Cognition and Instruction in Transition

*Originally published in print — To cite this article: Noel Enyedy & Rogers Hall (2016): Cognition and Instruction in Transition, Cognition and Instruction, DOI: 10.1080/07370008.2017.1262105 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07370008.2017.1262105

 

This issue of the journal marks a transition in the editorial team, as Noel Enyedy (University of California, Los Angeles) takes on the role of editor in chief of the journal and welcomes several new executive editors. Rogers Hall (Vanderbilt University) and several executive editors are stepping down after a period of 5 years, and in this brief note we appreciate the work of the outgoing editorial team and look forward to prospects for the journal out ahead.

Looking back over the past 5 years, Rogers would like to thank a group of executive editors who have formed a strong editorial team for this journal. These include Leona Schauble (Vanderbilt) and Susan Goldman (University of Illinois, Chicago), who carried forward from Andy diSessa’s leadership and helped with the prior transition. The following executive editors were recruited by and have capably served with Rogers as editor in chief: Noel Enyedy (UCLA), Jon Star (Harvard University), Beth Warren (TERC and now Boston University), Joseph Polman (University of Colorado, Boulder), Brigid Barron (Stanford University), Eva Lam (Northwestern University), Kevin O’Neill (Simon Fraser University), Kara Jackson (University of Washington, Seattle), Kimberly Gomez (UCLA), and Jennifer Cromley (University of Illinois). This editorial team has continued the journal’s practice of seeking scholarship that investigates multiple conceptual domains, spans in- and out-of-school settings for learning and teaching, and brings diverse theoretical perspectives and new empirical discoveries to our readership. The work of the past 5 years would not have been possible without the diligent editorial assistance of three young scholars who assisted the editorial team: Nathan Phillips (University of Illinois, Chicago), Jennifer Kahn, and Amy Voss Farris (the latter two both finishing dissertations at Vanderbilt University this year).

In an editorial statement looking back over 10 years of articles published in this journal (Hall & Phillips, 2013Hall, R., & Phillips, N. C. (2013). Editorial: Looking forward from 10 years of published articles. Cognition & Instruction,31(4), 377387.[Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®]), we invited new research from scholars not typically represented in the pages of this journal, and we also encouraged research that operated over broader temporal and spatial scales (e.g., studies that follow processes of learning and teaching across settings). There have been many excellent articles published that move in these directions; examples include Manz (2015Manz, E. (2015). Resistance and development of scientific practice: Designing the mangle into science instruction. Cognition & Instruction, 33(2), 89124.[Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®]), who studied young learners’ development of scientific ways of seeing and talking as they moved between their classroom and a “wild” area of their school yard, and Rubel, Lim, Hall-Wieckert, and Sullivan (2016Rubel, L. H., Lim, V. Y., Hall-Wieckert, M., & Sullivan, M. (2016). Teaching mathematics for spatial justice: An investigation of the lottery. Cognition & Instruction, 34(1), 126.[Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®]), who studied mathematics learning as students in low-income urban neighborhoods moved between classrooms and local businesses that sold lottery tickets to residents in those neighborhoods. These new topics and approaches to conceptual learning in familiar conceptual domains have put positive pressure on theories of learning, research design (see also a special issue of the journal on participatory design research; Bang & Vossoughi, 2016Bang, M., & Vossoughi, S. (2016). Participatory design research and educational justice: Studying learning and relations within social change making. Cognition & Instruction, 34(3), 173193.[Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®]), and the scope and kinds of research questions that can be approached through careful empirical study. The research communities served by this journal, the fields within which we do our research, and the worlds this research seeks to understand and to affect are all changing. The pages of this journal continue to be a vital space for performing this work.

The transition from one editor to another in a major journal provides an opportunity to reflect on where our field has been and where it might be headed. From Noel’s perspective, it is quite humbling to be forced to think about how one might serve as a steward of one of our community resources into the future. And I do see this journal as a service and a resource for our community—it is a community that I care deeply about. This journal is a forum to discuss and debate the processes of cognition and instruction. This was the journal I read when I was a graduate student. This was the journal in which I have always aspired to publish my research (and still do). My goal as editor in chief is to encourage scholarship that empirically investigates and theoretically grounds a broad range of perspectives on what it means to think, learn, know, and teach.

Cognition and Instruction’s first issue was released in 1984 under the editorship of Lauren Resnick, who founded the journal in order to be “the scientific forum for the development of this new cognitive science of instruction … [because] there has been no single forum for all individuals interested in cognitive processes of instruction. Cognition and Instruction will provide that forum” (Resnick, 1984Resnick, L. B. (1984). Editorial. Cognition and Instruction, 1(1), 1–4. p. 1). From the very first, Cognition and Instruction has cast a wide net by aiming to be a single forum for all those interested in better understanding the processes of cognition and the complimentary processes of instruction.

The editors who come before me have ushered the journal and our community through several important evolutions in our understandings of how people think and learn, as well as the scope of things that need to be considered when analyzing cognition and instruction. From an early focus on information processing, Cognition and Instruction expanded to a more constructivist focus on the processes involved in constructing meaning. From there, Cognition and Instruction transitioned from a focus on the processes of individual learners to include perspectives that examined learning as a social phenomenon situated in material and historical contexts. Finally, Cognition and Instruction has most recently expanded to move beyond formal instruction to better consider “knowing, learning, and teaching as activities that occur within and across a variety of settings” (Hall & Philips, 2013Hall, R., & Phillips, N. C. (2013). Editorial: Looking forward from 10 years of published articles. Cognition & Instruction,31(4), 377387.[Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®], p. 1). The theme here is that the journal has expanded its scope without ever abandoning its roots.

This evolution and expansion of our community is an important part of the journal’s identity. As a journal with no societal affiliation, no ties to any national or international research organization, and no narrow niche or scholarly agenda, Cognition and Instruction has always been, and will continue to be, driven by the current interests of the field. When Isabel Beck and Leona Schauble took over as co-editors in 1994, they wrote that they wanted Cognition and Instruction to provide “a forum for constructive debate and articulating important points of consensus” (Beck & Schauble, 1994Schauble, L., & Beck, I. (1994). Editors’ Comment. Cognition and Instruction, 26(4), 95–95. p. 1).

It is the diversity of perspectives, methods, and topics that makes Cognition and Instruction and our field vibrant, responsive, and relevant. But it can also be a challenge. As diSessa (2008diSessa, A., (2008). A Note from the Editor. Cognition and Instruction, 26(4), 427–429. p. 1) noted when he became editor of Cognition and Instruction, these debates can at times divide us. As he put it, “I believe there has been an unfortunate split between ‘cognitive’ and ‘sociocultural’ researchers in education … I would like Cognition and Instruction to be the home of a new movement in educational research, which I call ‘dialectical approaches to cognition.’”

I have always thought of my own research agenda in these same terms, as an attempt to integrate and at times reconcile the differences between cognitive and sociocultural theories of learning and development (Enyedy 2003Enyedy, N. (2003). Knowledge construction and collective practice: At the intersection of learning, talk, and social configurations in a computer-mediated mathematics classroom. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 12(3), 361–408., 2005Enyedy, N. (2005). Inventing Mapping: Creating cultural forms to solve collective problems. Cognition and Instruction, 23(4), 427–466.; Enyedy et al., 2015Enyedy, N., Danish, J. A., & DeLiema, D. (2015). Constructing liminal blends in a collaborative augmented-reality learning environment. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 10(1), 7–34.). McCutchen and Putman (1993McCutchen & Putnam. (1993). From the Editors. Cognition and Instruction, 16(1), 1–2., p. 1), in their editorial when they became editors of Cognition and Instruction, said, “Tradition serves us best when it grounds us without limiting us, when it enables insights based on previous knowledge and affords opportunities to extend and enrich that knowledge in new directions.” My goal for this journal is to continue to examine the details of the mechanisms of cognition and learning from the perspectives we have been rooted in for the last 30 years but also to expand the perspectives we consider.

I want to continue in the direction paved by all the editors before me and especially that of our most recent editor, Rogers Hall. I hope to expand our topics, methods, and theories, while at the same time honoring our community’s history. I understand that the aim of our journal is both to develop our theories of cognition and at the same time to ground that theory-building in rigorous empirical analyses. This is a difficult task. I will continue to honor Cognition and Instruction’s policy of having no page limits on manuscripts so that authors can give adequate attention to both theory and empirical work. I also hope to encourage vigorous debates without allowing those to divide us. Finally, given our moment in history, I believe our field is poised to more deeply engage with how race, power, and culture are affecting or perhaps even defining the processes of cognition and instruction.

To these ends, I have invited several new executive editors with expertise both to organize fair peer review of the types of manuscripts Cognition and Instruction has received in the past and to mentor scholars new to our community, as they frame research that speaks to our broadening interests. I hope to give voice to the editors by reinstating short editorials and what diSessa (2008diSessa, A., (2008). A Note from the Editor. Cognition and Instruction, 26(4), 427–429.) called “theory bites” as a way for us to model and facilitate the discussion of our community. Like Rogers has done above, I would like to thank Jennifer Cromley, Kim Gomez, Kara Jackson, and Kevin O’Neil for continuing to serve as editors under my leadership. I would also like to welcome several new members to our editorial team who bring much needed enthusiasm and expertise; Megan Bang, Joshua Danish, Thomas Phillip, and Jeffery Shih. I would also welcome Jamie Gravell as our new editorial assistant. Jamie is a PhD candidate in UCLA’s division of Urban Schooling with an interest in teacher education at the intersection of learning theory, technology integration, and civic engagement. In the short few weeks I have been reviewing and processing manuscripts, she has been invaluable.

In closing, I would like to thank Rogers for his leadership and the work that he has started in expanding the scope of the journal. He worked tirelessly to attract new types of manuscripts to the journal, and the landscape of Cognition and Instruction has evolved in positive ways under his editorship. The work he published provided a strong empirical base to investigate learning theory and demonstrated an increased attention to issues of how culture, community, equity, and social justice can all be legitimately considered aspects of Cognition and Instruction. In response, the visibility of the journal increased as well. The impact factor rose from 1.75 in 2013 to 2.17 in 2015, with a 5-year impact factor of 2.9.

My goal is to continue to push Cognition and Instruction along the path set out by the editors before me, and I will require the participation of the community. I hope to lean heavily on the executive editors, editorial board, and readership for advice on topics of interest (including topics for special issues), on how to facilitate constructive debate, and on feedback concerning the process of peer review. I hope that everyone in our community will stay engaged—with each other and with the important work of advancing our understanding of what it means to know something and the details of how that knowing comes to happen.

References

Bang, M., & Vossoughi, S. (2016). Participatory design research and educational justice: Studying learning and relations within social change making. Cognition & Instruction, 34(3), 173–193.

Schauble, L., & Beck, I. (1994). Editors’ Comment. Cognition and Instruction, 26(4), 95–95.

diSessa, A., (2008). A Note from the Editor. Cognition and Instruction, 26(4), 427–429.

Enyedy, N. (2003). Knowledge construction and collective practice: At the intersection of learning, talk, and social configurations in a computer-mediated mathematics classroom. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 12(3), 361–408.

Enyedy, N. (2005). Inventing Mapping: Creating cultural forms to solve collective problems. Cognition and Instruction, 23(4), 427–466.

Enyedy, N., Danish, J. A., & DeLiema, D. (2015). Constructing liminal blends in a collaborative augmented-reality learning environment. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 10(1), 7–34.

McCutchen & Putnam. (1993). From the Editors. Cognition and Instruction, 16(1), 1–2.

Hall, R., & Phillips, N. C. (2013). Editorial: Looking forward from 10 years of published articles. Cognition & Instruction, 31(4), 377–387.

Manz, E. (2015). Resistance and development of scientific practice: Designing the mangle into science instruction. Cognition & Instruction, 33(2), 89–124.

Resnick, L. B. (1984). Editorial. Cognition and Instruction, 1(1), 1–4.

Rubel, L. H., Lim, V. Y., Hall-Wieckert, M., & Sullivan, M. (2016). Teaching mathematics for spatial justice: An investigation of the lottery. Cognition & Instruction, 34(1), 1–26.

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