The use of Wordclouds for vocabulary retention in the English for Psychology classroom


  • Begoña Bellés-Fortuño Universitat Jaume I
  • Ana-Isabel Martínez-Hernández Universitat Jaume I



English for Health Sciences, OERs, word cloud, psychological disorders


Several studies have revealed that computer applications offer a vast potential for teaching and learning. Open Educational Resources (OERs) can be especially beneficial to generate innovative abilities in the classroom related to new means of communication and collaboration (Conole and Alevizou, 2010). As regards the teaching of foreign languages, OERs have been acknowledged to be a useful tool for vocabulary acquisition (Bărbuleț, 2013), for enhancing text reading (Alkahtani, 1999), for writing (Krajka, 2000), and for improving pronunciation (Lee, 2008). Computer-assisted language learning (CALL) programmes as a means of learning-by-playing in the classroom have also proven to facilitate the acquisition of English vocabulary and pronunciation through games (Young & Wang, 2014).

This study aims to explore the implementation and use of an online tool such as Wordclouds in the English for Psychology classroom at university in order to improve vocabulary retention and the overall learning of English in the specific field of Psychology. By means of exposing students to psychological pathologies, they will be asked to generate vocabulary word clouds to check their vocabulary retention and keyword selections at two different stages, being exposed to specialised texts before and after the reading of those texts later. Computer applications in the ESP classroom are combined here with group work development. Previous research has shown that working collaboratively facilitates learning, primarily through comparative reflection and peer learning (Angehrn & Maxwell, 2009; Evans & Cuffe, 2009).

Results have shown that the exploitation of students’ background knowledge through the tool Wordclouds has definitely aided vocabulary retention of keywords about psychological pathologies as well as improved their English for psychology language accuracy.


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Author Biographies

Begoña Bellés-Fortuño, Universitat Jaume I

Begoña Bellés Fortuño, PhD, is a senior lecturer in the Department of English Studies at Universitat Jaume I, Spain, where she lectures English Studies degree students as well as in the degrees of Medicine and Nursing. She is currently the Director of the Interuniversity Institute of Modern Applied Languages (IULMA) at Universitat Jaume I.She was a Morley Scholar in the ELI (English Language Institute) at the University of Michigan (AnnArbor, USA) in 2007, where she worked together with the MICASE team. She has been a visiting researcher in Universities such as Midsweden University (Sweden), Katolische Univesität Eichstaett (Germany) or the University of Edinburgh (UK).She has published articles inRESLA(Revista Española de Lingüística Aplicada) andVerbeia; she co-edited the volumeCorpus-Based Approachesto English Language Teaching(2010, Continuum), a compilation of research exploring different ways to apply corpus-based and corpus-informed approaches to English language teaching. Recent publications include the chapters: Marginal Stories in Classroom Asides in M. Gotti & C. Sancho-Guida,Narratives in Academic and Professional Genres,Peter Lang; and Popular Science Articles vs Scientific Articles: A Tool for Medical Education in Ordoñez-Lopez, P. & Edo-Marzá, N.Medical Discourse in Professional, Academic and Popular Settings, Multilingual Matters. Her research interests are focused on Discourse Analysis, and more concretely, academic discourseboth written and spoken, as well as on Discourse of Medicine and clinical setting communication encounters. In the educational side, she runs an educational project on CLIL in the university classroom.

Ana-Isabel Martínez-Hernández, Universitat Jaume I

Ana Isabel Martínez Hernández is a part-time teacher in the Department of Translation and Communication Studies at Universitat Jaume I, where she teaches English for Translators and Interpreters. She is currently a PhD student at Universitat Jaume I whose research interests are focused on the accessibility of materials in higher education for students with special needs. She has recently participated in nation and international conferences.


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