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As public faith in higher education faces an all time low, the need for hope to both infuse and be a product of our institutions of higher learning is paramount. Rather than a simple hopeful optimism, Henry Giroux conceptualized critical hope - an educated hope that will form students capable and willing to view themselves and the world through a critical lens and then imagine new ways of proceeding that serve the public good and honor human dignity. Jesuit education, at its best, is rooted in expressions of critical hope with a world-affirming commitment to depth of thought and imagination in service to all of God’s creation. Ignatian pedagogy embraces imagination as a tool to bridge concepts learned in class with the reality of the broader world in a way that embodies Giroux’s hopeful move from critique to possibility. The roots of this come from the Spiritual Exercises and its themes and paradigms. This article walks through the four major movements (or Weeks) of the Spiritual Exercises and makes connections between their major themes, the cycle of the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm, and what it can illuminate for us about the nature of critical hope in practice. It also recommends critically hopeful practices - examples of teaching and learning praxis that recognizes the larger structural reality of the world and the ways in which the broader reality of systems of oppression impact the way we engage with students and teach. These practices do not stop at critique and instead offer different approaches and ways of proceeding.



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