This article considers if analysis of social work novice to expert stage models of professional development can infer threshold points for social care students when acquiring role identity and enactment. Initially the article landscapes social care education, it then illustrates how threshold concepts theory is useful to exploring placement based learning, provides an analysis of three stage models of professional development (Reynolds, 1942; Saari, 1981; 1989/2012; Holman and Freed, 1987) before suggested thresholds of learning, encountered during placement for Irish social care students. The article concludes by considering placement as a liminal space for professional identity formation, but also for the reconstitution of conceptual knowledge into practice knowledge.
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