The Liminal Learning Space —initial thoughts

LiminalThe Liminal Learning Space….have you heard of it? Probably not but I guarantee you HAVE experienced it…more than once, in all aspects of life, not least in your learning. And so too have your students.

“It feels like my feet are on the edge of a cliff and I am about to take the plunge into Liminal space image 2an abyss of unknown. I am excited, nervous and scared all at once” (Lizy, 21. Hours before embarking on a 12 month university exchange overseas).

Being able to recognise, accept and even embrace this space in ourselves and others is a valuable skill for us as educators and also for our students. We can be instrumental in guiding our students through this space of uncertainty to the mastery of new knowledge; turning the “not yet” into the “now”.

A healthy self-efficacy can be built by traversing the path of liminality.

I do wonder though if mental health may be negatively influenced by finding oneself in an extreme state of liminal space? Could raising awareness of such a space & being able to identify when either oneself or others are in it & give support when necessary be a saviour? I suspect so.

What does this mean for the children we teach…or even the teachers with whom we work?

Accepting and embracing the liminal space can be “for a perfectionist…a challenge” (Ivana, EDFD459). Perfectionism can often manifest iself as fear, anxiety, stress but also as determination. This then makes me wonder if different personalities influence one’s ability to navigate this space of uncertainty!

Reflecting upon my own experiences I question the possibility of leaving the liminal space when a situation is too difficult and returning to it at a later date, if ever, when more equipped to deal with the challenges it poses? Or do we merely close the door to the threshold for a while, to be opened again later. Liminality is fluid, not static.

liminal space quote 4



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