Threshold Concepts in Practice Education – Grappling the Liminal Space for Social Sphere Practitioners

Aoife Prendergast

Abstract


Social sciences and humanities undergraduate education, particularly in the areas of early childhood education and applied social studies must engage with professional practice education. There is urgency for the need for practitioners and educationalists to communicate, and for practitioners to be aware of developments in educational theory. The idea of ‘threshold concepts’ is currently widely discussed by educationalists. Threshold concepts are described as areas of knowledge without which the learner cannot progress, and which, when grasped, lead to a transformation in the learner’s perspective and understanding. Threshold concepts have been criticized on conceptual grounds, and there is a lack of clarity as to how to identify them empirically. While they may represent a fruitful approach to the task of engaging humanities students in teaching, it is suggested that further development of the idea is required before it could be usefully applied. However empirical studies in other disciplines suggest that there may be associated benefits to the teaching of the discipline from trying to identify threshold knowledge. Practice education is one such component in undergraduate education where threshold concepts can be located and applied for future social sphere practitioners.


Full Text:

PDF

References


Atherton, J., Hadfield, P., & Meyers, R. (2008). Threshold Concepts in the Wild. Paper presented at the Threshold Concepts: from theory to practice conference, 18–20 June 2008. Queen’s University, Kingston Ontario.

Brookfield, S. (2006). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Carey, S. (1999). Sources of conceptual change. In E. K. Scholnick, K. Nelson, & P. Miller (Eds.), Conceptual development: Piaget’s legacy, pp. 293-326. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Cook-Sather, A. (2006). Newly betwixt and between: Revising liminality in the context of a teacher preparation program. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 37(2), 110–127.

Cove, M., McAdam, J., & McGonigal, J. (2008). Mentoring, teaching and professional transformation. In R. Land., J. Meyer & J. Smith (Eds.), Threshold Concepts within the Disciplines, pp.197-211. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Day, C., Sammons, P., Stobart, G., Kington, A., & Gu, Q. (2007). Teachers Matter: Connecting Lives, Work and Effectiveness. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Devitt, A., Oldham, E., & Kerin, M. (2011). Beginning a career of learning about learning: a case study of student teachers in an initial teacher education programme in Ireland. Paper presented at the 36th Annual Conference of the Association for Teacher Education in Europe, 24-28 August 2011. Riga, Latvia.

Heifetz, R., Grashow, A., & Linsky, M.(2009). The practice of adaptive leadership: tools and tactics for changing your organization and the world. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business Press.

Kiley, M. (2009). Identifying threshold concepts and proposing strategies to support doctoral candidates, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 46(3), 293–304.

Lipka, R. P., & Brinthaupt, T. M. (Eds.) (1999). The Role of Self in Teacher Development. Albany: SUNY Press.

Lloyd C., Bassett H., & King R (2002) Mental health: how well are occupational therapists equipped for a changed practice environment? Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 49(3), 163-66.

McLean, S. V. (1999). Becoming a Teacher: The Person in the Process. In R. P. Lipka., & T. M. Brinthaupt (Eds.), The role of self in teacher development, pp. 55-91. Albany: SUNY Press.

Mertler, C. A. (2006). Action research: Teachers as researchers in the classroom.

Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Meyer, J.H.F., & Land, R. (2003). Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge: linkages to ways of thinking and practising. In C. Rust (Ed.), Improving Student Learning - Theory and Practice Ten Years On, pp. 412-424. Oxford: OCSLD.

Meyer, J. H. F., & Land, R. (2005). Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge (2): Epistemological considerations and a conceptual framework for teaching and learning. Higher Education, 49. doi: 10.1007/s10734-004-6779-5

Meyer, J. H. F., R. Land, et al. (2010). Threshold Concepts and Transformational Learning. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Mezirow, J., & Taylor, E (Eds.). (2009). Transformative Learning in Practice. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.

Rowbottom, D. P. (2007). Demystifying threshold concepts. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 41(2), 263-270.

Turner, V. (1979). Betwixt and between: The liminal period in rites de passage. In W. Less., & E. Vogt (Eds.), Reader in comparative religion, pp. 234–243. New York: Harper and Row.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.