Threshold Concepts and Transformational Learning

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Jan Meyer, Ray Land, Caroline Baillie
Sense Publishers, 2010 - Education - 444 pages
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Over the last decade the notion of 'threshold concepts' has proved influential around the world as a powerful means of exploring and discussing the key points of transformation that students experience in their higher education courses and the 'troublesome knowledge' that these often present. Threshold concepts provoke in the learner a state of 'liminality' in which transformation takes place, requiring the integration of new understanding and the letting go of previous learning stances. Insights gained by learners as they cross thresholds can be exhilarating but might also be unsettling, requiring an uncomfortable shift in identity, or, paradoxically, a sense of loss. The liminal space can be a suspended state of partial understanding, or 'stuck place', in which understanding approximates to a kind of 'mimicry'. Threshold Concepts and Transformational Learning substantially increases the empirical evidence for threshold concepts across a large number of disciplinary contexts and from the higher education sectors of many countries. This new volume develops further theoretical perspectives and provides fresh pedagogical directions. It will be of interest to teachers, practitioners and managers in all disciplines as well as to educational researchers. "This volume and its predecessors give ample evidence that threshold concepts entrance - they entrance scholars and teachers concerned with the nature and challenges of learning in the disciplines. Discourse around threshold concepts has proven to offer something of a common language, provoke reflection on the structure of disciplinary knowledge, and inspire investigations of learners' typical hang-ups and ways to help." David Perkins, Senior Professor of Education, Harvard University.

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About the author (2010)

Professor Ray Land is Professor of Higher Education Development and Director of the Centre for Higher Education Development at Coventry University. He previously taught at the University of Edinburgh. In addition to educational development, his curent research interests include theshold concepts and troublesome knowledge, and theoretical aspects of education in cyberspace.

Queens University Kingston, Ontario, Canada

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