Context Analysis of a Field Education Placement
This exercise is designed to help you reflect on the nature and context of your Field Education placement. It is intended to help you dig deeper into the realities, dynamics, nuances, and contradictions of your placement so that you might better understand your role and function within that placement. It is also meant to prompt your own thinking/feeling about what it will be like to work at this placement for the duration of the field education experience.
Some of these questions will be difficult, if not impossible, for you to answer at this early juncture of your experience. You are asked to simply do the best you can with the information that is available to you. Your supervisor (or others on sight) may be able to help you with this information.
You may want to spend one of your supervisory sessions talking about some of these matters with your supervisor. You will be asked to share this with your Seminar on Ministry group early in the semester. A written copy of your Context Analysis is to be turned into the Field Education office with your other documents by December 15.
I. WHAT IS THIS PLACEMENT ABOUT?
- What do you perceive as its reason for being in the world?
- What is its stated mission? (How is that communicated?)
- Who is its constituency?
- Describe demographic characteristics of the people served by this placement (distribution by age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, marital status, economic class)
II. BRICKS AND MORTAR
- Where is the placement located?
- What do you know about the neighborhood in which it is located?
- What is the physical plant like?
- Is the physical plant an asset or liability? Why?
III. WALKING THE TALK
- What does this placement actually do or provide to meet the needs of its constituency?
- Do you perceive gaps between needs and programs? Where?
- How does this placement define "success"? OR How would you define "success" for this placement?
IV. WHO'S IN CHARGE?
- Who are the most influential or powerful people? What are their positions?
- Does leadership seem to be concentrated in one or a few people, or widely shared?
- What is the most common style of leadership - autocratic, democratic, collegial, other?
- How is leadership chosen?
- How are conflicts addressed and resolved?
V. YOUR ROLE
- What are your major responsibilities at the placement?
- What personal strengths of yours will help you function effectively at this placement?
VI. SOME EARLY HUNCHES
- Describe a concern in this placement around which there seems to be some heightened feeling, energy, or tension on the part of those at the placement.
- Describe an issue which you believe you will encounter in a significant way in this placement (It may be an issue of pastoral practice, theology, ethics, etc.)
- What worries you about being at this placement?
- What excites you the most about this placement?