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A Discipline Divided: Can Threshold Concepts Exist in Political Science?

Dion Farganis, Assistant Professor Political Science, Elon University

Jason Kirk, Associate Professor of Political Science, Elon University

At last year’s Teaching and Learning Conference, British researcher Ray Land introduced our campus to Threshold Concepts, ideas that are crucial to a discipline but often difficult for novices to grasp because they embody highly disciplinary ways of knowing and thinking.  In this session, we will report the results of a small study of senior political science majors. Our results suggest that while some concepts may serve as disciplinary thresholds, it may be more helpful to focus on “portals” to the many sub-disciplines of Political Science. Participants will be guided in examining the value of exploring threshold concepts within their own disciplines.

Session Resources

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