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Dr. Ken Lau

Senior Lecturer

  • BA (Hons.), Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • MRes in Applied Linguistics, Lancaster University
  • PhD in Applied Linguistics, Lancaster University
  • Fellow, Chartered Institute of Linguists (FCIL)
  • MIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
  • Chartered Linguist

Ken gained his first degree in Translation and Chinese (1st Hon.) from Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He then furthered his education at Lancaster University, UK, where he obtained his Master of Research (MRes) and PhD, both in Applied Linguistics. He has also recently completed a professional certificate in leadership and management in education via edX (the University of Newcastle, Australia). His scholarly pursuits include publications in a wide range of areas such as the assessment of reflection and independent learning, English as a lingua franca, English learning experiences, genres, and language education and policy. His research outputs have appeared in key SSCI journals such as Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, Higher Education, Journal of English for Academic Purposes, Language and Education, Oxford Review of Education and System. His other academic interests include discourse analysis, identities and roles in writing, social learning theory (particularly Community of Practice) and Systemic Functional Linguistics. With colleagues from CAES and two other universities, he has secured UGC funding for and successfully completed a collaborative project titled Online Project for the Improvement of University Speaking (OPTIMUS) (

At CAES, he is primarily responsible for teaching on the two MA programmes and supervising PhD students. He has supervised around 30 MA dissertations and 10 PhD theses to successful completion. He has taken up the coordinatorship of the MA in Applied Linguistics (MAAL) programme  and has been deputy programme director of the MATESOL programme since July 2018. He was the Chair of the Publicity and Outreach Committee from 2010-2017.

He has also been awarded two Knowledge Exchange Grants to lead the development and evaluation of ProWriteHK (, a professional communication website for the general public.

Special Interest Groups:


In-House Committees:

CAES Management Committee

Professional Affiliations:

  • Chartered Institute of Linguists
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Other Major Administrative Roles:

  • Member, MATESOL Board of Studies
  • Deputy Programme Director, MATESOL
  • Chair, Departmental Research Postgraduates’ Committee

Selected Publications / Presentations:

  • Gardner, D. , Lau, K., Tseng, M-Y., Yu, L-T., & Yuan, Y-P. (2023). Language learning beyond the classroom in an Asian context: What works and what doesn’t? Studies in Self-Access Learning, 14(2), 106-135.  (SCOPUS)
  • Lau, K., Lin, C-Y., & Odle, E. (2021). “I’m just saying maybe…”: Engagement in dissertation defenses. Language and Education, 35(1), 1-21. (SSCI)
  • Lin, C-Y., & Lau, K. (2021). “I found it very special and interesting”: Evaluative language in Master’s thesis defenses in Taiwan universities. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 53, 101035. (SSCI)

Grants / Awards / Other Achievements:

  • UGC Language Collaborative Fund [HK$2,380,000]: Online Project for the Improvement of University Speaking (OPTIMUS) (Co-PI with D. Gardner)
  • (with David Gardner) Best Presentation Award and Excellent Paper Award by Chartered Institute of Linguists, Hong Kong Society for the paper “A new generation: Profiling Hong Kong tertiary English learners”
  • Knowledge Exchange Grants: ProWrite: One Click to Success (2014-2015); Engage, Empower & Enhance: An Evaluation of the Impact of ProWriteHK (2015-2016)

Office: Room 6.42

Telephone: 3917 2010

Email Address: