Fostering young children’s self-regulation development: the Children Articulating Thinking (ChAT) project

11th February 2020 : 17:00 - 18:30

Category: Seminar

Speaker: David Whitebread, University of Cambridge

Location: Department of Education, Seminar Room K/L

Convener: Alex Hodgkiss

Seminar Abstract


Meta-analyses of effective teaching interventions have indicated that the most effective ways of supporting children’s development as learners are those which make learning processes explicit by obliging them to think and talk about their learning.
Interventions in this area derive from research into dialogic teaching and children’s emerging metacognition. Dialogic approaches encourage children to explain their reasoning and enquire about the reasoning of others. Metacognitive approaches encourage children to use specific mental strategies and to discuss the relation between their use and task success. Predominantly, these interventions have been carried out with older primary aged children.
The ChAT (Children Articulating Thinking) project investigated the possibility of supporting the development of dialogic and metacognitive abilities in younger children (5-6-year-olds) through an intervention combining the two approaches. This was designed to test the hypothesis that improving young children’s abilities to articulate their thinking would support their development of emerging metacognitive abilities.
This presentation reports details of the intervention and the results of pre and post analyses showing significant effect sizes in a range of dialogic and metacognitive abilities compared to a matched control group. The effects were particularly strong among children whose abilities in these areas were relatively weak at the start of the intervention. The implications for early childhood educational pedagogy are discussed.


About the speaker


Dr. David Whitebread recently retired as Founding Director of the Play in Education, Development and Learning (PEDAL) research centre at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. During his 33 years at Cambridge his teaching focused on developmental psychology and early childhood education. A significant focus of much of his research has been the emergence of metacognition and self-regulation in young children. He has published widely in academic journals and book chapters, and has edited or written a number of influential reports and books, including The Sage Handbook of Developmental Psychology and Early Childhood Education (Sage, 2019), Quality in Early Childhood Education – an International Review and Guide for Policy Makers (WISE, 2015), and Developmental Psychology & Early Childhood Education (Sage, 2012)