“Ideally, each human being, or each person, should feel like a part of humanity, and be aware of their own culture (enculturation), without making it absolute. They should do so critically, joyfully acknowledging the existence of other human beings with different cultures (multiculturality), and establishing relationships of equality with them, enriching themselves with a diversity of cultures that includes their own (interculturality).” (A Living Tradition, Global Identifier #7, Interculturality)

After last summer’s successful inaugural Master Class on the IPP, the Jesuit Schools Network (JSN) is thrilled to launch our  2023 Summer Master Class on the topic of Ignatian Intercultural Communication.  In collaboration with our partners at Educate Magis, this is our second offering of this innovative summer professional development opportunity for JSN educators.  Each summer, JSN welcomes participants from Jesuit secondary and presecondary schools in Canada, the United States, Belize, and Micronesia, into a cohort of educators who participate in a Summer Master Class experience.

The cohort-based Master Class is entirely virtual, with both asynchronous sessions, where participants may work at their own pace, and synchronous sessions, where the cohort will connect across the JSN to facilitate deepened conversation, understanding and learning. This offers an opportunity to take a deep dive into this meaningful and important learning, and to further promote our collective mission of forming Ignatian Educators as Reflective Practitioners.  The cohort-based learning experience encourages the Ignatian Educators across the Network to work together in our collective formation and growth in Human Excellence, and ultimately to model this tradition of learning to our students and colleagues. As our hallmark of Jesuit education encourages “Our traditional emphasis in academic excellence should not be neglected. It allows our schools to fulfill one of its fundamental social roles and allows them to enter in dialogue with the larger society about the meaning of quality education. Yet, in our schools this endeavor must be framed within the context of human excellence” (A Living Tradition # 272).  In this spirit, our educators from a diverse variety of schools and settings gather together over their summer break from school to explore relevant learning and become themselves the engaged, intellectually curious and mission-oriented students they aim to support in their classrooms.  In all ways, they are embodying and modeling JSN’s desire to encourage a spirit of inquiry across the many layers of our work in Jesuit education.

Intercultural Communication is a skill that is becoming an important part of the teaching and learning experience of contemporary JSN schools, particularly as our students become increasingly diverse. If we want to engage our students in meaningful ways, we must learn to communicate effectively within and across the variety of cultures they represent.  The course content is timely and meaningful to the world we live in today, and the learning is of interest to all leadership, faculty and staff across the Provinces who are called to support students in our schools.

This 2023 Master Class offering was explored in our recent JSN Virtual Ignatian Inquiry Session, explaining in depth the scope of the content and flow of the cohort experience.  The JSN invites each Principal to nominate one or several participants from each school to join the summer learning cohort.  In our pilot Master Class in the Summer of 2022, roughly 50 educators from 30 of our schools seized this opportunity to further their professional growth, and we expect to welcome about 60 educators from approximately 20 schools take part in this Summer 2023 experience. The big idea is that the participant can be “trained” in Intercultural Communication, and then go back into their community to spread the learning in a formal way as determined by each school setting.  This Master Class will assist participants in building effective communication skills across cultures and social groups, and the content is applicable to all Ignatian Educators in our desire to be reflective practitioners and life-long learners who connect with the students in our care.