The field placement is where students learn by doing… and then reflecting on the doing… and then doing differently based on the reflection.
Students in the Diaconal Ministries program do three field placements over the course of their studies – one in the area of Spiritual Care, one focused on Social Justice, and one in Christian Education and Worship.
Students set up their own field placement (in consultation with Program Staff) that will…
- provide an opportunity to engage directly in experiences related to:
- Spiritual Care – eg. congregational setting, experience with funerals and support to people in grief, visiting, counselling
- Christian Education & Worship – eg. congregational setting, working with children or youth, adult education or bible study, experience preaching and worship leadership
- Social Justice – eg. organizational setting, involvement with a marginalized population outside student’s own experience
- be a stretch, personally and professionally
- further their individual learning goals
- run for approximately 8 months, with 330 hours of work over the course of 32 weeks (approx.. 10-12 hours per week)
CCS field placements generally run from September to May.
A good field placement will be open to having a ministry student offering leadership, will understand that students are required to be away from the field occasionally during the year for school obligations, and will be committed to sharing in the student’s education.
Some students, because of geography and circumstances, will have a number of options for their field placements. Other students will be more limited in their opportunities. All students need to work with what is available and possible. We also need to stress that a field placement is intended to be a time of growth and reflection.
For each field placement the student will have a Learning Facilitator. The relationship with the Learning Facilitator is crucial for the student’s growth and ministry formation. At the Centre for Christian Studies we use the terminology “Learning Facilitator”, as opposed to terms like supervisor, in order to indicate that the relationship is:
- primarily about the student’s learning and centered in the student’s goals and not about providing another worker for the ministry or agency setting
- involves facilitating learning within an atmosphere that permits mistakes, room for growth, and is not a competitive or boss-employee hierarchy.
Many students will have on-site facilitators with experience in the process of reflective learning and will be able to give direct feedback. In other situations, arrangements will need to be made for an off-site Learning Facilitator.
In preparation for a field placement, students submit a Field Proposal Form. This is reviewed by CCS program staff and revised by the student in conversation with program staff and their Learning Facilitator, until it becomes the Field Covenant – the agreement on how the placement will work and how everyone will relate to each other.