My reflections on the educator interview data appeared to be boiling down into two potential interpretative perspectives:
- Using Bloom’s taxonomy of learning (or another more appropriate taxonomy), specifically (with Bloom) the dimension of affective knowledge and attitudes – examining how these things are developed in students.
- Using the educator’s view of the purpose of entrepreneurship education – their philosophy of education to define their approach to doing it. Threshold concepts would depend on the educators’ views of the purpose of entrepreneurship and enterprise education in a higher educational context. This would be where the About/Through/For perspective would emerge, and also the development across the continuum of pedagogy/andragogy/heutagogy….
So all excited after thinking these thoughts, and having just read a paper:
Neck, H. M., & Corbett, A. C. (2018). The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy, 1(1), 8-41.
which both seemed to summarise my own conclusions and help further unravel some of my problems with drawing conclusions from the educator data I was stopped short in my tracks when Nicola and Julie were not aware of the term heutagogy, that I had been introduced to a couple of years ago at an ISBE conference. It had popped up again in the paper I referred to above.I had assumed that this was a term coined by scholars in education but things are never that simple are they? Of course there are subgroups of education scholars each with their own set of terms and epistemologies. It revealed a cultural divide between scholars of adult education and scholars of higher education. It was revealing I think, and exciting too because perhaps it indicates a rich seam to be mined – applying SOTL (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning) in Higher Education to enterprise and entrepreneurship education. So far people in Entrepreneurship and Enterprise education seems to be drawing on the adult education sector – it will be interesting to look at it from the higher educational perspective.
They referred me instead to Transformative Learning and Social Readiness, the work of Neut Alaris? – but I think I must have misheard – when I searched on these terms I came up with Jack Mezirow – Transformative Learning theory. Hopefully I’m on the right track – it looks very interesting even if that was the intended reference and will be good to compare with the theory of threshold learning concepts.
Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. Jossey-Bass, 350 Sansome Street, San Francisco, CA 94104-1310.
This lead into a conversation about adult learners – mature students, which appears to be the view prevalent from enterprise education.
They also referred me to Linda Martindale’s thesis
Martindale, L. (2015). Threshold concepts in research and evidence-based practice: Investigating troublesome learning for undergraduate nursing students (Doctoral dissertation, Durham University).
which talks about relating “ways of thinking and practicing” to threshold concepts.
Nicola mentioned the concept of democratic education – and the work of Gert Biesta which also looks really relevant and interesting – so much to read!
I think this will be relevant to the educator’s views of the purpose of education and their own role.
Depending on your view of your purpose, your view of threshold concepts would be different.
So in that case, I would not discuss the educators’ “list” of threshold concepts – but the idea of using threshold concept theory as a pedagogical approach, predicated on developing student understanding.
Nicola and Julie were hesitant regarding the usefulness of Bloom in this context and referred me rather to the SOLO taxonomy of Briggs.
Biggs, J. B., & Collis, K. F. (2014). Evaluating the quality of learning: The SOLO taxonomy (Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome). Academic Press.
Moseley, D. (2005). Frameworks for thinking: A handbook for teaching and learning. Cambridge University Press.
Which is a handy reference for a range of approaches. Definitely one I need to get!
They recommended the work of James Atherton who examines the relationship between Higher and Adult Education – but I can’t find anything on Google Scholar by him that looks relevant here?
Trigwell, K., Prosser, M., & Waterhouse, F. (1999). Relations between teachers’ approaches to teaching and students’ approaches to learning. Higher education, 37(1), 57-70.
Prosser, M., & Trigwell, K. (1999). Understanding learning and teaching: The experience in higher education. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).
for assumptions about learners, deep and surface approaches, educator/student centered learning, and behavioural approaches – different conceptions of learning and teaching.
We discussed the relevance of using a taxonomy and I think it merits some further thought – perhaps exploring the stages of learner readiness for example.
We discussed the significance of the educators’ focus on student attitude – and whether attitude was affective or is it about conceptual understanding?
We explored the significance of learning context – and the continuum of learning about/though/for. Entrepreneurship educators perhaps adapt their approaches according to the context of the intervention – you focus on different things if you have 2 hours or 12 weeks, if you are teaching an extra curricular module or a core option…In addition the context of the educational initiative would influence and be influenced by the student readiness in each context.
Perhaps there’s a model in there..
We need to consider what the learner brings and the relationship between the curriculum and student readiness. What assumptions does the curriculum make about student readiness? This is overlaid with what the educator regards as do-able and the tension resulting from teaching groups of students in various states of readiness. In disciplines where learning outcomes are fuzzier (such as entrepreneurship), students are starting from different places and ending in different places. Although I’m sure all educators would relate to this particular challenge.
This is not very evident in the current threshold concept literature – student readiness – what the learner brings. Readiness also has to do with scaffolding – the building blocks. This links to communities of practice – allowing people to be on the periphery – scaffolding students into the curriculum. It is legitimate peripheral participation – developing people to become self-regulated learners, to become autonomous learners.
We returned to the subject of attitude – the link to affect and the literature on positive psychology – whose definition of affect? Whose definition of attitude? Perhaps I could revisit the entrepreneur interview data to look for evidence of attitude? I need to define attitude and perhaps coin a new term from the interview data that is less loaded.
Julie defined attitude as ,”a behavioural manifestation of a belief or way of being“. This clearly links to ontology, and is values based.
Affective – could be about resilience, hope etc (the work of Peter Felton) or
Affective – could be about motivation and a more psychological definition.
Julie did not see the pursuit of attitude as an alternative to an approach building on threshold concept theory, as attitude links to a willingness to enter a liminal state. Julie is interested in the relationship between attitude and belief.
We moved on to talk in more detail about some of the concepts I had highlighted from the educator data such as entrepreneurial self-efficacy – false and authentic. Julie and Nicola questioned whether entrepreneurial self-efficacy was too big to be a threshold concept. They referred me to the work of Fiona Watson, who has attempted to illustrate the relationship between threshold concepts and troublesomeness. In the next phase of data collection, I could then perhaps invite students to identify both threshold concepts and attitudes of entrepreneurship and explain their relationships.
We also discussed if attitudes were coming through so strongly for the educators because they were working with the students in a particular phase of their entrepreneurial journey. For students – the attitude is important. For Entrepreneurs – it’s the conceptual stuff that’s more salient. Different things have more relevance to people at different stages of their entrepreneurial journeys.
Perhaps it’s less about knowing (cognitive) and being (affective) but understanding that you could know and be – metacognition. At the end of a course or degree in entrepreneurship, the aim could be to know whether or not you want to be an entrepreneur (rather than the aim being to be an entrepreneur).
We also briefly touched on self-regulation – so that would be about giving the students all they needed – to know if they wanted to be an entrepreneur.
So now – planning the student data collection phase and continuing to analyse the educator data, and of course – lots of reading!