The National Teaching & Learning Forum

Cover image for Vol. 25 Issue 4

Online ISSN: 2166-3327

Editor's Note, Volume 22 Number 2

It may turn out that only a small audience of specialists in education read Alan Schoenfeld’s How We Think: A Theory of Goal-Oriented Decision Making and its Educational Applications, but if so, I think that will be a pity. It’s a different sort of book in many ways, a book very rich in data and analysis, but the number of exclamation marks and personal examples evince a passionate humanistic energy in this very scientific approach to the investigation of teaching. Schoenfeld’s work immediately engages the interest of anyone who sees the value of models and careful observation (and anyone who’s lived very long know how much we miss by not looking carefully enough). It’s easy to agree that “resources, goals, and orientations” form the tripod of teaching. It’s easy to see how they intertwine complexly at every turn. In sorting them out Schoenfeld doesn’t make all this less of a mystery so much as he deepens our appreciation of it and offers the prospect of enjoying it more fully as we improve our practice through a deeper understanding of what we’re doing.

As teachers, we like to think we always know what we are doing, but sometimes we don’t. In their latest CREATIVITY CAFÉ, our team of authors examine the difference between teaching creatively (something most of us want to do) and teaching creativity (something we are only now beginning to believe possible). In academe we’ve long championed the “blue pencil” aimed at editing, correcting, and thinking straight. But what of the other pencils and paint brushes, the springs and tools of those who don’t think straight, but whose thinking expresses and extends human vitality? Putting on a show may amuse, but does it free students to grab and use knowledge in new ways?

Teaching has long been a balancing act. How much technology enhances teaching and how much is just faddish and distracting? In this issue’s TECHPED, Mike Rogers takes up José Antonio Bowen’s book, Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning, and its exploration of these questions. Bowen first voiced the ideas in his book in an article in the FORUM some years ago (V16[1]). We welcome a discussion of them again in these pages.

Ed Nuhfer’s DEVELOPER’S DIARY this time pushes further the inquiry into the differences between the frames of thinking in technology and science. Lots of things contribute to our being confused about the differences. We have that pesky STEM acronym that squeezes technology and engineering between science on the one end and math (that essential and baffling line of inquiry sometimes called “the queen of the sciences”) on the other. It’s no wonder we’re confused. Ed has probed deeply into these metadisciplinary questions, interviewing faculty in architecture, engineering, medicine, and computer science to see what faculty think about these questions. Find these interviews as supplemental material posted at

Marilla Sviniki takes up another aspect of the balancing act in this issue’s AD REM … column. For years teachers have known that “performance” motivates some students while “understanding” motivates others. And for years they’ve seen the latter motivation as preferable to the former. Now, however, research has some positive things to say about “performance” motivation suggesting teachers might utilize mixed goals to help both sorts of students learn more in their classes.

Access the full issue of National Teaching & Learning Forum Volume 22 Number 2, February 2013 here.