Our Taster Module scheme is there for people who are considering ordained or licenced ministry, but who have not yet reached the stage when they are ready to join a full-scale Church-sponsored programme. Meanwhile, others who join just want to get a feel for the experience of study within our college and community, but without making too big a commitment at the outset.
The ‘Taster Students’, who study with regular student cohorts, enjoy a proactive package of support designed to help them get their studies off the ground and build their confidence.
Before the module begins they have an individual discussion with Revd Dr Stephen Laird (Tutor for New Testament, but also acting as Tutor for Taster Students), who explores with them their needs and concerns, and chats with them about their church and ministry contexts, and their expectations of the module. Later on, he is able to give additional advice about how to approach assignments, and makes sure that the students are accessing the resources they need and are ‘on the right track’.
As Stephen stays in close touch with the teacher of the module, it’s also possible to ensure that particular issues are addressed in class, as appropriate. The Tutor for Taster students is involved with marking their assignments, and takes special care to offer the kind of feedback which will stand them in good stead for future study: the vast majority of Taster Students stay with us for further modules, and/or go on to undertake a full programme of training.
At the end of the 2020 Taster Module Stephen Laird said, “The progress of the students on the Taster Module scheme has proved that it is never too early (or too late!) to embark on theological study, and St Augustine’s provides an ideal context, where students feel connected and are given individual, sympathetic support”.
At present, the module we offer for this scheme is An Introduction to Biblical Studies, led by the Revd Dr Simon Stocks, and you can find out more about it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gqRTsYsJ0Q&feature=youtu.be