‘DOING’ HISTORY: WHAT MAY LIMINAL SPACE AND TRANSITION TIME EXPOSE DURING THE PROCESS

Cronin, James (2012) ‘DOING’ HISTORY: WHAT MAY LIMINAL SPACE AND TRANSITION TIME EXPOSE DURING THE PROCESS. In: National Academy’s Sixth Annual Conference and the Fourth Biennial Threshold Concepts Conference. Threshold Concepts: from personal practice to communities of practice, 2012, June 28 - 29 2012, Trinity College Dublin., Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.

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Abstract

Meyer and Land (2006) liken the crossing of learning thresholds to a ‘rite of passage’ in which a transitional or liminal space has to be traversed. Tutors, in early formation, may get stuck in a liminal space between crossing from students to disciplinarians or ‘stewards of the discipline’ (Golde and Walker, 2006). This paper, prepared in collaboration with postgraduate tutors in the School of History, University College Cork, focuses on challenges involved in mentoring graduates newly come to teaching an academic discipline. It employs a ‘decoding the discipline’ approach, following the work of Díaz et al. in 2008, to make explicit some of the liminal tensions affecting tutors’ shifting notions of selfhood and identity over time. Over the duration of an academic year, through mentored face-to-face seminars and online peer-to-peer discussions, ten history tutors were asked to interrogate their own teaching: (i) To reflect on their own learning by examining the ‘bottlenecks’ to understanding they encountered in learning the discipline of history (Díaz et al., 2008). This allowed tutors to better understand what it is to be a novice being inducted into a discipline, why their own students get stuck, and how best to help them. Reflecting on experiences of learning provides insights about their own encounters with disciplinary concepts and how they did – or did not – come to understand them (McLean, 2009). (ii) To chart their own processes in teaching history by examining disciplinary thresholds through dialogue with their peers. This was to encourage a collaborative examination of the process of disciplinary learning, and to reveal some of their tacit beliefs and to manifest assumptions they may make about the ways their students learn. Teacher narrative exposed formation as a liminal state showing that changes in subjectivity involve messy journeys back and forth across conceptual and affective terrains.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Depositing User: National Forum
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2015 20:29
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2015 20:29
URI: http://eprints.teachingandlearning.ie/id/eprint/2094

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