Threshold Concepts
may be considered to be
“akin to passing through a portal”
(Meyer and Land, 2004)
Peter Hadfield, Peter...
"A threshold concept can be considered as akin
to a portal, opening up a new and
previously inaccessible way of
thinking a...
Why Threshold concepts?
• Generic application for all subjects/disciplines, but
discipline specific for Interest groups to...
Political
Background
Legal
Aspects
Researchmethods
Ethics
Philosophies
/ models of
Practice
Discipline-
Specific
Theory
Pr...
The following material is from “Simple Minds” (written and produced
by Philip Sadler) shown on BBC2 on 19 September 1994
T...
Prelim
1
Exercise
in break
Plenary
discussion
Prelim
2
Main
argument
Introduction
This is the structure
of the presentation
Preliminary point 1; A little
of what we teach is just the
accumulation of discrete and
isolated facts
Remembering
Understanding
Applying
Analysing
Evaluating
Creating
Krathwohl and Anderson 2001, after Bloom, 1956
That appli...
Systems and
Arguments
All the other stuff emphasises
the connectedness and context
of ideas and concepts. Threshold
concep...
Prelim
1
Exercise
in break
Plenary
discussion
Prelim
2
Main
argument
Introduction
Hattie (2009) is an important
contribution to knowledge
about teaching. He has
always emphasised the
importance of feedbac...
Learner Teacher
From T to L on how
she is doing and how
to get better
From L to T on errors
and what T needs to
concentrat...
Time
Knowledge/skilletc.
This naive diagram
represents the view of
learning shared by most
policy-makers and managers
(eve...
Time
Knowledge/skilletc.
Once we engage with
threshold concepts,
however, we have to
recognise that the graph is
not a str...
Time
Knowledge/skilletc.
Liminal
trough
This is the “liminal”
experience (meaning “on the
edge”) of crossing a
threshold o...
Prelim
1
Exercise
in break
Plenary
discussion
Prelim
2TCs
Introduction
And so to the
characteristics of
Threshold Concepts
Transformative
Prelim
1
Exercise
in break
Plenary
discussion
Prelim
2TCs
Introduction
Why the T.A.R.D.I.S.?
Entering it is crossing a
transformative threshold; it’s
bigger on the inside that the
outside
Subject
Transformative
Prelim
1
Exercise
in break
Plenary
discussion
Prelim
2TCs
Introduction
The transformation will
appl...
Learner
Subject
Transformative
Prelim
1
Exercise
in break
Plenary
discussion
Prelim
2TCs
Introduction
It may also,
disconc...
Always use a
hand basin
provided
exclusively for
washing hands
Use comfortably
hot water. Rub
your hands
vigorously to
wor...
Troublesome
Transformative
Prelim
1
Exercise
in break
Plenary
discussion
Prelim
2TCs
Introduction
Because often
counter-in...
The sharpest tool is the safest tool
• “Wood is made out of thin air and sunlight? Get
real!”
• “The cost of production has nothing to do with
price? Rubbish!”...
“Well, that was a waste of time. I could have
been doing something or anything else more
productively”
(One response to a ...
Irreversible
Troublesome
Transformative
Prelim
1
Exercise
in break
Plenary
discussion
Prelim
2TCs
IntroductionYou may chan...
Once I can
read—
I can’t not
read
can
read—
I can’tnot
read
Once I can read—
I can’t not read
Once
I
can
read—
I
can’tnotr...
Integrative
Irreversible
Troublesome
Transformative
Prelim
1
Exercise
in break
Plenary
discussion
Prelim
2TCs
Introduction...
A gateway is opened
between previously
isolated parts of the subject
And again! By the way,
when you look back on
the first one, you may
not recognise it from the
other side...
Integrative
Bounded
Irreversible
Troublesome
Transformative
Prelim
1
Exercise
in break
Plenary
discussion
Prelim
2TCs
Intr...
Integrative
Bounded
Irreversible
Troublesome
Transformative
Prelim
1
Exercise
in break
Plenary
discussion
Prelim
2TCs
Intr...
• ...think back to when you were learning the
subject or skill set which you now teach, and identify
a Threshold Concept y...
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240410 annotated

  1. 1. Threshold Concepts may be considered to be “akin to passing through a portal” (Meyer and Land, 2004) Peter Hadfield, Peter Wolstencroft and James Atherton
  2. 2. "A threshold concept can be considered as akin to a portal, opening up a new and previously inaccessible way of thinking about something. It represents a transformed way of understanding, or interpreting, or viewing something without which the learner cannot progress." (Meyer and Land, 2003:412)
  3. 3. Why Threshold concepts? • Generic application for all subjects/disciplines, but discipline specific for Interest groups to ‘uncover’ • A new way of looking at content  Must know  Should know  Could know • About more than teaching & learning a subject
  4. 4. Political Background Legal Aspects Researchmethods Ethics Philosophies / models of Practice Discipline- Specific Theory Professional Studies Practice skills Technology Values In vocational or professional education, the amorphous green background represents what the student needs to learn, but it is never fully covered by the formal curriculum represented by the geometrical shapes Threshold concepts open up the opportunity to address this other material
  5. 5. The following material is from “Simple Minds” (written and produced by Philip Sadler) shown on BBC2 on 19 September 1994 This video material is not incorporated directly in the on-line slide show, but may be found with commentary at; http://www.doceo.co.uk/tools/thresholds_7.ht m
  6. 6. Prelim 1 Exercise in break Plenary discussion Prelim 2 Main argument Introduction This is the structure of the presentation
  7. 7. Preliminary point 1; A little of what we teach is just the accumulation of discrete and isolated facts
  8. 8. Remembering Understanding Applying Analysing Evaluating Creating Krathwohl and Anderson 2001, after Bloom, 1956 That applies only to the bottom level of the revised taxonomy in the cognitive domain
  9. 9. Systems and Arguments All the other stuff emphasises the connectedness and context of ideas and concepts. Threshold concepts are about open up connected areas of knowledge
  10. 10. Prelim 1 Exercise in break Plenary discussion Prelim 2 Main argument Introduction
  11. 11. Hattie (2009) is an important contribution to knowledge about teaching. He has always emphasised the importance of feedback...
  12. 12. Learner Teacher From T to L on how she is doing and how to get better From L to T on errors and what T needs to concentrate on ...to the learner. Now he stresses the importance of feedback from the learner to the teacher, about the extent and limitations of the learner’s understanding. This is particularly critical concerning the acquisition of threshold concepts.
  13. 13. Time Knowledge/skilletc. This naive diagram represents the view of learning shared by most policy-makers and managers (even those who used to be teachers...)
  14. 14. Time Knowledge/skilletc. Once we engage with threshold concepts, however, we have to recognise that the graph is not a straight line, and that uncertainty, confusion and regression is a likely part of the process
  15. 15. Time Knowledge/skilletc. Liminal trough This is the “liminal” experience (meaning “on the edge”) of crossing a threshold of understanding.
  16. 16. Prelim 1 Exercise in break Plenary discussion Prelim 2TCs Introduction And so to the characteristics of Threshold Concepts
  17. 17. Transformative Prelim 1 Exercise in break Plenary discussion Prelim 2TCs Introduction
  18. 18. Why the T.A.R.D.I.S.? Entering it is crossing a transformative threshold; it’s bigger on the inside that the outside
  19. 19. Subject Transformative Prelim 1 Exercise in break Plenary discussion Prelim 2TCs Introduction The transformation will apply to your understanding of a subject (the epistemological element), but...
  20. 20. Learner Subject Transformative Prelim 1 Exercise in break Plenary discussion Prelim 2TCs Introduction It may also, disconcertingly, apply to your understanding of yourself (the ontological element)
  21. 21. Always use a hand basin provided exclusively for washing hands Use comfortably hot water. Rub your hands vigorously to work in the soap Don’t forget the areas in between your fingers and around your wrists Rinse your hands before drying them Now wash your hands! (Issue suggested by Catering Interest Group at a previous Study Day) It’s not only that there is more to washing your hands than you thought, but the fact that you learn to pay so much attention to it also says something about you. You are becoming someone who is professionally concerned about cleanliness
  22. 22. Troublesome Transformative Prelim 1 Exercise in break Plenary discussion Prelim 2TCs Introduction Because often counter-intuitive
  23. 23. The sharpest tool is the safest tool
  24. 24. • “Wood is made out of thin air and sunlight? Get real!” • “The cost of production has nothing to do with price? Rubbish!” • “So you are saying that the fact that someone’s legs don’t work is not a disability? Come on!” • “In a vacuum, a feather falls at the same speed as a lead shot? No way!”
  25. 25. “Well, that was a waste of time. I could have been doing something or anything else more productively” (One response to a previous Study Day) Although sometimes we actually know a threshold concept already, without recognising its significance. This is a common- sense statement of “opportunity cost”, a critical TC in economics!
  26. 26. Irreversible Troublesome Transformative Prelim 1 Exercise in break Plenary discussion Prelim 2TCs IntroductionYou may change your understanding of a TC, but you can’t go back to where you were before you got it.
  27. 27. Once I can read— I can’t not read can read— I can’tnot read Once I can read— I can’t not read Once I can read— I can’tnotread Once I can read— I can’t not read OnceIcanread— Ican’tnotread Once I can readI can’t not read Once I can read— I can’t not read
  28. 28. Integrative Irreversible Troublesome Transformative Prelim 1 Exercise in break Plenary discussion Prelim 2TCs Introduction TCs create and open up connections between areas of a subject
  29. 29. A gateway is opened between previously isolated parts of the subject
  30. 30. And again! By the way, when you look back on the first one, you may not recognise it from the other side...
  31. 31. Integrative Bounded Irreversible Troublesome Transformative Prelim 1 Exercise in break Plenary discussion Prelim 2TCs Introduction Much about the boundaries of subject and disciplines; indeed, its TCs may define a subject.
  32. 32. Integrative Bounded Irreversible Troublesome Transformative Prelim 1 Exercise in break Plenary discussion Prelim 2TCs Introduction
  33. 33. • ...think back to when you were learning the subject or skill set which you now teach, and identify a Threshold Concept you learned, and how it changed your understanding and/or practice. • Meet with one or two others from the same area... • Swap ideas, and use the check-list to test whether a threshold concept is the genuine article. • In the plenary, we shall ask some of you to share your ideas, and we’ll discuss them with you. Briefing for the exercise in the refreshment break Check-list items are the features identified earlier

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