The DJK Institute Learning Contract

Create Your Learning Contract

The Pastoral Training Model: The Residency Learning Contract

A Learning Contract (“LC”) is an agreement made between an instructor or supervisor and a student. The terms of learning contract vary according to institutional goals and student desires. Essentially, the learning contract is a way to introduce accountability for one’s learning goals. Research has proven that such covenantal instruments have a positive effect on self-motivated or institutionally recommended learning initiatives.

In the Residency Phase (Phase II) of the Pastoral Training Model the student enters into a learning contract with the pastoral supervisor for books read and other supplemental material. An example is included in this instruction. Additional learning contracts may be created to meet mutually agreeable goals in the course of the residency phase (e.g., theological or vocational reflection reveals a need for deeper learning in a respective competency).

The learning contract should have the following features:

1. Cover Sheet

1.1. A Learning Contract between the Pastoral Training Model and Your Name

1.2. Project (e.g., Read The Saints Everlasting Rest by Richard Baxter

1.3. Date

2. The LC is based on pastoral competencies of the Pastoral Training Model.

3. The LC is based on the Resident’s goals (for a given month, or a quarter, or the entire residence year).

4. The LC should be reviewed by an accountability partner.

This would normally be one’s pastoral supervisor.

5. The LC Should be clearly stated.

Consider the following example of a learning contract objective: Example: Learning objective: To Conduct interviews with pastors of service over 30 years. The goal of the interviews is to discover common themes in sustainable ministries. I will produce a short 8 to 10 page paper that I will submit for publication as a white paper for the D. James Kennedy Institute for Reformed Leadership.

6. The LC will meet the S.M.A. R.T. goals for an objective: “SMART goals are:

Specific (Give a detailed description.)

– Measurable (How will you know you’ve achieved it?)

– Achievable (Is your objective reasonable?)

– Results-oriented (Phrase with the end result in mind.)

– Time-phased (Include a deadline.)” (Peterson, How to Write a Learning Contract, 2022).

5. Steps to developing the Pastoral Training Model Residency Phase Learning Contract (as a supplemental “covenant” between resident and supervisor (or with one’s self).

5.1. Identify the learning goals.

5.2. Identify people

5.3. Identify resources.

5.4. State your timeline.

5.5. What are threats to success?

5.6. What are motivations?

6. Additional instructions.


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