Boby Ho-Hong CHING 程浩航

Associate Professor

Faculty of Education, University of Macau

There are many different reasons you might want a professor/lecturer to write a letter of recommendation for you or fill in appropriate parts of an application. You may want to apply to an MPhil or PhD programme, or for a job or research position. Whatever the reason, and whatever your level (i.e. undergraduate, MPhil, PhD), the checklist below will help you to make the letter-writing process as easy as possible.

What makes a good recommendation?
Your referees need time to compose a letter, and they already have many other demands on their time (teaching, conferences, meetings, paper-writing, writing other letters of recommendation, etc.). They will also need to know about your recent WORK and EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT – it’s a common mistake to assume that your referee knows you so well that you don’t need to tell them anything about yourself and your work. The following checklist aims to help you avoid common pitfalls.

Give the following to your letter writers:

  • An up-to-date C.V.
  • A brief STATEMENT (1-2 lines) of why you are applying for the award or university.
  • The DEADLINE and all relevant application materials.
  • A statement about the PROCESS of recommendation:
    • Should the referee wait to hear from the target organization?
    • or should the referee need to give a sealed letter to the applicant?
    • or should the referee need to send a sealed letter separately?
      If the latter:
    • Give the full title and postal ADDRESS of the person to whom the reference is to be posted, preferably in electronic form.
  • A way to CONTACT YOU if anything goes wrong/is missing (preferably a phone number and an e-mail address).
  • ANYTHING ELSE that will help your referee write a letter for you.
  • If you are applying to a university: Your STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/INTEREST or dissertation proposal.

Your referee has many demands on their time, so:

  • Ask your referee to write you a letter AT LEAST 1 MONTH (if at all possible) before the letter is due.
  • Give your referee your application materials AT LEAST 2 WEEKS before they are due.
  • Offer to MEET with your referee to talk about your work and progress.
  • Ask your referees how you should CONTACT them if you need to inform them of any changes to your application (don’t assume you’ll reach them quickly by e-mail).
  • Ask your referee when they will be UNAVAILABLE (this is especially important during holidays).

Letters of recommendation have to include specific knowledge of the applicant. Therefore, choose referees who know you and your work well. Remember that your lecturers/professors may refuse to write your letters of recommendation. They may do so for many reasons, including (a) they may feel that they do not know you or your work well enough, (b) they may not have the time to do so, (c) you may not have given them enough time to write a letter, or (d) they may feel that they cannot write a supportive recommendation given either your achievements, their knowledge of you, or their opinion of the appropriateness of the organization to which you are applying. Be prepared for such an eventuality.

Research Theme 1 – Mathematics Learning in Children

  • Ching, B. H.-H., Li, X. Y., & Chen, T. T. (2024). Cross-notation knowledge of rational numbers predicts fraction arithmetic. British Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/BJEP.12674 [SSCI Q1; Impact factor: 3.7]
  • Ching, B. H.-H. (2023). Inhibitory control and visuospatial working memory contribute to 5-year-old children’s use of quantitative inversion. Learning and Instruction, 83, Article 101714. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2022.101714 [SSCI Q1; Impact factor: 6.2]
  • Ching, B. H.-H., & Kong, K. H. (2022). Development of children’s informal understanding of division through sharing: Contributions of reasoning demands and problem situations. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 59, 228-242. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2021.12.013 [SSCI Q1; Impact factor: 3.7]
  • Ching, B. H.-H., & Kong, K. H. (2022). Understanding additive composition is important for symbolic numerical magnitude processing. Cognitive Development, 62, Article 101170. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogdev.2022.101170 [SSCI Q3; Impact factor: 1.8]
  • Ching, B. H.-H. & Wu, H. X. (2021). Young children’s knowledge of fair sharing as an informal basis for understanding division: A latent profile analysis. Learning and Instruction, 73, Article 101460. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2021.101460 [SSCI Q1; Impact factor: 6.2]
  • Ching, B. H.-H., Kong, K. H., Wu, H. X., & Chen, T. T. (2020). Examining the reciprocal relations of mathematics anxiety to quantitative reasoning and number knowledge in Chinese children. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 63, Article 101919. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cedpsych.2020.101919 [SSCI Q1; Impact factor: 10.3]
  • Ching, B. H.-H., & Wu. H. X. (2019). Concreteness fading fosters children’s understanding of the inversion concept in addition and subtraction. Learning and Instruction, 61, 148-159. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2018.10.006 [SSCI Q1; Impact factor: 6.2]
  • Ching, B. H.-H., & Nunes, T. (2017). Children’s understanding of the commutativity and complement principles: A latent profile analysis. Learning and Instruction, 47, 65-79. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2016.10.008 [SSCI Q1; Impact factor: 6.2]
  • Ching, B. H.-H., & Nunes, T. (2017). The importance of additive reasoning in children’s mathematical achievement: A longitudinal study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109,477-508. https://doi.org/10.1037/edu0000154 [SSCI Q1; Impact factor: 4.9
  • Ching, B. H.-H.(2017). Mathematics anxiety and working memory: Longitudinal associations with mathematical performance in Chinese children. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 51, 99-113. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cedpsych.2017.06.006 [SSCI Q1; Impact factor: 10.3]

Research Theme 2 – Self-Worth and Mindsets

  • Li, Y., Ching, B. H.-H., Wu, H. X., Chen, T. T., & He, C. C. (2024). Beneficial or debilitating: A qualitative inquiry into Chinese preschool teachers’ workload-related stress mindset. Early Years, 44, 61-78 Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/09575146.2022.2090518 [SSCI Q4; Impact factor: 1.1]
  • Ching, B. H.-H., Li, X. F., & Chen, T. T. (2023). Longitudinal links between parental failure mindsets, helicopter parenting, and fixed mindset of intelligence in adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 52, 2196-2213. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-023-01815-5 [SSCI Q1; Impact factor: 4.9]
  • Ching, B. H.-H., Li, Y. H., & Chen, T. T. (2023). Helicopter parenting contributes to school burnout via self-control in late adolescence: A longitudinal study. Current Psychology, 42, 29699-29711. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-022-04011-z [SSCI Q2; Impact factor: 2.8]
  • Ching, B. H.-H., Wu, H. X., & Li, X. F. (2023). Creative mindsets are malleable: Effects of “born this way” messages and different definitions of creativity. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 48, Article 101308. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tsc.2023.101308 [SSCI Q1; Impact factor: 3.7]
  • Ching, B. H.-H. (2023). Maternal child-based worth predicts children’s academic contingent self-worth via perceived maternal achievement-oriented psychological control. Educational Psychology, 43, 643-658. https://doi.org/10.1080/01443410.2023.2207794 [SSCI Q2; Impact factor: 3.2]
  • Ching, B. H.-H., Chen, T. T., & He, C. C. (2023). Testing a dual pathway model of appearance-related commentary in gay men: Appearance contingent self-worth as a moderator. Current Psychology, 42, 6897-6911. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-021-02033-7 [SSCI Q2; Impact factor: 2.8]
  • Ching, B. H.-H. & Wu, H. X. (2023). Compliments on skin tone hamper cognitive performance of Chinese adolescent girls with stronger appearance contingent self-worth. Current Psychology, 42, 18982-18996. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-022-03061-7 [SSCI Q2; Impact factor: 2.8]
  • Ching, B. H.-H. (2022). The effect of masculinity threat on transprejudice: Influence of different aspects of masculinity contingent self-worth. Psychology and Sexuality, 13, 550-564. https://doi.org/10.1080/19419899.2021.1883724 [SSCI Q3; Impact factor: 2.3]
  • Ching, B. H.-H., Wu, H. X., & Chen, T. T. (2021). Maternal achievement-oriented psychological control: Implications for adolescent academic contingent self-esteem and mathematics anxiety. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 45, 193-203. https://doi.org/10.1177/0165025420981638 [SSCI Q2; Impact factor: 3.7]
  • Ching, B. H.-H., & Wu, H. X., & Chen, T. T. (2021). Body weight contingent self-worth predicts depressive symptoms in adolescent girls: The roles of self-esteem instability and interpersonal sexual objectification. Body Image, 36, 74-83. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bodyim.2020.10.009 [SSCI Q1; Impact factor: 5.2]
  • Ching, B. H.-H., & Xu, J. T. (2019). Understanding cosmetic surgery consideration in Chinese adolescent girls: Contributions of materialism and sexual objectification. Body Image, 28, 6-15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bodyim.2018.11.001 [SSCI Q1; Impact factor: 5.2]
  • Ching, B. H.-H., & Wu. H. X. (2018). Parental conflicts and materialism in adolescents: Emotional insecurity as a mediator. Journal of Adolescence, 69, 189-202. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2018.07.019 [SSCI Q1; Impact factor: 3.8]

Research Theme 3 – Social Stigma: Development and Implications in Education

  • Ching, B. H.-H., Li, Y. H., & Li, X. F. (2023). Joint effects of offset effort beliefs and biomedical causal attributions on pre-service teachers’ stigma of children with ADHD-related symptoms. Social Psychology of Education. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11218-023-09823-w [SSCI Q2; Impact factor: 2.9]
  • Wu, H. X., Chen, T. T., Ching, B. H.-H., Li, X. Y., & Li, Y. H. (2023). Weight stigma from romantic partners: Its relation with maladaptive and adaptive coping and depressive symptoms. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/sjop.12965 [SSCI Q2; Impact factor: 2.1]
  • Wu, H. X., Li, Y., Ching, B. H.-H., & Chen, T. T. (2023). You are how you speak: The roles of vocal pitch and semantic cues in shaping social perceptions. Perception, 52, 40-55. https://doi.org/10.1177/03010066221135 [SSCI Q4; Impact factor: 1.7]
  • Wu, H. X., Ching, B. H.-H., He, C. C., & Li, Y. (2023). “Thinness is beauty”: Predictors of anti-fat attitudes among young Chinese women. Current Psychology, 42, 6834-6845. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-021-02021-x [SSCI Q2; Impact factor: 2.8]
  • Chen, T. T., Ching, B. H.-H., Li, Y., He, C. C., & Wan, R. (2023). Weight stigma from media: Its associations with coping responses and health outcomes. Current Psychology, 42, 20556-20569. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-022-03179-8 [SSCI Q2; Impact factor: 2.8]
  • Ching, B. H.-H., & Chen T. T. (2022). Effects of biological determinism on beliefs and attitudes about transgender people: Psychological essentialism and biased assimilation. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 51, 1927-1942. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-021-02262-8 [SSCI Q1; Impact factor: 3.8]
  • Ching, B. H.-H. & Wu, H. X. (2022). Ideological beliefs and gender essentialism: Relations to individual and normative opposition to same-sex parent families. Psychology and Sexuality, 14, 158-174. https://doi.org/10.1080/19419899.2022.2075789 [SSCI Q3; Impact factor: 2.3
  • Ching, B. H.-H., & Ma, T. C. (2021). Effects of biological determinist and interactionist causal explanations on undergraduate students’ stigma of children with attention deficits hyperactivity disorders: An experimental investigation. International Journal of Psychology, 56, 772-782. https://doi.org/10.1002/ijop.12738 [SSCI Q2; Impact factor: 3.2]
  • Ching, B. H.-H., Xu, J. T., Chen, T. T., & Kong, K. H. (2020). Gender essentialism, authoritarianism, social dominance orientation, and filial piety as predictors for transprejudice in Chinese people. Sex Roles, 83, 426-441. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-020-01123-3 [SSCI Q1; Impact factor: 3.8]
  • Ching, B. H.-H., & Xu, J. T. (2018). The effects of gender neuroessentialism on transprejudice: An experimental study. Sex Roles, 78, 228-241. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-017-0786-3 [SSCI Q1; Impact factor: 3.8]

Other Topics

  • Chang, F., Wu, H. X., Ching, B. H.-H., Li, X., & Chen, T. T. (2023). Behaviour problems in deaf/hard of hearing children: Contributions of parental stress and parenting styles. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 35, 607-630. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10882-022-09869-2 [SSCI Q3; Impact factor: 1.8]
  • Ching, B. H.-H., & Nunes, T. (2015). Concurrent correlates of Chinese word recognition in deaf and hard-of-hearing children. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 20,172-190. https://doi.org/10.1093/deafed/env003 [SSCI Q2; Impact factor: 2.0]
  • Ching, B. H.-H.,Ho, C. S.-H., Chan, D. W., Chung, K. K.-H., & Lo, L.-Y. (2014). Behavioural characteristics of Chinese adolescents with dyslexia: The use of teachers’ behaviour checklist in Hong Kong. Applied Psycholinguistics, 35, 1235-1257. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0142716413000179 [SSCI Q1; Impact factor: 2.1]
  • Zhang, X., Fung, H. H., & Ching, B. H.-H. (2009). Age differences in goals: Implications for health promotion. Aging and Mental Health, 13, 336-348. https://doi.org/10.1080/13607860802459815 [SSCI Q2; Impact factor: 3.4]
  • Fung, H. H., Ching, B. H.-H., & Yeung, D. Y. (2007). Age differences in emotional regulation: Findings from Western and Eastern cultures. In L. O. Randall (Ed.), Aging and the elderly: Psychology, sociology and health (p. 63-88). Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
  • Educational Psychology
  • Introduction to Special Education
  • Elementary Mathematics Teaching and Research
  • Advanced Developmental Psychology
  • Theories and Studies of Child Development
  • Motivation and Learning
  • Supervised Teaching and School Experience
  • Undergraduate Honour’s Project
  • Master’s and Doctoral Thesis Supervision
  • American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Association for Psychological Science (APS)
  • British Psychological Society (BPS)
  • The European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI)
  • Jean Piaget Society (JPS)
  • Guest Editor
    • Frontier in Human Neuroscience (Section: Interacting minds and brains) (SSCI Q1; Impact factor: 3.8; Rank: 34/147 in Multidisciplinary Psychology) (2022 – 2023)
  • Editorial Board
    • Learning and Instruction (SSCI Q1; Impact factor: 6.2; Rank: 4/60 in Educational Psychology, 14/269 in Education & Educational Research) (2019 – 2022)
    • Psychology and Sexuality (SSCI Q3; Impact factor: 2.3; Rank: 75/147 in Multidisciplinary Psychology) (2024 – present)
    • Cognitive Development (SSCI Q3; Impact factor: 1.8; Rank: 65/89 in Experimental Psychology) (2024 – present)
  • Research Grant Proposal Reviewer
    • Research Council of KU Leuven (University of Leuven, Belgium)
    • Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong
  • Ad hoc Journal Reviewer (since 2017)
    • Learning and Instruction (Outstanding Contribution in Reviewing, November 2017), Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Educational Psychology, Contemporary Educational Psychology, Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, British Journal of Educational Psychology, European Journal of Social Psychology, International Journal of Behavioral Development, Learning and Individual Differences, Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, Educational Studies in Mathematics, Journal of Mathematical Behavior, Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, Research in Developmental Disabilities, The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, Applied Psycholinguistics, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Social Psychology of Education, Personality and Individual Differences, Current Psychology, International Journal of Psychology, Archives of Sexual Behavior, Body Image, Sex Roles, Journal of Homosexuality, Psychology and Sexuality, Computers in Human Behavior Reports, Brain Sciences, Youth and Society, Journal of Health Psychology, Journal of Cognitive Psychology, Human Development, Frontiers in Psychology, Frontiers in Education, Social Sciences, Biodemography and Social Biology
  • Textbook Reviewer
    • Van de Walle’s Elementary and Middle School Mathematics: Teaching Developmentally, 10th Pearson Publishing (2019 – 2020)
  • Among the 50 most productive researchers in top-tier educational psychology journals from 2017-2022 (Kubik et al., 2024) pre-print available at https://osf.io/preprints/psyarxiv/s7j4y
    • Ranked 22nd in the world, and 1st in Asia based on the point-based method (this method considers the number of articles and takes author position into account, with higher positions resulting in more points awarded)
  • Rising Star Award 2023, Association for Psychological Science
    • This award recognizes early career researchers who have demonstrated excellence in publications, received significant recognitions, made significant discoveries, generated work with broad impact, and established an independent research career.
  • Among the most prolific educational psychology researcher in the early career category worldwide (Fong et al., 2022) https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10648-022-09704-2
  • Excellent Paper Award 2022, Faculty of Education, University of Macau
  • Faculty Outstanding Academic Staff 2020, 2023 Faculty of Education, University of Macau
  • Jean Piaget Society Doctoral Dissertation Prize 2018, the Jean Piaget Society
    • An annual international prize awarded to an emerging scholar who best continues the spirit of Piaget – a study grounded in a firm knowledge of, but not limited to, the work of Piaget and Inhelder.
  • Clarendon Scholarship 2013-2016, University of Oxford
    • A full scholarship that covers tuition fee and living expenses for 3 years
    • Less than 3% of graduate offer holders (~1-2 students per department) receive the scholarship each year
  • Emerging Psychologists’ Program Award 2016, the 31st International Congress in Psychology
    • A number of concurrent PhD students, postdoctoral fellows, or recent graduates in the field of psychology were selected internationally to attend this program.
  • Student Representative of Division of Social Science at Encaenia 2014-2015, University of Oxford
    • Each year 1-2 students among all undergraduate and postgraduate students in each Division at University of Oxford are selected to attend this annual ceremony.
  • Kellogg College Scholarship 2014, Kellogg College, University of Oxford
    • A competitive award that covers 100% college fee
    • Declined in favor of Clarendon Scholarship
  • Oxford Education Award 2013, Department of Education, University of Oxford
    • Awarded for the best dissertation in the cohort of the MSc (Education) program (~70-80 students)