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

Begoña Bellés-Fortuño, Ana-Isabel Martínez-Hernández


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.


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

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