Threshold Concepts and Professional Formation
This page supports a paper given to a faculty seminar at the University of Lincoln on 15 November 2011. The first part covers fairly familiar territory and so is addressed by reference to other papers on this site and an annotated version of the presentation I used. The second part was not dealt with in the session, but takes the argument into some rather more speculative thoughts about the management of liminality in the context of the education of professionals, drawing on my earlier discussion of Learning as Loss. That is taking longer than expected to prepare, and will be posted as soon as possible.
"Threshold Concepts in the Wild".
References for the presentation:
Entwistle, N (2005). "Learning outcomes and ways of thinking across contrasting disciplines and settings in higher education." The Curriculum Journal Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 67-82 (also available on-line; retrieved from http://www.etl.tla.ed.ac.uk/docs/EntwistleLOs.pdf 28 November 2011.)Hassel H, Reddinger A, Van Slooten J (2011) “Surfacing the Structures of Patriarchy: Teaching and Learning Threshold Concepts in Women’s Studies” International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Vol. 5, No. 2 (on-line, retrieved from http://academics.georgiasouthern.edu/ijsotl/v5n2/articles/Hassel_et_al/index.html 14 Nov 2011
Hudson L (1967) Contrary Imaginations; a psychological study of the English Schoolboy Harmondsworth: Penguin
*La Fontaine, J S (1985) Initiation: ritual drama and secret knowledge across the world London; Penguin
Lave J and Wenger E (1991) Situated Learning: legitimate peripheral participation Cambridge: Cambridge University PressMeyer J and Land R (2003) Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: Linkages to Ways of Thinking and Practising within the Disciplines Edinburgh; Enhancing Teaching-Learning Environments in Undergraduate Courses Project, Occasional Paper 4 [on-line, UK] available http://www.tla.ed.ac.uk/etl/docs/ETLreport4.pdf (accessed 28 November 2011) [This is I think the first formulation of the definition cited as 2006 in the presentation.]
Murray S (2009) "Sandbars and Thresholds; helping students through troublesome knowledge" Paper presented at the 29th annual conference of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, University of New Brunswick, 17-20 June 2009. (for reference to the Tardis, but not just that!)
Perkins D (2008) “Beyond Understanding” in R Land, J Meyer and J Smith (eds.) Threshold Concepts within the Disciplines Rotterdam; Sense Publishers, (p. 13)
Perkins D (2010) “Threshold Experience” keynote given at 3rd Biennial Threshold Concepts Symposium, UNSW, Sydney 1-2 July 2010 (online, available http://www.thresholdconcepts2010.unsw.edu.au/speakers.html retrieved 14 November 2011)
Plato (c. 360 BCE) The Republic (tr. B Jowett) on-line; available http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.4.iii.html accessed 28 November 2011
*Singh S and Ernst E (2008) Trick or Treatment? Alternative medicine on trial London; Bantam Press
Van Gennep A (1909) The Rites of Passage (trans.) Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960
Wenger E (1998) Communities of Practice; learning, meaning and identity Cambridge; Cambridge University Press
* These sources were not directly referred to in the presentation but provide some evidence base for points made in discussion.
Links arising from the discussion:
We got onto a brief mention of the venerable notion of frames of reference, in the context of Perkins' ideas about knowledge as object, tool or frame. My take on frames of reference is here. After the session, Aileen asked about more recent work in the field--of course it got transformed into the idea of discourses and hi-jacked by cultural theorists. Perhaps we can have it back now!
- 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.