Placements are integral to the formation of all ministers, lay and ordained. The aim of placements is not only to broaden students’ experience of different ministerial settings and traditions, but also to help them make links between academic and experiential learning. Theological Reflection provides one tool for making such links. The Rev’d Liz Shercliff, one of the investigators on this project, is about to publish a book on theological reflection in practical contexts (Straw for the Bricks, SCM). This project will investigate formational development that will encourage students to reflect on as wide a range of experience as possible, and to develop receptivity to learning both from the total experience and from apparently insignificant incidents, even from unexpected or unwelcome sources. Receptivity is the characteristic that facilitates learning from the ‘edge’ rather than focusing simply on normative answers.
Specifically, this project will examine how students on pathways for Reader Ministry might develop receptivity prior to and during placements in contexts different from their own. Receptive learners will discern both personal attitudes that might hinder learning, and opportunities to learn in ways that develop their ministry and character. The more receptive they are, the more likely they are to learn from unanticipated sources in unexpected ways. The project will seek ways of widening the focus of placement from acquiring skills to personal development, linking formal training with placement experience by developing receptivity in students before they take up placements.
Download the Shercliffe Report.