“WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE?” – A LENTEN INITIATIVE FOR SCHOOLS. Invite your students to reflect on their relationship with God, with their neighbor, and with the Earth.

The purpose of Jesuit education is to form men and women of conscience, compassion, competence and commitment so that they may serve others. Further, the Apostolic Preferences call us to “walk with the poor, the outcasts of the world, those whose dignity has been violated, in a mission of reconciliation and justice.”  The Jesuit Mission Magis Geography unit of work (series of lesson plans) aims to bring students to action on behalf of others.

As the international development organisation of the Australian Jesuit Province, Jesuit Mission works with our most vulnerable sisters and brothers, empowering them to live full and free lives. We strive to create change for women, men and children who suffer the indignity of poverty and injustice.” https://jesuitmission.org.au/

Jesuit Mission Australia works with Jesuit and Ignatian schools in Australia to raise awareness of programs undertaken to improve wellbeing in countries in Asia and Africa and has successfully used similar units based on Religion and English curriculum in schools.

Through a unit of work-based on Geography curriculum students are called to action to devise campaigns to assist Jesuit Mission in engaging the broader community in supporting its various programs.

This unit of work uses the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm as a framework and is based on the Australian Geography Syllabus unit “Human Wellbeing”. The unit is suitable for students aged 13 to 16.   The activities provide students with a variety of learning experiences using geographic tools and skills to develop an understanding of the context of life for people living in countries in Asia, including variations in income, health and education. Once they are competent in using a variety of geographic tools and skills students are asked to compassionately reflect on what does this learning mean for them, how has their attitude to the needs of others changed, what are the social justice and ethical implications of their learning and how should they respond. The Gospels and the lives of Saint Ignatius and Saint Peter Claver are reviewed to promote discussion on why we should care about others and how we should respond to those in need.

To consider examples of actions taken to assist those who do not have the same life opportunities students investigate programs undertaken by governments and non-government organisations to improve wellbeing.  In particular, students research Jesuit Mission programs and how they work to improve human wellbeing in a variety of countries. Students are called to action through a project-based learning activity with the focus question: “How can we engage the broader community in supporting Jesuit Mission programs?” In groups students plan a campaign that could be used by Jesuit Mission to raise awareness in the broader community of the need for Jesuit Mission programs. The campaigns are reviewed and evaluated by teachers and members of Jesuit Mission and the best programs are put into action by the students.

The intention of this Geography based unit of work is not only to engage students in knowledge about the global variations in human wellbeing and the work of Jesuit Mission in improving human wellbeing, it also aims to touch the hearts of the students and lead them to action.

To download this resource go to Jesuit Mission Magis Geography unit of work (series of lesson plans).

Equality and Social Justice
Age group: 13 to 16 years
Source: Jesuit Mission Australia
Prepared by Sharon McLean, Saint Ignatius; College, Riverview, Australia in collaboration with Geography teachers in Australian Ignatian schools.