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Professor Tim Jay BSc, PGCE, PhD

Professor of Psychology of Education


Tim Jay is Professor of Psychology of Education in the Sheffield Institute of Education. He came to Sheffield Hallam in 2014, after six years as lecturer and then senior lecturer in psychology of education at the University of Bristol.

Tim has a background in psychology and in mathematics teaching. His main research interests are focused on individual differences in the ways that young children learn about number and mathematics.


Tim’s recent work has looked at children’s out-of-school mathematics learning. Part of this research, a 2-year project funded by the Leverhulme Trust, involved work with primary school children to document and then ‘find the maths’ in their out-of-school lives. This led to a second 2-year project, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, working with parents to design and evaluation a series of workshops designed to empower parents to support their children’s mathematics learning through the sharing of mathematics in everyday life.

Tim has a particular interest in interdisciplinary theory and method in Education. He is currently leading a project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, developing video games to promote young children’s symbolic number sense. He is also interested in ways that social and cognitive factors interact in children’s learning.

  • Early years
  • mathematics learning
  • interdisciplinary research
  • out-of-school learning
  • family learning


Department of Teacher Education

Social Sciences and Arts

My research centres on children's mathematics learning. More specifically, I am interested in the ways that individual differences in cognitive and social factors affect children's experience of the mathematics classroom.

I have led projects funded by Sustrans, QCA, the Leverhulme Trust, and the Nuffield Foundation, and have been involved in a number of other research projects led by colleagues, with funding from the EEF and the Royal Society.

Lead on regulated funding strategy in SIOE

White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership pathway director for Education, Childhood and Youth

Convenor for the Research Methodology in Education SIG for the British Educational Research Association


RAIDING: Researching adaptivity to individual differences in number games. November 2016 -November 2018, £130,000, funded by the Leverhulme Trust. Tim Jay (PI), Jake Habgood (Computer Science, SHU), Paul Howard-Jones (Education, Bristol).

The Everyday Maths Project. October 2013 – January 2016, £130,000, funded by the Nuffield Foundation.

Exploring the mathematics in children’s out-of-school economic activity. October 2011 – October 2013, £90,000, funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

  • Royal Society
  • ESRC
  • Leverhulme Trust
  • Nuffield Foundation


Journal articles

Xolocotzin, U., & Jay, T. (2020). Children's perspectives on their economic activity—Diversity, motivations and parental awareness. Children and Society, 34 (5), 424-442.

A. Howard-Jones, P., Jay, T., & Galeano, L. (2020). Professional Development on the Science of Learning and teachers' Performative Thinking—A Pilot Study. Mind, Brain, and Education, 14 (3), 267-278.

Rose, S., Habgood, J., & Jay, T. (2020). Designing a Programming Game to Improve Children’s Procedural Abstraction Skills in Scratch. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 073563312093287.

Jay, T., Habgood, J., Mees, M., & Howard-Jones, P. (2019). Game-based training to promote arithmetic fluency. Frontiers in Education, 4, 118.

Di Nuovo, A., & Jay, T. (2019). The development of numerical cognition in children and artificial systems: a review of the current knowledge and proposals for multi-disciplinary research. Cognitive Computation and Systems.

Boylan, M., Maxwell, B., Wolstenholme, C., Jay, T., & Demack, S. (2018). The mathematics teacher exchange and 'mastery' in England: The evidence for the efficacy of component practices. Education sciences, 8 (4), 202.

Jay, T., Rose, J., & Simmons, B. (2018). Why is parental involvement in children's mathematics learning hard? Parental perspectives on their role supporting children's learning. Sage Open, 8 (2), 1-13.

Jay, T. (2018). Swearing, moral order, and online communication. Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict, 6 (1), 107-126.

Rose, S., Habgood, J., & Jay, T. (2017). An exploration of the role of visual programming tools in the development of young children’s computational thinking. Electronic journal of e-learning, 15 (4), 297-309.

Jay, T., & Betenson, J. (2017). Mathematics at your fingertips: Testing a finger-training intervention to improve quantitative skills. Frontiers in Education, 2, 22.

Jay, T., Rose, J., & Milligan, L. (2017). Adoption, adaptation, and integration: renegotiating the identity of educational research through interdisciplinarity. International Journal of Research and Method in Education, 40 (3), 223-230.

Jay, T., Rose, J., & Simmons, B. (2017). Finding ‘mathematics’: parents questioning school-centred approaches to involvement in children’s mathematics learning. School Community Journal, 27 (1), 201-230.

Otsuka, K., & Jay, T. (2016). Understanding and supporting block play: video observation research on preschoolers’ block play to identify features associated with the development of abstract thinking. Early Child Development and Care, 187 (5-6), 990-1003.

Howard-Jones, P., & Jay, T. (2016). Reward, learning and games. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 10, 65-72.

Howard-Jones, P., Jay, T., Mason, A., & Jones, H. (2016). Gamification of learning deactivates the Default Mode Network. Frontiers in Psychology, 6 (1891), 1-16.

Stanton Fraser, D., Jay, T., O’Neill, E., & Penn, A. (2013). My neighbourhood: Studying perceptions of urban space and neighbourhood with moblogging. Pervasive and Mobile Computing, 9 (5), 722-737.

Jay, T. (2012). The possibility and importance of postperspectival working. Educational Research Review, 9, 34-46.

Jay, T. (2012). First- and second-order reactivity to verbal protocols: an example from a study on strategy variability. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 35 (2), 181-194.

O'Neill, E., Collomosse, J., Jay, T., Yousef, K., Rieser, M., & Jones, S. (2010). Older user experience: An evaluation with a location-based mobile multimedia service. IEEE Vehicular Technology Magazine, 5 (1), 31-38.

Jay, T. (2009). DO OFFENSIVE WORDS HARM PEOPLE? Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 15 (2), 81-101.

Jay, T. (2009). The Utility and Ubiquity of Taboo Words. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4 (2), 153-161.

Jay, T., Caldwell-Harris, C., & King, K. (2008). Recalling taboo and nontaboo words. American Journal of Psychology, 121 (1), 83-103.

Jay, T., & Janschewitz, K. (2007). Filling the emotion gap in linguistic theory: Commentary on Potts' expressive dimension. Theoretical Linguistics, 33 (2), 215-221.

Jay, T., King, K., & Duncan, T. (2006). Memories of punishment for cursing. Sex Roles, 55 (1-2), 123-133.

Jay, T., & Brooks, P. (2004). Self-Censorship in Course Diaries. College Teaching, 52 (3), 82-86.

Conference papers

Rose, S., Habgood, J., & Jay, T. (2019). Using Pirate Plunder to develop children’s abstraction skills in Scratch. In CHI 2019, Glasgow, Scotland, UK, 4 May 2019 - 9 May 2019. ACM:

Rose, S., Habgood, J., & Jay, T. (2018). Pirate plunder: game-based computational thinking using scratch blocks. In Proceedings of the 12th European Conference on Games Based Learning, (pp. 556-564). Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited:

Mees, M., Jay, T., & Habgood, J. (2018). Designing an adaptive learner model for a mathematics game. In Ciussi, M. (Ed.) Proceedings of the 12th European conference on games based learning, (pp. 800-807). Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited:

Mees, M., Jay, T., Habgood, J., & Howard-Jones, P. (2017). Researching adaptivity for individual differences in numeracy games. Extended Abstracts Publication of the Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play - CHI PLAY '17 Extended Abstracts, 247-253.

Garzonis, S., Jones, S., Jay, T., & O'Neill, E. (2009). Auditory icon and earcon mobile service notifications: Intuitiveness, learnability, memorability and preference. Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings, 1513-1522.

Müller, J., Wilmsmann, D., Exeler, J., Buzeck, M., Schmidt, A., Jay, T., & Krüger, A. (2009). Display blindness: The effect of expectations on attention towards digital signage. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), 5538 LNCS, 1-8.

Kindberg, T., O'Neill, E., Bevan, C., Kostakos, V., Fraser, D.S., & Jay, T. (2008). Measuring Trust in Wi-Fi hotspots. Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings, 173-182.

Jay, T., & Fraser, D.S. (2008). The role of a cohort in the design and evaluation of pervasive systems. Proceedings of the Conference on Designing Interactive Systems: Processes, Practices, Methods, and Techniques, DIS, 31-39.

Kray, C., Larsen, L.B., Olivier, P., Biemans, M., Van Bunningen, A., Fetter, M., ... Lopez De Vallejo, I. (2008). Evaluating ubiquitous systems with users (Workshop summary). Communications in Computer and Information Science, 11, 63-74.

Book chapters

Jay, T., & Xolocotzin, U. (2015). Breaking barriers between out-of-school and classroom mathematics with documenting. In Crompton, H., & Traxler, J. (Eds.) Mobile Learning and Mathematics. (pp. 86-95). New York: Routledge

Jay, T. (2005). American women: Their cursing habits and religiosity. In Gender and the Language of Religion. (pp. 63-84).


Thomas, P., Jay, T., Willis, B., Taylor, R., Merchant, G., Moore, N., ... Stevens, A. (2019). Dialogic Teaching: Addendum Report. Education Endowment Foundation.

Thomas, P., Jay, T., Willis, B., Taylor, R., Merchant, G., Moore, N., ... Stevens, A. (2019). Dialogic Teaching: Addendum Report. London, UK: Education Endowment Foundation.

Boylan, M., Wolstenholme, C., Maxwell, B., Demack, S., Jay, T., Reaney, S., & Adams, G. (2019). Longitudinal evaluation of the Mathematics Teacher Exchange: China-England - Final Report. Department for Education.

Jay, T., Willis, B., Thomas, P., Taylor, R., Moore, N., Burnett, C., ... Stevens, A. (2017). Dialogic Teaching : Evaluation Report and Executive Summary. London, UK: Education Endowment Foundation.

Theses / Dissertations

Panella-Peral, S. (2020). A Longitudinal Exploration of Infants’ Social Looks in Naturalistic Settings. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Beardon, L., & Jay, T.

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