Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ratio studiorum

Province Express - Maintaining flexibility in curriculum

The Jesuits have some form when it comes to curriculum. The Ratio Studiorum was a plan of studies, in effect a plan for curriculum and teaching in Jesuit schools, which was formulated over a period of fifteen years before its final publication in 1599.

The Ratio provided a structured and coherent approach to education and provided the basic structure for Jesuit education around the world up to the Twentieth Century. It can be argued that it was the single most influential plan of studies in the history of education. The Ratio was one of the keys to the success of Jesuit schools in the late sixteenth into the eighteenth centuries, a period in which the Jesuits were called ‘the schoolmasters of Europe'.

While the Ratio laid down the foundations of curriculum it also allowed for flexibility and adaptation according to the particular context of a school.

The impact of the Ratio can, in part, be measured by the extraordinary range of individuals who were its products during this period: Matteo Ricci, Athanasius Kircher, Calderon, Corneille, Molière, Galileo, Descartes, Montesquieu, Leopold Mozart, Clavius, Rubens, Voltaire, St Francis De Sales, Talleyrand - to name a few.

On the whole, the Ratio appeared to strike a balance between structure and creativity, between a common approach and local circumstance. Perhaps there are lessons to be learnt in this for us as we move towards a national curriculum.

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Australian Jesuits.

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