Jingjing  Sun

Contact Information


Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, Cognitive Science of Teaching and Learning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

M.S. in Applied Statistics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

M.S. in Educational Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

B.A. in English, with Honors, Anhui University



Courses Taught

Graduate Courses:

  • EDEC 540 Neuroscience & Its Impact on Child Development
  • EDU 510 Developmental and Learning Sciences
  • EDU 626 Mixed Methods Research Design

Undergraduate Courses:

  • EDU 221 Educational Psychology & Measurement 
  • EDU 222 Educational Psychology​ & Child Development 

Research Interests

Jingjing Sun is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the Department of Teaching & Learning and awardee of an Early-Stage Investigator Career Award from the National Institutes of Health. Her research has centered on the processes of learning and development, with a current focus on youth’s socioemotional development and school engagement, specifically working with the Indigeneous communities in Montana. Surrounding this topic, she's been collaborating with interdisciplinary colleagues from school psychology and counseling, as well as school, tribal, and community stakeholders from the Flathead Nation, in establishing and piloting a social-emotional learning (SEL) program for American Indian youth. Her earlier research examined children’s social and cognitive development in collaborative learning, and the impact of classroom participant structures on children’s engagement and affect. She has worked with teachers from Montana in design-based research to examine how educators can be effectively supported to scaffold students' collaborative discussions.

Jingjing directs the Collaboration & Reasoning Lab at the University of Montana and is proud to lead an interdisciplinary team of dedicated graduate and undergraduate students.



  1. PI. Project SELA: Improving Mental Health for Native American Youth through Social-Emotional Learning. Early-Stage Investigator Career Award, American Indian/Alaska Native Clinical & Translational Research Program, National Institute of Health, $220,000, 8/1/2019 –12/31/2021.
  2. Co-PIDesigning for the Future: How Field Experiences in Formal and Informal Settings Impact Pre-service Early Childhood Teachers. PI: Kate Brayko, SHAPE program, Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation, $90,000, 03/01/2019– 12/31/2022. 

Recently Completed

  1. PI. Building Resilience and Social Emotional Competence among Native American YouthAmerican Indian/Alaska Native Clinical & Translational Research Program, National Institute of Health, $54,500, 8/1/2018 –07/31/2019.
  2. Co-PI. Project CLEAR Big Sky. PI: Tracy Missett. Esther Katz Rosen Grant, American Psychological Foundation, $37,000, 09/01/2016 – 08/31/2019. 
  3. PI. The Process of Change: Teachers' Growth in Scaffolding Collaborative Dialogue. Small Research Grant, University of Montana, $5,000, 05/01/2017 – 08/31/2018.


Referred Journal Articles

Sun, J., Goforth, A. N., Nichols, L. M., Violante, A. E., Christopher, K., Howlett, R., Hogenson, D., & Graham, N. (2022). Building a space to dream: Supporting Indigenous children’s survivance through community-engaged social and emotional learningChild Development.

Sun, J., Anderson, R. C., Morris, J. A., Lin, T.-J., Miller, B. W., Ma, S., & Scott, T. (2022). Children’s Engagement during Collaborative Learning and Direct Instruction through the Lens of Participant Structure. Contemporary Educational Psychology.

Goforth, A., Nicols, L., Sun, J., Violente, A., Christopher, K., & Graham, N. (2021, online first). Incorporating the Indigenous Evaluation Framework for culturally responsive community engagement. Psychology in the Schools. 
Sun, J., Zhang, J., & Li, H. (2020, online first). Teacher learning in scaffolding children’s collaborative dialogue in a Chinese elementary school. ECNU Review of Education. ‚Äč
Morris, J. A., Miller, B., Anderson, R. C., Nguyen-Jahiel, K., Lin, T.-J., Scott, T., Zhang, J., Sun, J., & Ma, S. (2018). Instructional discourse and argumentative writing. International Journal of Educational Research.
Sun, J., Anderson, R. C., Perry, M., & Lin, T.-J. (2017). Emergent leadership in children’s cooperative problem solving groups. Cognition and Instruction, 35(3), 212-235. doi: 10.1080/07370008.2017.1313615
Ma, S., Anderson, R. C., Lin, T., Zhang, J., Morris, J. A., Nguyen-jahiel, K., Miller, B. W.,  Jadallah, M., Scott, T., Sun, J., Grabow, K., Latawiec, B. M., & Yi, F-H. (2017). Instructional influences on English language l earners ’ storytelling. Learning and Instruction, 5845, 217–244. doi: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2016.12.00
Ma, S., Zhang, J., Anderson, R. C., Morris, J., Nguyen-Jahiel, Miller, B. W., Jadallah, M., Sun, J., Lin, T.-J., Scott, T., Hsu, Y.-L., Zhang, J., Latawiec, B. & Grabow, K. (2017). Children’s productive use of academic vocabulary. Discourse Processes.
Zhang, X., Anderson, R. C., Morris, J., Miller, B., Nguyen-Jahiel, K., Lin, T.-J., Zhang, J., Jadallah, M., Scott, T., Sun, J., Latawiec, B., Ma, S., Grabow, K., & Hsu, Y.-L.. (2015). Improving children’s competence in decision making. American Educational Research Journal, 54(1), 194-223. DOI: 10.3102/0002831215618663
Miller, B., Anderson, R. C., Morris, J., Lin, T.-J., Jadallah, M., & Sun, J. (2014). The effects of reading to prepare for argumentative discussion on cognitive engagement and conceptual change. Learning and Instruction, 33, 67-80.
Book Chapters

Ma, S., Anderson, R. C., & Sun, J. (in press). Collaborative learning and children’s development of language and thought. In R. Tierney, F. Rizvi, & K. Ercikan (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of Education, 4th edition.

Lin, T.-J., Ma, S., Anderson, R. C., Jadallah, M., Sun, J., Morris, J., Miller, B. & Sallade, R. (2018). Promoting academic talk through Collaborative Reasoning. In R. Gillies (Ed.), Promoting academic talk in schools. UK: Taylor & Francis. 
Ma, S., Sun, J., Morris, A. J. & Anderson, R. C. (2016). Collaborative reasoning: An instructional approach that promotes higher-order thinking. In W. Li (Ed.), International research on children’s reading. Beijing, China: Beijing Normal University Press. [In Chinese]
Sun, J., Anderson, R. C., Lin, T.-J., & Morris, J. A. (2015). Social and cognitive development during collaborative reasoning. In L. B. Resnick, C. Asterhan, & S. N. Clarke (Eds.), Socializing intelligence through talk and dialogue. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.
Miller, B., Sun, J., Wu, X. & Anderson, R. C. (2013). Child leaders in collaborative groups. In C. E. Hmelo-Silver, C. A. Chinn, C. K. K. Chan, & A. O'Donnell (Eds.), The international handbook of collaborative learning. London, UK: Taylor & Francis.
Referred Conference Proceedings (= advised student)

Sun, J., Miller, B. W. &*Finlay, M.(2019).Rural students’ cultural assets during collaborative science argumentation. Poster presentation at the 2019 International Conference of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, Lyon, France.

Sun, J., *Datu, E., & *Warchola, G. (2018). Emergent leadership and its influence on collaborative and individual reasoning. In J. Kay & R. Luckin (Eds.). Rethinking learning in the digital age—Making learning sciences count: The International Conference of Learning Sciences 2018 Proceedings. London, UK: The International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Sun, J., *Jackson, J., *Burns, M., & Anderson, R. C. (2017). Emergent leadership and relational thinking in Collaborative Reasoning discussions. In B. K. Smith, M. Borge, E. Mercier, & K.Y. Lim (Eds.), Making a Difference—Prioritizing Equity and Access in CSCL: The 12th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The International Society of the Learning Sciences. 
Sun, J. (2016). Children’s social and emotional development in collaborative learning. In C.-K. Looi, J. Polman, U. Cress, & P. Reimann. (Eds.) Transforming Learning, Empowering Learners: The International Conference of Learning Sciences 2016 Proceedings. Singapore, Singapore: The International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Mercier, E., Shehab, S., Sun, J. & Capell, N. (2015). The development of collaborative practices in introductory engineering courses. In O. Lindwall, P. Häkkinen, T. Koschman, P. Tchounikine, & S. Ludvigsen. (Eds.) Exploring the Material Conditions of Learning: The 11th Computer Supported Collaborative Learning Conference. Gothenburg, Sweden: The International Society of the Learning Sciences. 

Honors / Awards

2020-2021         Women's Leadership Initiative Fellow, University of Montana & Clearwater Credit Union

2019-2021         Early-Stage Investigator Career Award, American Indian/Alaska Native Clinical & Translational Research Program, National Institutes of Health

2019-2021         AERA-SRCD Early Career Research Fellow in Middle Childhood Education and Development