#149 Research in Action 15: Children’s early understanding of number with Francesco Sella

Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsAnchorPodbeanStitcherPocketCasts


This episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast is kindly supported by Arc Maths.

You can find more information about their app for helping students remember those crucial maths skills – and register for a free trial – at arceducation.co.uk/for-schools/


Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast, with me Craig Barton.

This is an episode from season 2 of the Research in Action mini series, where I interview a researcher from the Mathematics Education Centre at Loughborough University about their chosen area of interest, and the implications for maths teaching and learning. You can check out all the previous conversations in the series here.

Episode 5 features Francesco Sella

Francesco completed his BSc and MSc in clinical psychology at the University of Padova (Italy), where he also obtained his PhD in developmental psychology and spent two additional years as a postdoctoral research associate. Then, Francesco moved to the University of Oxford working as a postdoctoral researcher on an ERC-funded project on the neurocognitive bases of mathematical learning. Before joining the Centre for Mathematical Cognition in Loughborough, he was a lecturer at the department of psychology at the University of Sheffield.

Francesco is an expert on all things cognition and psychology, number lines, early years maths, and much more! As such, I really enjoyed the conversation for two reasons:

  1. As has been illustrated many times over the years on this podcast, my understanding of how children learn mathematics diminishes exponentially every year under the age of 11 the child is
  2. As a clueless father of a 2 year old, I am fascinated by Isaac’s initial musings on numbers and counting, and want to make sure I can do all I can to support him. Fortunately, Francesco had lots of insights, observations and advice to offer.

Oh, and an update from last week’s episode with Krzysztof Cipora. Krzysztof has produced a wonderful video outlining research and strategies to do with maths anxiety. You can see it here.

If you want to download an mp3 version of this episode, you can do so here.

Francesco Sella’s Big 3
1. How we learn 
2. Make it stick 
3. How not to be wrong 

My usual plugs:

Leave a Reply