Threshold Concepts as a Framework for Understanding our own Journey to Service-Learning

As we continue to explore the literature on the experiences of service-learning faculty, we have come across another recent article we thought the GW faculty would find interesting.

Harrison, B., Clayton, P. H., & Tilley-Lubbs, G. A. (2014). Troublesome Knowledge, Troubling Experience: An Inquiry into Faculty Learning in Service-Learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 20(2), 5.

Click here to link to the article.  (Note: you may need to be logged in to the GW Library system to navigate the link).

The authors encourage faculty to consider applying the scholarship of teaching and learning to our own journey as we learn to facilitate learning through service.  It is based on the theoretical framework of threshold concepts. Threshold concepts are, “those concepts on which a deep understanding of a field of practice and inquiry hinges and which, once understood, open a doorway to otherwise inaccessible ways of thinking.”

The central characteristics of threshold concepts and the three phases of that learning process are applied to the experience of faculty learning to practice service-learning. For example, one possible threshold concept for service-learning faculty is understanding that it is not the service experience, but the reflection and meaning-making on the experience that fosters learning.

What have been the threshold concepts to your learning to practice service-learning? What are the important concepts that opened the door to new ways of thinking about your work as an educator?  How can we use our experiences to mentor other GW faculty?