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Personal profile

Personal profile

Dr. Ju Seong Lee is an Assistant Professor and the Acting Head of the Department of English Language Education at the Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK). With a deep-rooted commitment to supporting underprivileged and marginalized groups, Dr. Lee's work emphasizes the importance of equity, informal learning, and innovative pedagogy in multicultural environments.


Lee’s journey began with volunteer work, teaching Korean language and culture to foreigners at the Gwangju International Centre from 2000 to 2003. He extended his volunteering efforts by teaching English and music to children at Trentham Primary School in New Zealand in 2001, and at Samzampa, Batungam & Thumbapa Elementary School in Thailand in 2002. Additionally, he served as a volunteer reporter for the Latin American Group in Wellington, New Zealand, in 2001. In 2003 and 2007, Lee worked as a camp counselor and taught music and physical education to teenagers at Camp Burgess and Hayward in Massachusetts, USA.


Further contributing to his diverse experiences, Lee served as an army translator, facilitating communication between soldiers from Korea, the United States, Sweden, and Switzerland at the United Nations Command Security Battalion-Joint Security Area in South Korea between 2004 and 2006. He also volunteered to teach and mentor undergraduate students at Mongolia International University in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, in 2007. Lee's dedication to education even led him to represent Kazakhstan on matters related to education for sustainable development during the Model UNESCO General Conference in South Korea in 2009. From 2010 to 2014, he worked as an English teacher and department head for secondary students at Dream School, an alternative school in South Korea.


In 2014, Lee assisted in Dr. Mark Dressman’s Fulbright project, focusing on designing an alternative model for English education in Moroccan universities. Following this collaboration, he has conducted research on Informal Digital Learning of English (IDLE) in various countries, including Morocco (2016), South Korea (2018), Indonesia (2019), Sweden (2021), Taiwan (2022), Kazakhstan (2023), Mainland China (2023), and Hong Kong (2023). His research findings highlighted the positive impact of IDLE on students' grit, growth mindset, emotions, motivation, vocabulary, willingness to communicate, speaking, well-being, and intercultural communication skills.


Currently, Lee’s research centers on understanding IDLE through the lens of ecological systems theory (Guo & Lee, 2023). He is also engaged in an intervention study focused on IDLE, aimed at enhancing equity, quality, efficiency, and well-being, especially for underprivileged and marginalized individuals. Additionally, he is actively developing innovative pedagogy incorporating emerging technologies (e.g., AI and the metaverse) to foster critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication skills (Kiaer & Lee, 2023).


In 2023, Dr. Lee has co-founded the Language Innovation For Empowerment (LIFE) initiative alongside scholars from Stanford, Oxford, UNESCO, and EdUHK. The initiative aims to accelerate language acquisition among underprivileged students, amplify their voices, and enhance their entrepreneurial skills, ultimately preparing them to become global citizens.


Dr. Lee warmly welcomes opportunities to supervise potential graduate and undergraduate students, collaborate with like-minded researchers, and lead international and interdisciplinary projects on these important topics. Lee, hailing from South Korea, completed his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2018. Please feel free to reach out and connect with him to explore these exciting opportunities further.

Research interests

  • CALL (Computer-Assisted Language Learning): Leveraging technology for language education
  • IDLE (Informal Digital Learning of English): Advancing equity, quality, efficiency, and well-being through extramural digital platforms
  • Innovative Pedagogy with Design Thinking: Nurturing critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication skills
  • Learners’ Emotions and Well-being: Exploring the psychological dimensions of learning
  • Tech, Attention, and Learning: Studying how technology impacts attention, learning, well-being, and productivity
  • Supporting Marginalized Communities: Empowering underserved populations

External Appointments

Editorial Board Members

  • The International Journal of Applied Linguistics (2023–Present)
  • The Journal of Asia TEFL (2022–Present)
  • The Korea English Education Society (2019–2021)

Professional Association Committee

  • Founding member and Treasure, Language Innovation For Empowerment (LIFE) (Aug. 2023 – Present)
  • Director of SSCI, Asia TEFL (Jan. 2023 – Present)
  • Director of Research and Education, Asia TEFL (Jan. 2021 – Jan. 2023)
  • Committee member of Awards Professional Council, TESOL International (2019 – 2021)

Professional information


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