Grad. Students Feature Stories

An Unforgettable Journey in HKBU



I shall never forget my experiences at the Department of Education Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences of Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU). Even after I came back to Beijing, I dreamt several times of the episodes in Hong Kong. The life and study there have offered me new perspectives on examining controversial issues.


Having been a college English teacher in mainland China for over ten years, I read extensively in the literature related to the English Language Teaching (ELT) domain. Later, during my PhD study at HKBU, I grew interested in teacher beliefs, teacher knowledge, and personal philosophy of teaching. In one conference about qualitative research methods in my pilot study, I exchanged ideas with some other EFL teachers and became interested in the concept of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). After consulting my supervisor, I decided to put my study focus on PCK in teaching speaking. PCK pertaining to speaking instruction is more underrepresented than PCK pertaining to other language skills. Thus, it is more worthy of exploration in tertiary-level EFL instruction. The aim of the study was to explore EFL teachers’ PCK in teaching a series of speaking courses in Chinese universities, i.e., oral communication, public speaking, and English debate. The difficulties lay in the exploration of a large amount of data relevant to the characteristics of PCK and the paths of teachers’ PCK development, within a limited range of time. I still remember the data collection process, in which I met several EFL teachers in Beijing, observed their classes, talked with them, and sat shoulder-to-shoulder on the bus with them, talking continuously for almost two hours. The beautiful sunset at that time has been etched on my memory. After two years of data collection, analysis, writing, and rewriting, the study was completed to propose a comprehensive framework of PCK components and development for speaking instructors, adding to the literature on EFL teachers’ cognition in the Chinese context. Along the journey, I have been so grateful to my supervisor, Dr. Ricky Lam, and my gratitude to him is beyond words.


Nowadays, I am doing relevant research on assessing EFL teachers’ technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK). I have already collected some data and am in the process of doing data analysis using SPSS. The experiences in HKBU have endowed me with so much knowledge and courage and so many memories which enable me to pursue further progress and facilitate my professional development.



Dr. WANG Lan

Graduate of the PhD programme of the Department of Education Studies. Currently a lecturer at North China University of Technology.