Academic staff

Professor Terezinha Nunes
Professor Peter Bryant Honorary Research Fellow
Sue Baker Research Officer
Rossana Barros Research Officer
Deborah Evans Research Officer
David Sanders-Ellis Research Assistant

Research students and their research topics

Hashemiah Almusawi
Hashemiah is completing her doctoral thesis on The Role of Phonology, Morphology and Dialect in Reading Arabic among Hearing and Deaf Children. Her thesis is the first study to address both how the dialect might affect children’s progress in reading and spelling in Kuwait and also to consider deaf children’s literacy development from these three perspectives – phonological, morphological and dialect awareness. She had to develop original measures both for her predictors and her outcomes given the previous lack of research. She has the ambition to raise the standard of learning Arabic language amongst typical and special needs children. Being a mother and a student at the same time proved to be a difficult challenge, but overall made her studies and experience more interesting and enjoyable.

Lauren Burton
Lauren is currently in her first year and holds a 1+3 ESRC studentship. The aim of her research project in this first year is to investigate whether teaching children morphological spelling principles enhances their spelling development. The project will consist of a pilot study that will inform the subsequent DPhil investigation, which will explore the effect of teaching children two morphological spelling rules in a particular sequence.

Philea Chim
Philea has an academic background in Psychology and is particularly interested in the cognitive issues involved in learning. Previously, she worked on research projects on dyscalculia, literacy development in bilingual Chinese children, and parental involvement in education in Hong Kong. Her doctoral research on British students learning Mandarin Chinese as a foreign language is the first of its kind. It aims to delineate the specific skills that alphabetic readers need when learning Chinese, a non-alphabetic script, and investigates suitable pedagogical approach for non-native learners of Chinese. Alongside her doctoral study, she is also involved in a UK school intervention project on children’s literacy and mathematics learning. In her spare time, Philea likes to read science articles, watch BBC documentaries, and go camping in the country.

Boby Ching
Despite his name, Boby is a grown-up doctoral student in Education and has an academic background in Psychology. He has an interest in children’s development of mathematics and reasoning in general. In his doctoral study, he will investigate the relative importance of number competence and quantitative reasoning abilities in mathematical problem solving in Chinese young children. He believes that a better understanding of their mathematical development will contribute to more effective teaching strategies in mathematics education. In addition to children’s mathematics learning, Boby has some other research interests, including science education (e.g., how do children understand and reason about causal complexity?), social cognition development (e.g., how do children recognize and respond to group-based inequalities?), children’s cognition in the arts (e.g., how do they understand and engage in fictional and pretense worlds?), and gender development (e.g., the development of gender nonconformity in children). When not busy studying, Boby spends his time drinking tea, eating noodles, spicy food and/or food with cheese, garlic, and/or seaweed, watching volleyball games, doing exercises without stretching, liking Facebook pages, and collecting cute toys as well as photos of cute animals, especially pugs, llamas, sloths, otters, and seals. And he dislikes hypocrisy, tomato sauce, and Panini.

Jeanne Erickson
Jeanne’s research focuses on the educational experiences of American adolescents who have undergone cancer treatment. She aims to understand their experiences during and after illness with the career goal of improving the education currently available to American students with a chronic illness. This is made possible with the support of her loving husband, parents, and two sisters. Jeanne is from Chicago, Illinois. She holds a research masters degree and teaching certification in Elementary Education from Northwestern University.

Laura Gottardis
Laura has just completed her doctorate. Laura’s main research focus is on children’s mathematical development. She graduated in developmental psychology at the University of Trieste, Italy. At the Department of Education, she completed the MSc in Educational Research Methodology in September 2009 and continued to a DPhil, which was completed in 2013. For her doctoral thesis, she investigated deaf primary school children’s difficulties in mathematics. Her research had two main aims: firstly, to determine the extent of deaf children’s delay in mathematics in comparison to their hearing peers and the moderators that affect this delay, and secondly, to investigate whether logical-mathematical reasoning, working memory and counting ability are independent longitudinal predictors of deaf children’s mathematical achievement. In her next research, she would like to continue working on improving deaf children’s mathematical skills and to investigate different aspects of early numeracy.
Publication: Gottardis, L., Nunes, T. and Lunt, I. (2011) A synthesis of research on deaf and hearing children’s mathematical achievement. Deafness and Educational International 13(3), 131-150

Akhila Pidah
Akhila is a doctoral student investigating the role of flexible reasoning in children’s understanding of proportionality. Her initial training was in Psychology and she has been fascinated by the process of cognitive development and learning in children ever since. In her free time, she loves exploring new places and has travelled extensively across India. Her other interests include reading fiction, practising yoga and Indian classical music.

Sarah Walter
Sarah is currently in the final year of a DPhil in Education focusing on the development of mathematical concepts in four and five-year-old children. Her research looks at how young children understand and employ different quantitative skills and concepts in the context of sharing, an activity they are very familiar with from their everyday lives. Specifically she is interested in their understanding of equivalence and cardinality, two concepts that are critical for later mathematical development. Sarah has conducted much of her research in her home city of Toronto, Canada and plans to work in the field of Child Development there once the DPhil is complete.

Masters students and their research topics


  • Boby Ching The role of phonological, graphomorphological, and morphological awareness in Chinese word recognition of deaf children in Hong Kong
  • Shivani Kumar A comparison of different Place Value teaching strategies with five- and six-year-olds
  • Catherine Wright The effect of morphological priming on children’s spelling of word stems in derived words


  • Akhila Pidah Use of schematic representations to improve children’s understanding of functional reasoning in proportions
  • Pinxiu Shen The effectiveness of arrow diagrams in children’s mathematical problem solving
  • Leo Chin Ying Petrina  Investigating the effects of the Singapore Model Method in solving mathematical word problems


  • Teixeira Clark The role of morphological awareness instruction in Spanish-English bilingual education
  • Katherine Pollard Correlations between morphological awareness in Greek and English: A study with Cypriot children
  • Ilona Roman Spelling with double consonants in Hungarian: primary school children’s knowledge of formal and functional rules
  • Elizabeth Stosser Young children’s understanding of fractions


  • Tinya Yu Chinese children’s morphological awareness in English and Chinese
  • Young Ok Jong Awareness of the morphological structure of compound words in Korean and English
  • Yuliya Avdeyenko Promoting cognitive development in children: a working memory intervention

Page last modified: June 1, 2016