Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


*pedagogy, Social sciences

Publication Details

Paper presented at the Higher Education in Transformation Conference, Dublin, 31st. May - 1st. April, 2015.


Humanities education, particularly in the areas of early childhood education and applied social studies must engage with professional practice education. There is urgency for the need for practitioners and educationalists to communicate, and for practitioners to be aware of developments in educational theory. The idea of ‘threshold concepts’ is currently widely discussed by educationalists. Threshold concepts are described as areas of knowledge without which the learner cannot progress, and which, when grasped, lead to a transformation in the learner’s perspective and understanding. Much is known about the purpose of placement educators, but how their role is implemented is subject to conflicting expectations, partly created by the structure in which they work. Collaboration between practice education settings between universities, institutes of technology and practice provide an opportunity for academia and practice settings to collaborate in a partnership to enhance practice learning and fulfil one of the main aims of the practice educator role in any contemporary setting : to narrow the theory-practice gap. However tensions and conflict will exist. How the role of a practice educator in relation to those they work with is defined have implications for the purpose and process of supervision of students undertaking professional education for that role. This paper aims to clarify the role of appropriate models of supervision in practice education and address elements of threshold concepts in the practice setting.