, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 163–178 | Cite as

Aspects of pedagogy supporting metacognition and self-regulation in mathematical learning of young children: evidence from an observational study

  • David WhitebreadEmail author
  • Penny Coltman
Original Article


This article reports on evidence collected within a UK study concerning metacognition in young children in the 3–5-year age range within mathematical contexts. Young children were video-recorded on a number of occasions in the naturalistic context of their Foundation Stage settings and classrooms, including both nursery and reception classes. The children were engaged in mathematical activities designed by practitioners to facilitate metacognitive processes. Metacognitive ‘events’ were identified and the children’s behaviour was analysed for indications of metacognitive thinking. At the same time, the pedagogical context of the activities, including interventions by adult practitioners, was analysed in relation to the metacognitive opportunities afforded. Findings were that the young children did indeed show evidence, through their talk, and their non-verbal actions, of emergent metacognitive processes, and that the nature and frequency of these processes were influenced by pedagogical aspects of the mathematical activities. In particular, pedagogical interactions which provided children in this age range with emotionally contingent support, which gave them feelings of autonomy and control, which provided them with cognitive challenges and the opportunity to articulate their thinking appeared to provoke and support metacognitive and self-regulatory behaviours.


Mathematical Activity Metacognitive Knowledge Metacognitive Skill Metacognitive Process Cognitive Challenge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© FIZ Karlsruhe 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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