Field-Based Learning and Contextual Education
Theological field education is at the heart of our efforts to prepare leaders through a combination of traditional classroom studies and practical experiential learning. Field education not only prepares students to do the basic tasks of ministry, but it also enables them to know themselves and develop their arts of leadership. Field education helps students develop skills of reflection and helps them approach ministry challenges creatively.
At Claremont School of Theology, students enroll in field education during their second year of full-time study. The Office of Field Education places them in ministry settings that are appropriate to each student's vocational discernment. This means that one student might work in a home for children, while another serves as a student pastor of a congregation. Students work 10-12 hours a week in the ministry setting and are entrusted with the full range of ministry responsibilities, including preaching, teaching, counseling and leading worship. They also participate in a weekly reflective seminar on campus to discuss what is happening in their setting and work together to find both practical ministry approaches as well as the deeper meaning. Students are supervised at their placements by a Supervising Mentor who is trained and appointed by the Office of Field Education. Additionally, students work with a group of five to six lay people at their placement. This group helps the students develop skills of theological reflection in context.
Ministry in today's challenging environment calls for leaders who are prepared with basic skills, as well as with depth of faith that will carry them through uncertain times. Field education seeks to support students' faith development, vocational discernment, and formation as leaders. It is an exciting program for students who come to seminary with eagerness to offer their gifts in service to the church and wider community.
Claremont places particular emphasis on developing skills for ministry in the urban setting. By drawing upon the Los Angeles environment, this program enables students to learn in settings rich in multicultural challenges. For more information on urban ministry programs, contact Helene Slessarev-Jamir, Mildred M. Hutchinson Associate Professor of Urban Ministries, at (909) 447-2542 or firstname.lastname@example.org