Threshold Concepts in Practice

Book Description and Table of Contents

Threshold Concepts in Practice (2016)
Edited by Ray Land, Jan H. F. Meyer and Michael T Flanagan

Educational Futures: Rethinking Theory and Practice, Michael A Peters (Series Editor), volume 68
Sense Publishers, Rotterdam/Boston/Taipei, 2016

ISBN: 978-94-6300-510-4 (paperback), ISBN: 978-94-6300-511-1 (hardback), ISBN: 978-94-6300-512-8 (e-book)

Threshold Concepts in Practice brings together fifty researchers from sixteen countries and a wide variety of disciplines to analyse their teaching practice, and the learning experiences of their students, through the lens of the Threshold Concepts Framework.

In any discipline, there are certain concepts - the ‘jewels in the curriculum’ - whose acquisition is akin to passing through a portal. Learners enter new conceptual (and often affective) territory. Previously inaccessible ways of thinking or practising come into view, without which they cannot progress, and which offer a transformed internal view of subject landscape, or even world view.

These conceptual gateways are integrative, exposing the previously hidden interrelatedness of ideas, and are irreversible. However they frequently present troublesome knowledge and are often points at which students become stuck. Difficulty in understanding may leave the learner in a ‘liminal’ state of transition, a ‘betwixt and between’ space of knowing and not knowing, where understanding can approximate to a form of mimicry. Learners navigating such spaces report a sense of uncertainty, ambiguity, paradox, anxiety, even chaos. The liminal space may equally be one of awe and wonderment. Thresholds research identifies these spaces as key transformational points, crucial to the learner’s development but where they can oscillate and remain for considerable periods. These spaces require not only conceptual but ontological and discursive shifts.

This volume, the fourth in a tetralogy on Threshold Concepts, discusses student experiences, and the curriculum interventions of their teachers, in a range of disciplines and professional practices including medicine, law, engineering, architecture and military education.

The majority of chapters in this book are developments of talks first presented at the Fifth International Biennial Threshold Concepts Conference: Threshold Concepts in Practice, Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom, 9-11 July, 2014.

Table of Contents

  Glynis Cousin

Preface: Threshold Concepts in Practice     xi


Part 1: Theoretical Directions
1.  On the Threshold with Students
Peter Felten
2.  Toil and Trouble: Threshold Concepts as a Pedagogy of Uncertainty
Ray Land

3  Integrated Threshold Concept Knowledge
Jan H. F. Meyer and Julie A. Timmermans

4.  The Career of Threshold Concepts in a Large-Lecture History Course: An Examination of Uptake of Disciplinary Actions
Susannah McGowan

5.  A Threshold Concept Framework for Use Across Disciplines
Beth A. White, Taimi Olsen and David Schumann

Part 2: Negotiating Liminality
6.  Affective Dimensions of Liminality
Julie Rattray
7.  Ambivalence, Hybridity and Liminality: The Case of Military Education
Ahmad Thamrini F. Syed Mohamed, Ray Land and Julie Rattray
8.  Learning Experiences and the Liminality of Expertise
Virginia M. Tucker
9.  Stuck at the Threshold:
Which Strategies Do Students Choose When Facing Liminality within Certain Disciplines at a Business School?
Terje Berg, Morten Erichsen and Leif M. Hokstad

Part 3: Threshold Concepts and Interdisciplinarity
10.  ‘Threshold Guardians’: Threshold Concepts as Guardians of the Discipline
Jason Davies
11.  Building Blocks: Threshold Concepts and Interdisciplinary Structures of Learning
Aminul Huq, Marcia D. Nichols and Bijaya Aryal

Part 4: The Doctoral Journey
12.  The Importance of Liminal Space for Doctoral Success: Exploring Methodological Threshold Concepts
Michelle Salmona, Dan Kaczynski and Leigh N. Wood
13.  Beyond Blockages to Ownership, Agency and Articulation: Liminal Spaces and Conceptual Threshold Crossing in Doctoral Learning
Gina Wisker

Part 5: Threshold Concepts in Professional Practice

14  Modular Approach and Innovations in an Engineering Program Design
Anthony Parker and Daniel McGill
15.  What to Do with a Threshold Concept: A Case Study
Jan H. F. Meyer, David B. Knight, Tom E. Baldock, David P. Callaghan, Julie McCredden and Liza O’Moore
16  Make Links: Overcoming the Threshold and Entering the Portal of Understanding
Anna-Karin Carstensen and Jonte Bernhard

17.  Becoming a Different Doctor: Identifying Threshold Concepts When Doctors in Training Spend Six Months with a Hospital Palliative Care Team
Andy Wearn, Anne O’Callaghan and Mark Barrow

18.  Exploring Sources of Trouble in Research Learning for Undergraduate Nurses
Linda Martindale, Ray Land, Julie Rattray and Lorraine Anderson

Computer Science
19.  How NOT to Identify Threshold Concepts
Dermot Shinners-Kennedy
20.  Discussion of Methods for Threshold Research and an Application in Computer Science
Bert Zwaneveld, Jacob Perrenet and Roel Bloo

Legal Practice
21.  Navigating Our Threshold Concepts to Enable Students to Overcome Theirs
Marianne Dickie and Ilona Van Galen

22.  Threshold Concepts and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
Andrea S. Webb
23.  Knowledge, Belief and Practice in Language Teacher Education: Integration and Implementation of Threshold Concepts over a Teaching Career
David Moroney, Eugene McKendry and Ann Devitt

24.  Transformative Learning in Architectural Education: Re-Thinking Architecture and the Education of Architecture
Leif M. Hokstad, Gro Rødne, Bjørn Otto Braaten, Steffen Wellinger and Fredrik Shetelig

About the Contributors     335

Index     349

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