Engaging conceptual learning about threshold concepts with pots and pans
Keywords:Threshold concepts, Learning Development, Teaching and Learning
This paper discusses a recent session delivered to teachers on a MastersÃ¢â¬â¢ (MEd) programme, with a strong emphasis on enhancing professional practice, at a university in the north west of England. The aim of the session was to develop an understanding of threshold concepts for curriculum design by using a novel and practical approach to engage the teachers who deliver higher education, across a variety of subject areas, in further education colleges. What initially felt to be an unexpected and strange learning environment for the teachers (using a hands-on experiential approach with pots and pans) enabled a detailed focus on subject pedagogy (Cousins, 2010) and awareness of metalearning about threshold concepts (Ward and Meyer, 2010). The session supported the teachers, as learners, to move from seeing threshold concepts simply as Ã¢â¬Ëtroublesome knowledgeÃ¢â¬â¢ (Meyer and Land, 2005; Land et al 2005) towards something that was transformative and that could usefully be integrated into their practice. The session, which presented threshold concepts as a threshold concept itself, challenged both our own and the teachersÃ¢â¬â¢ assumptions about curriculum design in subject teaching encouraging a greater understanding of how to embed threshold concepts within subject pedagogy and learning activities (Davies and Mangan, 2006).
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