Engagements: An Introduction

Engagements: An Introduction

Cognition and Instruction was started as a journal to foster discussion and reasoned debate between applied cognitive scientists (Resnick, 1984). The journal has always attracted a broad range of educational researchers with a diversity of interests and commitments; including educational psychologists, developmental psychologists, educational technologists, sociocultural theorists, and learning scientists.  To spark discussion on what the editorial team considers to be important and/or timely issues facing our community, we are beginning a new section of our journal titled “Engagements” that will publish peer-reviewed editorials and thought pieces intended to provoke our community to discuss and debate ideas and problems emerging in the field. In many regards this is a re-instatement of the section of the journal titled “Theory Bites” that was started by Andrea diSessa (2008) when he was Editor in Chief.

When possible, we will solicit responses from other scholars and publish them along with the initial engagement to begin the discussion.  It is our hope that the discussion will continue on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/cognitionandinstruction) and our blog comments section (http://cognitionandinstruction.com/blog/). Each time an Engagement is published we will post it to our Facebook page and begin the discussion there.

The first Engagement we will publish is a piece titled The Learning Sciences in a New Era of U.S. Nationalism and its authors include two of our new associate editors.  Like the Engagements section itself, this article is not a new direction for the journal or our community, but instead is an explicit call for our attention to aspects of our work that are sometimes left in the background.  This manuscript is an affirmation that Cognition and Instruction as a journal, and as a community has and will always be willing to attend to how race and power interact with cognition and instruction.  The articles in this journal have shown a slow but steady increase in explicit awareness to and nuance in how race and power can be (and need to be) included in our analyses of learning (Bang & Vossoughi, 2016; Ehret & Hollett, 2016; Goldberg, Schwarz, & Porat, 2011; Gutiérrez, Engeström, & Sannino, 2016; Jurow, Teeters, Shea, & Steenis, 2016; Larkin, Maloney, & Perry-Ryder, 2016; McWilliams, 2016; Philip, 2011; Philip, Olivares-Pasillas, & Rocha, 2016; Rubel, Lim, Hall-Wieckert, & Sullivan, 2016; Shreiner, 2014; Vakil, Royston, Nasir, & Kirshner, 2016; Zavala, 2016) Our editorial team is committed to continuing this trend.

What is new here is the timing – as our public communication increases in speed, we are attempting to find a balance between extended empirical and theoretical works, and more immediate concerns of an editorial nature.  Given the events in the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, the article calls for us to recognize our fields’ political commitments and make them an explicit part of our scholarly agenda for the study of cognition and instruction.


Bang, M., & Vossoughi, S. (2016). Participatory Design Research and Educational Justice: Studying Learning and Relations Within Social Change Making. Cognition and Instruction, 34(3), 173–193. https://doi.org/10.1080/07370008.2016.1181879

diSessa, A. A. (2008). A “Theory Bite” on the Meaning of Scientific Inquiry: A Companion to Kuhn and Pease. Cognition and Instruction, 26(4), 560–566. https://doi.org/10.1080/07370000802391760

Ehret, C., & Hollett, T. (2016). Affective Dimensions of Participatory Design Research in Informal Learning Environments: Placemaking, Belonging, and Correspondence. Cognition and Instruction, 34(3), 250–258. https://doi.org/10.1080/07370008.2016.1169815

Goldberg, T., Schwarz, B. B., & Porat, D. (2011). “Could They Do It Differently?”: Narrative and Argumentative Changes in Students’ Writing Following Discussion of “Hot” Historical Issues. Cognition and Instruction, 29(2), 185–217. https://doi.org/10.1080/07370008.2011.556832

Gutiérrez, K. D., Engeström, Y., & Sannino, A. (2016). Expanding Educational Research and Interventionist Methodologies. Cognition and Instruction, 34(3), 275–284. https://doi.org/10.1080/07370008.2016.1183347

Jurow, A. S., Teeters, L., Shea, M., & Steenis, E. V. (2016). Extending the Consequentiality of “Invisible Work” in the Food Justice Movement. Cognition and Instruction, 34(3), 210–221. https://doi.org/10.1080/07370008.2016.1172833

Larkin, D. B., Maloney, T., & Perry-Ryder, G. M. (2016). Reasoning About Race and Pedagogy in Two Preservice Science Teachers: A Critical Race Theory Analysis. Cognition and Instruction, 34(4), 285–322. https://doi.org/10.1080/07370008.2016.1215721

McWilliams, J. (Jenna). (2016). Queering Participatory Design Research. Cognition and Instruction, 34(3), 259–274. https://doi.org/10.1080/07370008.2016.1172436

Philip, T. M. (2011). An “Ideology in Pieces” Approach to Studying Change in Teachers’ Sensemaking About Race, Racism, and Racial Justice. Cognition and Instruction, 29(3), 297–329. https://doi.org/10.1080/07370008.2011.583369

Philip, T. M., Olivares-Pasillas, M. C., & Rocha, J. (2016). Becoming Racially Literate About Data and Data-Literate About Race: Data Visualizations in the Classroom as a Site of Racial-Ideological Micro-Contestations. Cognition and Instruction, 34(4), 361–388. https://doi.org/10.1080/07370008.2016.1210418

Resnick, L. B. (1984). Editorial. Cognition and Instruction, 1(1), 1–4. https://doi.org/10.1207/s1532690xci0101_1

Rubel, L. H., Lim, V. Y., Hall-Wieckert, M., & Sullivan, M. (2016). Teaching Mathematics for Spatial Justice: An Investigation of the Lottery. Cognition and Instruction, 34(1), 1–26. https://doi.org/10.1080/07370008.2015.1118691

Shreiner, T. L. (2014). Using Historical Knowledge to Reason About Contemporary Political Issues: An Expert–Novice Study. Cognition and Instruction, 32(4), 313–352. https://doi.org/10.1080/07370008.2014.948680

Vakil, S., Royston, M. M. de, Nasir, N. S., & Kirshner, B. (2016). Rethinking Race and Power in Design-Based Research: Reflections from the Field. Cognition and Instruction, 34(3), 194–209. https://doi.org/10.1080/07370008.2016.1169817

Zavala, M. (2016). Design, Participation, and Social Change: What Design in Grassroots Spaces Can Teach Learning Scientists. Cognition and Instruction, 34(3), 236–249. https://doi.org/10.1080/07370008.2016.1169818


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