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ERIC Number: EJ1016579
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 29
Crossing Thresholds: Identifying Conceptual Transitions in Postsecondary Teaching
Wilcox, Susan; Leger, Andy B.
Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, v4 n2 Article 7 2013
In this paper we report on research we conducted to begin the process of identifying threshold concepts in the field of postsecondary teaching. Meyer & Land (2006) propose that within all disciplinary fields there seem to be particular "threshold concepts" that serve as gateways, opening up new and previously inaccessible ways of thinking and practicing. We developed a series of questions focusing on the "troublesome" and "transformative" characteristics of threshold concepts and asked these questions of several constituent groups, including those who are new to practice and the body of knowledge in postsecondary teaching and those who are already knowledgeable and/or experienced in the field. Based on our interpretation of participants' responses, we identified four recognized concepts in the field of postsecondary teaching as potential threshold concepts in this field: Assessment "for/as" learning; Learning-centred teaching; Accommodation for diversity; and, Context-driven practice. Our findings suggest that threshold concepts are relevant to the field of postsecondary teaching. Through this work, we hope to help educational developers and faculty members consider what is involved in learning to teach and developing teaching expertise, and to encourage critical discussion about the teaching development "curriculum" in postsecondary settings. Threshold concepts arise as a field develops and are defined as practitioners and scholars in the field define their field. At this stage, we believe the real value of threshold concepts for postsecondary teaching lies in the discussion that arises in the process of identifying and naming the concepts.
Descriptors: Postsecondary Education, Higher Education, Concept Formation, College Faculty, Teaching (Occupation), Teacher Competencies, Educational Development, Transformative Learning, Beginning Teachers, Teacher Education, Reflection, Master Teachers, Faculty Development, Comparative Analysis, Thinking Skills
Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Mills Memorial Library Room 504, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L6, Canada. Tel: 905-525-9140; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.cjsotl-rcacea.ca
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A