Sustainability: a threshold concept for tourism education

Paris, Cody Morris (2016) Sustainability: a threshold concept for tourism education. Tourism - an International Interdisciplinary Journal, 64 (3) . pp. 329-337. ISSN 1332-7461 [Article]

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Recognizing the importance and complexity of the concept of sustainability for tourism education, the purpose of this paper is to describe and reflect upon the teaching and learning strategies for sustainability employed in an undergraduate tourism module. To aid in this discussion, this study frames the concept of sustainability as a threshold concept for tourism education. The notion of a threshold concept was introduced by Meyer and Land in 2005. They suggest that a threshold concept represent a gateway or portal for learners and teachers, and once the threshold is crossed, learners will have a transformation in understanding, thinking and interpreting that is vital for the wider learning in a topical area. Meyer and Land suggest four main characteristics of a threshold concept, and thus, the discussion in this paper is organized accordingly into four sections: sustainability is transformative, sustainability is irreversible, and sustainability is integrative, and sustainability as troublesome knowledge. Throughout the paper teaching and learning strategies are reflected upon and specific exercises described. Student feedback collected through open ended questionnaire and group discussions among second year undergraduate tourism students provides key learner insights that aid in the reflection of teaching practice. Education for sustainability has been promoted for nearly two decades in tourism curriculum. To make a contribution to this important body of work, this study has focused on teaching and learning practice, with the goal of providing a starting point for educators to reflect upon their own teaching and learning strategies.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Business School > Marketing, Branding and Tourism
Item ID: 21200
Notes on copyright: Permission granted on 14/03/2017, by the Institute for Tourism ( to make the full text of the published version available in this repository (
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Depositing User: Cody Paris
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2017 16:47
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 21:38

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