Mediaeval take on Threshold Concepts
Knowledge of good and evil is, in the mythology of the Abrahamic faiths, the ultimate Threshold Concept, as discussed by Meyer and Land (2006);
"In the Brothers Limbourg's depiction of The Fall and Expulsion from Paradise (1415), a serpent with a human face passes the fruit of the tree of knowledge to a curious Eve. The consequences of this acceptance of a knowledge which proves to be troublesome are arrayed sequentially in the tableau that this painting presents. What appears is that as Eve, and then Adam, gain access to this troubling knowledge, their world changes around them. They can no longer stay where they are, in a comfortable and familiar place, much as they might wish to. They are unceremoniously moved on by a rather forbidding scarlet angel and ushered firmly through an imposing gateway, a threshold, into a different kind of space. The expressions on these medieval faces suggest that this new space, this transformed landscape, no longer feels like home. They wish to return. The new space feels, to use Freud's famous phrase, unheimlich - unhomely or strange. However the scarlet angel covers their means of retreat. This new state is irreversible. Adam and Eve have in fact learned. They see the landscape now very differently. They have gained a new understanding and their identity has shifted, as signified by the fig leaves with which they are adorned in the final section of the tableau. They have grown up. They have become adult and have left a world of innocence. However, their gain feels like loss. Their new knowledge is troublesome.
Meyer J H F and Land R (2006) Overcoming Barriers to Student Learning
London; Routledge p.xiv
- An introductory paper from one angle
- An introductory paper coming from a different angle
- What we don't yet know about threshold concepts
- What is not a threshold concept
- Video material on threshold concepts
And one which relates the ideas to other aspects of learning and teaching
(read after the further reading above)
- Meyer and Land on Adam and Eve
- Is "Health and Safety" a threshold concept? (Discussion paper)
- The paper based on the Study Days presented at the international conference on Threshold Concepts held in Kingston Ontario 18-20 June 08. (Acrobat file)
- A March 2009 paper introducing the expanded idea of whether there may be threshold topics in the psycho-motor and affective domains as well, with links to slides.
- A further introductory session on video, including the plenary discussion of an exercise on identifying TCs. (April 2010)
- A presentation exploring TCs in relation to professional ways of thinking and practising (November 2011)
- A presentation and paper exploring how the structure and culture of educational institutions defend against liminality and hence precule learning through TCs: Atherton, Hadfield and Wolstencroft (June 2012)
- Keynotes from the Third Biennial Symposium on Threshold Concepts in July 2010 (these do assume prior understanding of the principles, and each video is almost an hour)
- David Perkins on Threshold Experience. Some thoughts arising on my blog.
- Ray Land on Interdisciplinarity.
- Erik Meyer and Mick Flanagan on Episteme.
- Mick Flanagan's Introduction and Bibliography of Threshold Concepts.