies in Education
Thesis Advisors
Morrell, Ernest
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
June 2, 2021