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What we do

The Association for Reflective Practice in Theological Education (ARPTE) is an ecumenical organization of those involved in Supervised Theological Field Education (STFE).


The Association exists as a collegial body for dialogue, mutual support, and encouragement of practitioners in ways that “…Honour difference and expand our understandings and insights”. (John Paver, History of VATFE).


We also support the development and auditing of STFE programs and accrediting them with the Melbourne College of Divinity. The 17 member institutions and 10 individual members, including 2 life members within the association are engaged in intentional formation for ministry within a Christian context, and stimulating the reflective practice of ministry.


Some basic principles of adult learning that resonate with theories of experiential learning and with STFE are:

  • Prior learning is recognised and respected.

  • Learning is enhanced when there are ‘critical similarities between specific learning and specific performance contexts’.

  • Differences in learning style are respected and allowed for.

  • Experiential learning can lead to a transformation of previously held values and beliefs (operational theology).

(Drawn from Colin Hunter Supervised Theological Field Education: A Resource Manual for Supervision. Melbourne: Evangelical Theological Association, February 2004)


Some key educational principles which resonate with the collaborative emphasis of STFE:

  • Learning is social. It is a dynamic interactive between the collective and the individual.

  • Students learn through a process of interaction with others.

  • Peers, other adults or experts are important for learning.

  • Cooperative and peer group activities are important for learning.

  • Students will learn more if they can discover and talk to other students.

(Drawn from Cooper and Briggs, “Teaching and Learning in Human Services Fieldwork,” p.17.)

The purpose of ARPTE includes:
  • To present papers

  • To encourage research

  • To share resources

  • To establish and certify standards of Field Education programs according to the requirements of each member college (supervisory standards, program content etc.)

  • To review Field Education programs on request.

  • To make recommendations to the various accrediting bodies on request.

  • To stimulate mutual encouragement and problem solving.”

  • Through our activities we encourage progress towards these goals in Field Education. Personal development and self-awareneness.

  • Ministry competence and the development of skills for ministry.

  • Theological understanding through theological reflection.

  • Christian commitment and denominational identity.

  • Reflection on the personal, and communal spirituality.

  • Opportunities for practical ministry experience.


ARPTE supports field education workers and faculty, and facilitates research and discussion groups in Field Education.


ARPTE also facilitates offers accreditation and review processes, criteria and standards for Field Education programs.


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