Am I Engaged with Mathematics? A Child’s Perspective!

Paul Benjamin Hobson


This study explores the reasons for children’s varying levels of engagement with mathematics. Although new approaches to the learning of and engagement in mathematics continue to be developed, it has been argued by Boaler (2009) that levels of engagement continue to drop. Therefore, this study seeks to identify what factors children consider engage them, as opposed to teachers and researchers. The study consists of semi-structured, non-participant observations of four children (two boys and two girls) in a mixed year 3 and 4 class. These observations were followed by individual semi-structured interviews and other relevant data collection. The findings indicate that behavioural engagement is not always consistent with cognitive and emotional engagement, yet cognitive engagement may have a resulting impact upon behavioural engagement. Overall, the children considered several factors that engage them in the mathematics classroom with the application of mathematics to ‘real-life’ situations being one of the most prevalent. The implications of the study for teachers are the identification of different indicators of engagement in children and suggestions as to how to enhance cognitive (and other forms of) engagement.

Hobson, P. (2014) Am I Engaged with Mathematics? A Child’s Perspective!. Transformations, [online] Vol. 1(1). Available at: [Accessed 16 Apr, 2024].


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