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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Enhancing Teaching-Learning Environments in Undergraduate Courses

Grant reference: L139251099

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Book chapter details

TLRP: Threshold concepts in Economics - A case study
This chapter documents a collaborative investigation of students’ developing understanding of two threshold concepts in Economics which was carried out in the context of the Enhancing Teaching-Learning Environments in Undergraduate Courses (ETL) project. The notion of a threshold concept is part of the larger conceptual framework developed by the ETL project. The main issues here are whether it provides practitioners with a novel and useful pedagogic tool and whether thinking about teaching-learning environments in terms of threshold concepts has the potential to enhance them. Many of the economists who were interviewed identified concepts which they regarded as thresholds for their discipline and some of them suggested that threshold concepts may be particularly important at the beginning of an Economics degree course. The findings of this case study can only be tentative and point to the need for more research. Such research ought to comprise investigations of the various possibilities for accessing students’ understanding of threshold concepts, including different threshold concepts in different disciplines. The data provided an indication of some of those features of the teaching-learning environment which may promote or hinder the acquisition of threshold concepts. More systematic research is needed to establish a clearer understanding of the exact nature of teaching-learning environments which enable students to grasp threshold concepts, and such research should include an element of classroom observation. In addition, further research into the way in which the notion of a threshold concept impacts on teachers’ practice and their conceptions of teaching and learning is needed as well as research into students’ experiences of ‘crossing the threshold’.
Original Document

Primary contributor

Author N Reimann

Additional details