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.
The editorial in the Journal of the Learning Sciences asks us to move our research towards practical solutions that have immediate potential and suggests that part of that practical work involves more carefully considering issues of implementation, scale, and research-practice interactions (McKenney, 2017). The editorial in Cognition & Instruction asks us to move forward with the immediate as we simultaneously wrestle with the cultural and political contexts and consequences of our work, especially the purpose of our work, who our work benefits, and with whom we engage in research (Philip, Bang & Jackson, 2017).
In subsequent blogs, we’ll take a closer look at the two editorials side by side and ask for your collegial discussion of the two perspectives on how the field should proceed.If you haven’t had a chance to read them, please do. For today, and to think about as you read, what issues do you foreground as you work towards practical solutions to pressing societal issues and problems of practice?
Part II of this series will be posted on Friday, December 8.
A personal note from Noel: You may ask what my goal is here. In talking with younger scholars I have felt their sense of urgency and perhaps even impatience with the slow pace at which the field of the Learning Sciences has moved to address issues that they find central to understanding learning and education. At the same time, while I have yet to find a scholar who stands against equity and justice, I have perceived an undercurrent that these concerns may not be the only way societal needs can be served and that there is good research being done in the learning sciences that does not address race, culture and power. I constantly struggle with conflicting ideas and values in my own thinking and scholarship and so my goal is to learn from this discussion and from my colleagues. My hope is that since this is a discussion about the future of our discipline that people at all stages of their careers will feel invited to join the conversation. Further, I hope that people that engage here will recognize how a conversation like this might make people feel vulnerable, and will be charitable towards one another as we strive to find a common language and common ground.