Promoting the Pedagogical Use of Pictograms

A Case Study of Five In-Service Costa Rican English Teachers




English teaching, materials, pedagogy, pictograms, teacher education


This article reports on the findings of a qualitative research project, in which an instrumental case study with five in-service English teachers graduated from Universidad Nacional (UNA), Costa Rica was carried out. Hence, a hybrid continuing education workshop was designed and conducted, which was focused on promoting the pedagogical use of pictograms in the design of materials for teaching English. As the main product of the workshop, the participants created and used a teaching material which included pictograms. Among the main results obtained in the research project, the students’ facility, motivation, and speed to communicate their ideas in English by using pictograms stood out.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Juan Pablo Zúñiga Vargas, Universidad Nacional (UNA), Heredia, Costa Rica.

M. A. in English Teaching as a Foreign Language all from the University of Costa Rica (UCR), San José, Costa Rica. Professor of undergraduate and graduate English teacher education courses at Universidad Nacional (UNA), Heredia, Costa Rica. Main editor of the academic journal Ensayos Pedagógicos from UNA.


Alcalde, I. (2015). Visualización de la información: De los datos al conocimiento. [Visualization of information: From data to knowledge]. Editorial UOC.

Arnold, J., Puchta, H., & Rinvolucri, M. (2007). Imagine that! Mental imagery in the EFL classroom. Cambridge University Press.

Bangir, G. (2015). The reflections of visual literacy training in pre-service teachers’ perceptions and instructional materials design. Journal of Education and Human Development, 4(2), 143-157.

Clark, J. M., & Paivio, A. (1991). Dual coding theory and education. Educational Psychology Review, 3(3), 149-210.

Creswell, J. W. (2012). Educational research: Planning, conducting and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (4th ed.). Pearson.

Damyanov, I., & Tsankov, N. (2018). The role of infographics for the development of skills for cognitive modeling in education. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, 13(1), 82-92.

Díaz, F., & Hernández, G. (2002). Estrategias docentes para un aprendizaje significativo: una interpretación constructivista (2nd ed.) [Teaching strategies for meaningful learning: A contructivist interpretation]. MacGraw-Hill Interamericana.

Falck, K. (2001). The practical application of pictogram. Swedish Institute for Special Needs Education.

Fraenkel, J. R., Wallen, N. E., & Hyun, H. (2012). How to design and evaluate research in education (8th ed.). Mc Graw-Hill.

Fundación ONCE. (2013). Pautas de diseño de pictogramas para todas las personas: proyecto de biblioteca digital de recursos gráficos orientativos en accesibilidad cognitiva urbana. [Guidelines for the design of pictograms for everyone: A project for a digital library of orientation graphic resources in cognitive urban accessibility].

Goldstein, B. (2016). Visual literacy in English language teaching: Part of the Cambridge Papers in ELT series. Cambridge University Press.

Malamed, C. (2015). Visual design solutions: Principles and creative inspiration for learning professionals. Wiley

Martos, A. E. (2008). Poemas y cuentos con pictogramas como recurso para la lectura, escritura y otras habilidades comunicativas. [Poems and short stories with pictograms as resources for reading, writing and other communicative abilities]. Glosas Didácticas, 17, 49-63.

Paivio, A. (2014). Bilingual dual coding theory and memory. In R. R. Heredia & J. Altarriba (Eds.), Foundations of bilingual memory (pp. 41-62). Springer.

Paivio, A. (2013). Mind and its evolution: A dual coding theoretical approach. Psychology Press.

Paivio, A. (2009). Imagery and verbal processes. Psychology Press.

Paivio, A. (2006). Dual Coding Theory and education: Pathways to literacy achievement for high poverty children. The University of Michigan School of Education. Paivio, A., & Lambert, W. (1981). Dual coding and bilingual memory. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 20, 532-539.

Pauwels, L. (2008). Visual literacy and visual culture: Reflections on developing more varied and explicit visual competencies. The Open Communication Journal, 2, 79-85.

Pérez, M. (2017). Los pictogramas en el proceso de enseñanza/aprendizaje de la lectoescritura. [Pictograms in the teaching/learning process of reading and writing]. Publicaciones Didácticas, 81, 487-508.

Rosler, R. (2011). Cómo evitar la muerte por PowerPoint. [How to avoid death by Powerpoint]. Revista Argentina de Cardiología, 79(5), 1-6.

Sansone, K. L. (2015). Using strategies from graphic design to improve teaching and learning. In D. M. Baylen & A. D’Alba (Eds.), Essentials of of teaching and integrating visual and media literacy: Visualizing learning (pp. 3-26). Springer.

Suryanto, S. (2014). How can visual literacy support English language teaching? Lingua, Jurnal Bahasa & Sastra, 15(1), 35-43.

Tomlinson, B., & Masuhara, H. (2018). The complete guide to the theory and practice of materials development for language learning. John Wiley & Sons.

Wasilewska, M. (2017). The power of image nation: how to teach a visual generation. In K. Donaghy & D. Xerri (Eds.), The image in English language teaching (pp. 43-50). Gutenberg Press.

Wright, A. (2010). Pictures for language learning. Cambridge University Press.




How to Cite

Vargas, J. P. Z. (2021). Promoting the Pedagogical Use of Pictograms: A Case Study of Five In-Service Costa Rican English Teachers. BELT - Brazilian English Language Teaching Journal, 12(1), e41142.