Threshold concepts in chemistry: The critical role of implicit schemas

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44 Scopus citations


Threshold concepts are conceived as cognitive portals to new and previously inaccessible ways of thinking in a domain. They are transformative, integrative, irreversible, and troublesome concepts that open the door to highly productive ways of thinking in a discipline. Mastering threshold concepts in chemistry demands the construction of diverse cognitive elements, including implicit schemas that guide and constrain how students think about chemical substances and processes. The central goal of this paper is to highlight five critical shifts in students' implicit schemas that should be fostered to support mastery of major threshold concepts in chemistry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Chemical Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 13 2015


  • Chemical Education Research
  • General Public
  • Learning Theories
  • Misconceptions/Discrepant Events

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Education


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