Threshold concepts and ‘troublesome’ students: The uneasy application of threshold concepts to marginalised students

Article


Davis, Charmaine and Green, Jonathan H.. 2023. "Threshold concepts and ‘troublesome’ students: The uneasy application of threshold concepts to marginalised students." Teaching in Higher Education. 28 (2), pp. 286-300. https://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2020.1799972
Article Title

Threshold concepts and ‘troublesome’ students: The uneasy application of threshold concepts to marginalised students

ERA Journal ID19316
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsDavis, Charmaine (Author) and Green, Jonathan H. (Author)
Journal TitleTeaching in Higher Education
Journal Citation28 (2), pp. 286-300
Number of Pages16
Year2023
PublisherRoutledge
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN1356-2517
1470-1294
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2020.1799972
Web Address (URL)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13562517.2020.1799972
Abstract

For efficient and effective learning, intensive-mode programs have increasingly focused on threshold concepts – transformative, often- troublesome, moments in learning that represent the development of key knowledge. Threshold concept theory has support in the context of content-based, disciplinary domains, but questions remain about its applicability to curricula that have broader aims. This study investigated the ‘fit’ of threshold concept theory to participants, many of them previously marginalized, in an intensive Widening Participation (WP) program at a regional university in Australia. Thematic analysis of data from focus groups, comprised of students and teachers respectively, revealed that participants perceived not only the development of key conceptual knowledge as integral to learning, but that they also recognized that acculturation, metacognition, and affective attributes were important for success. This finding suggests that a narrow focus on academic knowledge – (both content- and skills-related) – is inadequate in programs that aim to include previously marginalized students in higher education.

KeywordsWidening participation; higher education; curriculum and instruction; threshold concepts
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390303. Higher education
390102. Curriculum and pedagogy theory and development
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Byline AffiliationsUSQ College
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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