Threshold Concepts and You

So, the new draft of the “Framework for Information Literacy” (used to be called “standards”, so I may slip and use that word for them occasionally) has been partially released by the ACRL. The simple Information Literacy Standards (that was not a slip) have been replaced with threshold concepts.

Since I am always trying to maximize my time, I decided to write my Philosophy of Education paper on threshold concepts and philosophy and all that, so I can possibly have something that will benefit my day to day life…

By definition, a threshold concept is a concept that is so disturbing, so new, that it creates conflict in the learner at first. Then, once it is mastered/accepted, it has a transformative effect, and once learned, cannot be unlearned.

Of course, I need to tie this to philosophy, and I just keep thinking about The Matrix. There has been a lot written (I’ve recently learned, thanks to this class) about the philosophical aspects of The Matrix trilogy. How we’re all blind to reality, then we achieve enlightenment and learn the truth. So, threshold concepts awaken us to the truth. Like Neo when he wakes up to a completely new reality (with no eyebrows).

Here’s my problem with The Matrix, which may or may not be relevant: I am like the guy who was happy with steak. Ignorance is bliss, you could say. He wants to go back and be plugged in and be blissfully unaware that they are all slaves to the machines. He just wants to eat steak again. So, I’ve always identified with that guy. Why do I want to be transformed? I mean, in the real world, everything is so drab and dull and I bet they all smell bad too.

Anyway, that’s probably not going to go in my paper. I need to find someway to relate the threshold concepts to the philsophical ideal of enlightenment WITHOUT saying I would rather be ignorant (i.e. eat steak). And I need to do it soon, because the paper is due in a few weeks.

So, keep watching as I attempt to work these out in my mind in a public forum.

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