Engagements Blog Series: Part II — Implementation and access and/or for what and transformation

Noel Enyedy & Jamie Gravell
Editor In Chief & Editorial Assistant, Cognition & Instruction

Recently two of the premiere journals for the Learning Sciences published editorials that call for our field to deeply consider aligning our research with societal needs. The publication of two editorials on the same topic, written concurrently but without coordination, presents an opportunity to have a public discussion about the direction that our field is headed and different visions for where it should be headed.  The intent of this blog series is to begin that conversation. Read introduction to blog series here.

Here is a representative quote from each editorial.  Both promote laudable goals for our field, but they emphasize two familiar but different paths forward—one focused on implementation to provide broad access to what is considered high quality education by current metrics, and the other focused on a reimagining what those metrics mean within political contexts and transforming learning environments.

Implementation (McKenney 2017, p.2-3) For What (Philip, Bang & Jackson 2017 p. 2)
“…targeting what districts, schools and teachers can implement realistically with sustainable amounts of guidance or collaboration (McKenney, 2013). And they must do so in ways that address their highly varied needs and circumstances, as well as the diverse levels of human and material resources available.  We need research that can help us design for implementation in the here and now. This includes putting investigation of what works, for whom, under which conditions into a broader perspective to help us understand, characterize and attend to the highly varied needs of teachers and learners in diverse settings.” “Given the limitations of social impact, our use of “for what” signifies a broader engagement with the political contexts and consequences of teaching and learning to ensure we are contributing to education that arcs towards more just worlds. This approach asks us to wrestle with the purposes of teaching and learning with the hope and courage to re-imagine and re-envision future societies while simultaneously working toward learning environments today that “prefigure” the “forms of social relations, decision-making, culture, and human experience” to which we aspire (Boggs, 1977, p. 100).”

With these two perspectives in mind, what ethical, theoretical, and practical commitments do you think we need to foreground as we conduct research on pressing problems of practice?

Please post your responses in the comments section below. Part III will be posted next week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *