Articles on Literature and Education

Successful Experiences, Book Reviews and more...

Number 9
2019 October

Upcoming activities:
VIII APABAL Convention, Video Contest, Creative Café, Film Series...





"APABAL MAGAZINE" is a publication of the Associació del Professorat d'Anglès de les Illes Balears



The opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the authors of the articles and do not represent the opinions of APABAL. Each author is responsible for the correct documentation of any sources used in their article.

Number 9
October 2019

Aina Carreras

Carmen Moreno

Board of editors
Susana Cortés
Montserrat García
Assumpta Sureda
Aina Trias
Margarita Truyols

English text revision
Vivienne Birch

and editing

Carmen Moreno

Aina Mas

c/ Salvador Dalí, 5
07011 Palma
(Illes Balears)


D.L.  PM 1159-2019
ISSN 2695-3978


Patrick McGuinness  pg. 52
Patick Quinn  pg. 55
Frances Spalding  pg. 57

Upcoming activities
Creative Café pg. 69
Film Series pg. 69
Course for "oposicions" pg. 70
Video Contest  pg. 70
VIII APABAL Convention pg. 71

Richard Bradley pg.6
Gerard McLoughlin pg.12
Scott Thornbury pg.16
Alex Warren pg.22
   Tom Wogan pg.26

Letter to the readers  pg. 4 


IEDIB (Institut d'Ensenyaments 
a Distància de les I.B.) pg. 41
        Roy Pearse pg. 45


Book Corner
"Machines Like Me" pg. 64
"Throw Me to the Wolves"  pg. 66

Successful Experiences
Catherine Cobb  et al  pg.33
Ana Gonell  pg.37


feedback, articles and suggestions are welcome!!!!

"Creative Café " sessions at Ciutadà Il·legal (Pòrtol)

Aina Carreras. President of APABAL

Dear colleagues,


Social media is changing the way people connect and share messages and experiences, "How can Apabal make the most of digital technologies to interact with you?" Your comments and recommendations are most welcome in contributing to our overall improvement.  

Upcoming activities: a summary of the activities planned for 2019-2020  

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change" C. Darwin

To adapt to the new digital world, some months ago the APABAL Newsletter was launched. And to keep on adapting to the digital technologies that are transforming our world today, we are presenting our Apabal Magazine online for the first time.   

This issue, num. 9, contains the following sections:   
Articles; a compilation of the contributions of experts who have participated in the activities we have carried out during the school year 2018-2019. 
Successful experiences; this section is intended for teachers who have interesting experiences and wish to share them.
Interviews with people who can make important contributions to education and culture.
Upcoming activities: a summary of the activities planned for 2019-2020

We would like to extend our thanks to our members and followers; with your support and engagement we will keep improving. On behalf of the Apabal board, we invite you to collaborate in the association and to join us.   

And last but not at least, we would like to thank the speakers and sponsors from our VII Apabal Convention and Literary Series, who have enriched our magazine with their writing; without their help this publication would not have been possible.   

Finally, we take this opportunity to wish you a wonderful new school year.


Articles by: Richard Bradley, Gerard McLoughlin, Scott Thornbury, Alex Warren and Tom Wogan


This article is loosely based on a presentation given at the APABAL Conference 2019.  The aim of the presentation was to show a raft of motivating strategies and practical activities, all based on the premise that teachers should constantly be aiming to reach every different type of learner in the class. 

I started the session by asking the participants to mark on a cline what kind of learner they feel they are.  I chose to
use a cline on the assumption that
nobody is one hundred percent, for example, auditory or visual, but somewhere in between.

Applied..................................Conceptual Spatial...................................Non-spatial Social..................................Independent Creative....................................Pragmatic

This simple activity could be a launch for an interesting class discussion about learning styles, with the possibility of lots of extension work.  For example, find a classmate with a very similar/very different learner profile to you. 
Discuss your similarities/differences.

Richard Bradley

VII APABAL Convention.
April 2019. Palma.

Richard Bradley has worked in Spain, Portugal, Brazil and the UK in the state and private sectors as a teacher/teacher trainer in the areas of English language/literature, drama, music, CLIL and general methodology. 

Currently, he works with 'Excellence in Education' (Trinity College London Approved Service Provider Spain/Portugal) as Consultant for Professional Development, specialising in CLIL, creativity and classroom management.  


Richard Bradley

Step 6.  Evaluate (how well did I do?) 

Step 7.  Communicate (let's tell someone)  

Step 8.  Learn from experience (what have I learnt?) 

Structuring a task enriches the learning experience.  Eg it enables the teacher to ask questions about each step, checking progress and ensuring that high level thinking skills (HOTS) are being applied by the learners. A TASC wheel could be permanently displayed on the classroom wall or a copy placed on each group table.  This structured activity helps the teacher and students focus on the process of learning, not just 

One could also look at AVK (audio, visual, kinaesthetic learners), or Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences.

One of the principal things that students in our classes should gain is self-esteem, and an understanding of different learner styles helps students to understand that everyone has positive attributes.  We must get away from the traditional student perception that a class normally consists of the clever students and the not so clever ones.

Mind Tools

Thinking Actively in a Social Context. The TASC wheel.  Designed by Belle Wallace. 

Step 1.  Gather/organise (what do I know about this?) 

Step 2.  Identify (what is the task?) 

Step 3. Generate (how many ideas can I think of?) 

Step 4.  Decide (which idea is the best?) 

Step 5.  Implement (Let's do it!)  


Richard Bradley

Combine...a car and a boat 

Traffic lights 

We looked at how traffic lights can be used in three totally different ways in the classroom. 

1.        A quick comprehension check... At the end of a teacher explanation/exercise/activity etc the students hold up.
  • red card...I have not understood very much.
  • An orange card...I have more or less understood
  • green card...I have understood very well

Then the teacher could put the students into groups to help each other.  For example, groups of three, a red, an orange and a green.  Students often understand a colleague's explanation more easily than a teacher's.  In particular, young students are more likely to admit to not understanding by holding up a card than by telling the teacher.  However, the teacher should be aiming to teach in such a way that red cards are a rarity.   

on the final product, and has the additional advantage that different steps reach different kinds of learners. 

A wheel is just one example of a Graphic Organiser.  Organising information graphically instead of in a linear way helps understanding and remembering, and is much more fun!  And it replicates more closely how the brain processes information, ie not in a linear way.  

SCAMPER.  An acronym for substitute, combine, adapt, modify, put to another use, eliminate, reverse

This is an excellent tool for brainstorming in a structured way.  It encourages students to think outside of the box and use divergent thinking;  i.e. at this stage 'crazy' ideas should be encouraged.  At a later convergent thinking stage, the ideas can be whittled down to create the final product.  

For instance,  designing a car for the future.

Substitute...the steering wheel for a hand-held device


Richard Bradley

rather than actually teach a class about behavioural issues.  An effective method to help students control their emotions is by referring to a traffic light, prominently displayed in the    classroom.  

RED.  Stop, calm down, and think before you act.  You have a choice.  You cannot control the emotions that come, but once you have them, you can decide the action.

YELLOW.  Think of the range of things you can do and what the consequences might be.

GREEN.  Pick the best option and try it out.

Generally teachers should be taking every opportunity to teach children how to behave rather than just applying sanctions. 
For example,  if a teacher sees three children pushing at the front of a lunch queue, he/she could shout at them.  However, it would be more useful to give an impromptu lesson in resolving conflicts,  e.g. by asking them to use the scissors, paper, stone game to decide their place in the queue.  

2.  Traffic lights to indicate to the class the level of noise acceptable at a given time.  An essential part of classroom management is the ability to control the noise level of a class.  Using visual cues is far more effective than the teacher shouting at a class to be quiet.

Red.  Silence, or very quiet individual work.  Hands up to call the teacher to help.

Yellow.  Small voices, group work.

Green. Whole class discussion.

It may take days of practice for a class to get used to the idea that the teacher expects different noise levels for different parts of the lesson, but it is an excellent investment of time.  Before a class can embark on the learning process the students need to know how to learn, what rules are in place etc.  

3.       Using traffic lights as an aid for teaching emotional intelligence skills.

Teachers have the tendency to react to behavioural issues through the use of sanctions etc


Richard Bradley

A practical example of how to introduce choice into a lesson is the following


In my many years of observing teachers in action, one common denominator has been that the majority of classes consist of all the students doing exactly the same activity throughout the whole lesson.  Referring to the underlying theme of this article, learner styles, it is obvious that giving students a choice in how they wish to spend a certain percentage of their lesson or course has many benefits.  Choice meets diverse learning skills (Audio/visual/kinaesthetic, Gardner's multiple
intelligences/ learner preferences, etc).  Choice helps move the classroom from teacher-centred to student-centred.  Choice helps move the teacher from 'the sage on the stage to the guide at the side'.  In the classroom, we need to celebrate DIVERSITY.  Choice helps us do this by giving time and space for individuals to express themselves.  For example, diversity of thinking styles, language, ethnicity, religion, perspectives, sexual orientation, nationality, job level, race, gender, skills, culture, physical abilities, experiences, age...


The class has studied a text about, for example, anorexia.  Each student receives a card and ticks choices a, b, c, or d, according to what they wish to do. 

a) write/perform a sketch  based on the text; b) write a poem on the text; c) write a magazine problem page letter based on the text; d) make a poster alerting teenagers (or  parents/teachers etc) to the dangers of anorexia. 

On the same card the students mark if they wish to a, work alone, b, in a  pair/group of three or c, in a larger group 4/5/6.  The teacher collects the cards and organises the activities according to the students'  wishes.  Obviously a student who always wants to work alone should sometimes be encouraged to step out of their comfort zone and work in a  team. 

This is an example of SAME SOURCE (one text on anorexia that the whole class has read), DIFFERENT WAYS OF REPORTING/INTERPRETING. 

You could do the opposite.  DIFFERENT SOURCES.  SAME WAY OF REPORTING/INTERPRETING.  For instance, students/groups choose a text to read, but all have to report it 

Richard Bradley

them is a GENIUS.  But he says that they must tell him which one SPECIFICALLY is the genius,'                                                                                                                                                            

    in the form of a poem/rap.

NOTE!  "Teachers need to create choices that are robust enough for students to feel that their decision has an impact on their learning" (i.e. meaningful activities) Robert Marzano.  For example, a choice of 'draw a picture' might devalue the whole activity."  

A memory tool

Stories are very powerful, forming part of our heritage from the moment we first start to understand language.  A story is much easier to remember than random lists.  The teacher tells the following story (emphasising the words in capital letters) and asks the students to visualize the situation.  Then the students retell the story a few times, first to each other in pairs, then in groups, then as a whole class.


'You are in a theatre. At the back of the stage is projected a huge internet DOMAIN name, like Trinitycollege.com.  A KING walks on to the stage. He introduces himself as King PHIL.  He says he has come to teach a CLASS.  He starts the class by giving ORDERS.  He points to a FAMILY.  He gets the family on stage and tells them that one of 

In next to no time the class have memorised the taxonomic hierarchy in biological classification!!!

In conclusion, I would urge teachers to treat each student as an individual.  I suggest that our mantra before each class should be 'I am going to do my very best to help each student learn', rather than 'I'm going to teach English in a fantastic way.'  

Gerard McLoughlin

VII APABAL Convention.
April 2019. Palma

Gerard McLoughlin works as a teacher and teacher trainer at International House Barcelona, Spain.

He is the president of TESOL-SPAIN and an ambassador for the Disabled Access Friendly Campaign.

He has spoken about (dis)ability issues at conferences in Spain, France and Malta.

twitter: #GerardMcLo


As a teacher, I have begun more and more to bring authentic materials into my higher level classes. My own aim is to help direct students to reputable websites and to raise their awareness of issues and topics that are rarely found in course books. It's all about perspective and I find it interesting to help students see things from a different perspective. I use twitter a lot for my sources and, in the activities, I have included the hashtags. Let's look at some ways in which I have brought authentic materials into my classrooms to raise students' awareness of different issues.  

1 The blind photographer

Pete Eckert is a professional photographer who was born sighted and then went blind in his early twenties. I found out about him when watching British TV and saw an advert that he had produced for a well-known car manufacturer. I then went online and found his own website and a short video where he talks about how he went blind and how he approaches his photography (link in the appendix). From this, I developed it to use in the classroom.

Ask students:  Which of these jobs can a 


Gerard McLoughlin

completed the full phrase. This really helps them tune into the typical problems they have with listening to fast connected speech. 

2  UN Women    

This organisation is about empowering women and raising awareness of the value women have in society. I found a great video that tells the great contributions women have had on society since 1869. It has no sound; only pictures and text with the date and the contributions (see below). 

Show the dates only and get
the students to predict (or match) the dates to the contributions.

Show the video to check their predictions. Then show the answers and in pairs, they choose one of the contributions and using their phones to find out more about what happened.

They then regroup and tell each other what they found out. For homework, they could do more research and write a summary.

blind person do, why/why not? Piano Tuner, Barber, Social Worker, Photographer, Bicycle Repairer, Lawyer. 

Get feedback and tell them that all of them are done by blind people.

I then exploit the short description of the video by getting them to predict what he will say : the blind photographer explains the improbability of his vocation and how the eye is not always the most important thing in taking a picture.  Then play the video: it's about 4 minutes long. 

Teaching Tip: I always find that with a listening task students don't always catch everything so I tend to then replay sections where they miss things and build it up on the board as a gap fill. For example, at the beginning of the video clip Pete says "I was a visual person for half my life. I'd intended to go to architect school, I'd already gone through graduate school ".  On the board, I show how many gaps with the first sentence: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ and ask the students to copy in their notebooks. I then reply  that sentence until they have 


Gerard McLoughlin

My class had a Google account and I used a Google doc in the class and asked them to write a summary of their partner. As they were writing, I was able to point out mistakes on the projected version of Google docs. For homework, I shared the link and got them to write a comment (in the Google account).    

4 Free and Equal United Nations 

This organization is about lesbian, gay and transgender. I found a video which shows the effects of bullying with young adults and how it is sometimes the parents who instill the values in their children. The video is a cartoon and there is no dialogue just some music. It tells the story of a boy who plays football with his best friend every day until one day his mother sees her kissing another girl. She stops them playing together and after this he physically abuses her. When the mother sees this she is horrified and it all ends well.  

Sit the students face to face so that one of them can't see the video.

1869 Equality, 1893 Vote, 1932 Aviation, 1940 Economy, 1963 Leap for mankind, 1966 Redefine politics,  2012 Inspire, Today ????

3 Refugees UNHCR

This organsiation produces a wealth of videos to help raise awareness of refugees. The video 'The Dream Diaries' shows the hopes and dreams of young people who have been displaced in Europe. 

Show the photos with ages and names of the young people and ask students to discuss: What are their hopes and dreams? What is it like in their countries? What do they remember? Students then watch the video and discuss the answers.

Show students the different statements and decide which of the young people said them. You might need to replay to check.

Then show students the sentence stems and individually complete with their own ideas. In pairs they compare and see what they have in common. 


feel when he was younger? How has he benefitted from having Aspergers?

Video links:

Peter Eckert

UN Women
BBc 100 women:
The autocomplete truth:

UNHCR Dream diaries

Chris Packham

UN Free and Equal

Play about 10 seconds of the video and the student facing then has to explain what happened. Do this twice, then they change roles. Continue until the end of the video. 

Once they have watched the whole video, replay it with them all watching and pausing to get different pairs to retell the story. This is where you can then help with any language they need. If you have the right group, you could then get them to talk about how they feel about bullying. For homework they can then write a summary of the video.   

5. Mental Health Issues

Chris Packham is a famous and successful TV wildlife presenter in the UK. He also has autism and talks about a new experiment in the USA. 

Show some photos of Chris and ask/tell the students about him. Give students the following question to answer as they watch the video: How does he fight autism? Why does he go to the U.S.? What's the treatment and how does it work? How did he 

Gerard McLoughlin


Scott Thornbury

VII APABAL Convention.
April 2019. Palma

Scott Thornbury is an internationally recognized academic and teacher trainer in the field of English Language Teaching; he has written over a dozen books on ELT methodology.

Currently, Thornbury is Associate Professor of English Language Studies at the New School in New York. 


It's taken for granted that, in order to motivate learners, the classroom experience should be 'fun'. But what exactly does this mean - and is 'fun' necessarily a good thing? In this article, I want to explore these questions, looking at the pros and cons of 'fun-centred' learning.

If you do a corpus search for the plural nouns that most frequently follow the modifier 'fun', the third most common (after fun things and fun facts) is fun activities. And if you search online for fun activities you will find that many of the examples are connected to education, in one form or the other. Likewise, if you look at any ELT conference program, you're likely to find the word fun in many presentation titles: Vocabulary review in fun ways; Using chants to make language memorable and fun! In other words, fun is a key term in the discourse of (language) education, and, more often as not, it is assumed to be entirely good.

However, a number of educational scholars have challenged this idea, one of the most prominent being Neil Postman, in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985). Postman argues that the idea that teaching should be 'entertaining' has no precedents in the history of educational theory. He attributes the 'fun' factor


the communicative approach around the same time downplayed the need for rigorous accuracy, suggesting - to some teachers at least -  that 'anything goes', so long as learners are communicating fluently.  One of the foremost proponents of communicative language teaching, for example, argued persuasively for a 'minimal teaching strategy' whereby learners simply performed communicative tasks in the belief that "language learning will take care of itself" (Allwright 1979, p. 170).

However, the reaction back to a 'focus on form', including error correction, was not long in coming. Studies of learners whose language development had effectively 'fossilized' (e.g. Higgs & Clifford 1982) suggested that the learners might have benefited from a more rigorous approach. In contrast to Krashen's Input Hypothesis, with its risk of premature fossilization, Merrill Swain (1985) proposed the Output Hypothesis, in which the learner's output should be "pushed towards the delivery of a message that is not only conveyed, but that is conveyed  

to a number of causes, including the influence of television and the way it had been enlisted for educational purposes - a trend that has grown exponentially more recently with the advent of new digital technologies. As he famously wrote, "What is the problem for which television [or computers, or YouTube, or gamification etc] is the solution?"

English language teaching has not been immune to the 'fun' factor. In the 1960s and 1970s, the so-called humanistic approaches prioritized positive emotions, as captured in a seminal title of the time: Caring and Sharing in the Foreign Language Class (Moscowitz 1978). At the same time, Krashen's Input Hypothesis (1985) went too far as to argue that comprehensible input is all that is needed, so long as the so-called 'affective filter' is lowered- i.e. that the learner is not experiencing anxiety that might inhibit the natural processes of language acquisition. Hence, traditional practices likely to induce anxiety  - such as error correction or forced production - should be avoided. Likewise, the  advent of 

Scott Thornbury


Issues of distraction and minimal engagement have been exacerbated in recent years by the (always enthusiastic) promotion of digital forms of content delivery, such as the internet and video games, where multiple modalities  - words, sounds, and images -  are competing for our limited attention. As one critic put it: "When we go online, we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning" (Carr 2010, p. 115). While the internet might be 'fun', it is not necessarily conducive to learning. As Carr goes on to say, "the Web is a technology of forgetfulness" (p.193).

Nevertheless, we are faced with a constant stream of commercial digital products that are labelled as 'fun'. As one website boasts, 'In addition to all the entertainment uses of technology, we can also use these new functionalities to make learning fun!'[1] This is the kind of (con-)fusing of education and entertainment that Postman so fiercely criticised over three decades ago, but whose lure can

precisely, coherently and appropriately." In a similar vein, cognitive accounts of language learning argued for the importance of a focus  - not just on communicating one's meaning -  but also on the way that the meaning is communicated: the so-called 'focus on form'.  Simply prioritizing communication
through doing lots of 'fun activities' might, in fact, distract attention away from the focused attention required to learn a language accurately. More recently, researchers like Lyster (2007) have argued that fluency-based approaches, such as content-based teaching, need to be 'counterbalanced' with directed attention to formal accuracy, through, for example, explicit error correction.  Meanwhile,  studies of vocabulary acquisition seem to confirm that incidental word learning - through, for example, extensive reading  - is insufficient to supply learners' long-term vocabulary needs, and must be supported by a great deal of disciplined study and memorization-  not many learners' idea of 'fun'. 

Scott Thornbury


language and often before peers where the social stakes are high." 

Laughter is also a side-effect of creative language play during which learners 'make the language their own'. As Waring (2013, p. 207) comments, "play offers learners the opportunity to experiment with a wider range of voices ... thereby stretching their sociolinguistic competence." For example, in a study of teenagers in a Hong Kong classroom, the researchers noted how the learners had co-opted a dialogue practice activity in order to have irreverent fun:  

"These students manage to have a carnival type of laughter through creating "indecent" English dialogues within the school walls.... Through populating the English language with their own local social languages and voices, they have appropriated English for their own purposes." (Lin & Luk 2013, p. 89)

If, then, fun is a consequence of creative language use, it may well correlate not only with improved motivation but also with ultimate achievement.  As Cook (2000, p. 193) wisely notes, "A person who can play 

be difficult to resist. After all, why shouldn't education be fun? 

So, let's look at the arguments in support of fun.

Many accounts of positive language learning experiences in classrooms foreground an element of fun.

For example:

"The atmosphere is great and all members feel comfortable speaking Italian. What's more, we laugh a lot which is in my opinion very important when learning the language!" (quoted in Dewaele & McIntyre 2016)

Laughter is often an antidote to the anxiety that can be experienced when older learners are 'infantilized' by being communicatively constrained in the second language. Teachers who are sensitive to these anxieties will often use humour to alleviate this stress.  As Pomerantz & Bell (2011) note, "Humor has an important place in the FL classroom, where institutional practices can be oppressive and where face threats must continually be managed, as students struggle with making meaning in a new 

Scott Thornbury


Cook, G. (2000). Language play, language learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Dewaele, J-M., & McIntyre, P.D. (2016). 'Foreign language enjoyment and foreign language classroom anxiety: the right and left feet of the language learner' In McIntyre, P.D., Gregersen, T. & Mercer, S. (eds) Positive psychology in SLA. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. 

Higgs, T., and Clifford R. (1982). 'The push towards communication'. In Higgs, T. (ed.) Curriculum, Competence, and the Foreign Language Teacher. Skokie, Ill.: National Textbook Co. 

Krashen, S. (1985). The Input Hypothesis: Issues and Implications. New York: Longman. 

Lin, A.M.Y and J.C.M. Luk. (2013). 'Local creativity in the face of global domination: Insights of Bakhtin for teaching English for dialogic communication' in J.K. Hall, G. Vitanova, and L. Marchenkova (eds) Dialogue with Bakhtin on Second and Foreign Language 

with a language in creative and socially-effective ways  - to tell a joke or a story - could certainly also buy an airline ticket. The reverse however is  not necessarily true."

The challenge for teachers, then, is not to make 'fun' an end in itself, but to hope that it will be a by-product of a classroom dynamic that encourages and values creative, even playful, language use.  



Allwright, R. (1979). 'Language learning through communication practice'. In C.J. Brumfit & K. Johnson (Eds.), The Communicative Approach to Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 167-182.

Carr, N. (2010). The Shallows: how the Internet is changing the way we think, read and remember. London: Atlantic Books.

Scott Thornbury



Learning: New Perspectives. New York: Routledge, 77-98. 

Lyster, R. (2007). Learning and teaching languages through content: A counterbalanced approach. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Moscowitz, G. (1978). Caring and sharing in the foreign language classroom. Rowley, MA.: Newbury House.

Pomerantz, A. & Bell, N.D. (2007). 'Learning to play, playing to learn: FL learners as multicompetent language users'. Applied Linguistics, 28/4.

Postman, N. (1985). Amusing ourselves to death. London: Methuen.

Swain, M.(1985). 'Communicative competence: some roles of comprehensible input and comprehensible output in its development'. In Gass, S. & Madden, C. (Eds.) Input in second language acquisition. Rowley, MA: Newbury House. 

Scott Thornbury


Waring, H.Z. (2013) 'Doing being playful in the second language classroom.' Applied Linguistics, 34/2.   

Alex Warren

Alex is a DELTA trained teacher trainer with over 15 years' experience of working in ELT as a teacher, academic director and teacher trainer.

His previous experience as a journalist has led him to work with National Geographic Learning.

A firm believer in a communicative approach to language learning and student-centred learning, Alex enjoys working with innovative, thought-provoking materials. He gives presentations on a wide range of ELT-related topics, all the while driven by his passion for developing teachers on a global scale and helping them to reach their true potential.


The English language classroom is changing.  

It is no longer the place where we just teach grammar, vocabulary and how to read, write, speak and listen in English. Yes, we still do all those things but the role of the language classroom has become more important than that. It has become a place where we not only teach English as a subject, but we teach our students about the world in which English is the lingua franca - about the people, places, cultures of that world. Why? Because the world is simultaneously growing both bigger and smaller through the use of the Internet, social media, travelling and worldwide news coverage; and as such students need to know about the world they live in.  

Moreover, the English language classroom is also the place where we should be helping our students to develop the knowledge, values and skills to become both active and effective participants within this global community: in other words, to be global citizens. After all, the future is in their hands and they, whether we like it or not, are going to change the world. So how is it that young learners are going to change the world? Let's explore...

VII APABAL Convention.
April 2019. Palma

So they care about the world, but how are they going to solve the problems and issues affecting our planet? First of all, by thinking critically. And being able to think critically goes hand in hand with being a global citizen. As Linda Elder (www.criticalthinking.org) points out, "People who think critically... strive to improve the world in whatever ways they can and contribute to a more rational, civilized society." Now critical thinking takes on many guises, as Puchta & Williams point out in their typology of thinking skills for young learners (1), but not least amongst them is the ability to solve problems - to analyze, synthesize, evaluate and create.

This seamlessly leads onto the next way young learners will change the world - by being creative. As Sir Ken Robinson says, "Creativity now is as important in education as literacy. We should treat it with the same status." And of course, he's right. We need to be educating our students so that they will be ready to solve current as well as future problems that haven't yet been identified, and encouraging creativity is key 

To be able to change the world, young learners need first of all to care about the world in which they live. Not only do they need to understand the problems facing the world, they also need to have empathy and a desire and belief that they can in fact make a difference. They need to see their role in the grand scheme of things - from a personal level, to a community level, to a global level. Why should we care about this as English teachers? Well, as Alan Maley (2004) points out, "The English language, as the principal vehicle of global consumerism, should bear some of the responsibility for making 'consumers' of English aware of some its less desirable effects." Therefore, not only is it morally responsible for us as teachers to bring this kind of themes and topics into the classroom, it makes perfect sense to do so. In fact, recent research by the Development Education Association suggests that 80% of 11- to 16-year-olds are interested in global issues and want to learn about them in school. Evidence enough, I would suggest.  

Alex Warren


Indeed, collaborative learning is based on the premise that we learn by doing, but also that we learn best when we learn together. And if students are learning together, they're also communicating.  

All of this leads me onto my final point. If our young learners are going to change the world, they need to be able to communicate their thoughts, opinions, ideas in an effective and confident way, be that through conversation and discussion or more formally through presentations. But once again this is what the English language classroom is all about. It's a place where communication should always be the goal - whether it be for grammar and vocabulary lessons or indeed a speaking lesson, having communicative goals is key. But let's not forget that good communication also means effective listening which means encouraging our students to not only listen carefully to one another, but to respect what they have to say.  

In conclusion, I'd like to finish with a quote from the American educator John Dewey. He  

to that. And guess what? The language classroom is the perfect place for this experimentation and creativity because it's exactly what they're already doing with the new language which they're acquiring. Creativity also naturally lends itself to many of the tasks we ask students to do in our class anyway - projects, for example, are a perfect example of this.   

So, how else will young learners change the world? Being able to collaborate is another key skill, because while it is of course possible to achieve success 'flying solo', it's more likely to come through collaboration with others. As National Geographic Explorer Ian Couzin says, "groups can accomplish what solitary individuals cannot." Collaboration is all about leadership, cooperation, flexibility, responsibility and in a global community we need to know how to work together with people from different backgrounds and cultures. But again, this is a skill which comes very naturally to the English Language classroom - just think how much pair and group work we already do in our classes.

Alex Warren



said that "Education is not a preparation for life, it is life itself." And that's exactly what the English language classroom should reflect if we are to help our students to become effective global citizens, with the necessary skills and values to change the world.

(1) Teaching Young Learners to Think, 2010.

Alex Warren


Tom Wogan

Tom Wogan has lived and worked in Catalonia since 1993. In that time he has worked in schools, private language schools and university language schools both as a teacher and a Director of Studies.

He has also worked for an educational publisher and now works full time as a Business Development Manager for Cambridge Assessment English in Andorra, the Balearics and Catalonia.

As part of his job, he runs teacher training events and gives presentations on subjects related to testing and assessment, methodology, educational psychology, ELT and SLA.


The Background

What does it mean to succeed in something? What does it mean to fail? What is necessary for success and, by its absence, failure? These are the questions that Attribution Theory seeks to answer. But, what is it?

In social psychology, attribution is the process of inferring the causes of events or types of behaviour. To put it more simply, to what do we attribute our success or failure? In real life, attribution is something we do every day. Like most psychological processes, we are generally unaware we are doing it. We just say: "I didn't do well in that test, because it was too difficult." Or, we might say of someone else's success: "They always do well because they have a talent."  Attribution Theory tries to map out the factors that intervene in our inferences.

The Theory

The founding father of Attribution Theory was Fritz Heider (1896-1988). He observed that whether we succeed or fail was irrelevant; what mattered was how we perceived our success or failure. Our perceptions are based on four factors that

VII APABAL Convention.
April 2019. Palma

are task difficulty and luck.

If we attribute success internally, we are in control. If I take a test and get a good mark, I can say that it is down to my own ability and the hard work I put in revising for it. This attribution feeds my self-esteem: my success is down to me. It also creates a simple conditional that can be used to account for success, namely: if I am proactive in my learning (e.g. take notes and copy them up, engage with the target language outside of class, etc.), then my success will be repeated.


By stability Weiner means whether the success or failure is replicable. If our expectations are stable, then we do not expect them to change in the future and so, by extension, we expend little effort in trying to improve.  It is trivially true that 

are necessary conditions for success and failure. According to Frieze (1976), the four factors are native ability, effort, task difficulty and luck. Of these, native ability and effort are generally considered the most dominant. However, the question still remains as to how these factors combine to influence our perceptions. What is required is a theoretical framework to explain their possible distribution. This is what Bernard Weiner (1979; 1980) tried to do. His solution was to locate these factors on three continuums of causality: locus, stability and controllability.


By locus Weiner means where the cause is found, its origin. This locus can be internal i.e. me or external i.e. not me. According to this distinction, the factors found internally are native ability and effort, and those that are external

Tom Wogan


feedback and error correction and, finally, growth mindset.

Learner Autonomy

According to Nunan (1997), there is a hierarchy of stages of autonomy for learners. These are awareness, involvement, intervention, creation and transcendence. In awareness he says learners "are made aware of the pedagogical goals and content of the materials they are using." He then goes on to say: "Learners identify strategy implications of pedagogical tasks and identify their own preferred learning styles/strategies." It is clear that here we are talking about learners perceptions of their success or failure. By empowering them to make their own choices they are gaining ownership of their learning. This is specifically highlighted in what he says about intervention: "Learners are involved in selecting their own goals from a range of alternatives on offer. Learners make choices among a range of options." 

Feedback and error correction

we can not change our native abilities and that they generally remain the same.



Finally, the third aspect, controllability, is related to an individual's sense of control.

As we can see in the diagram the only causal attribute that we have complete control over is effort. We can not exercise control over ability, task difficulty or luck. This means we make an effort if we think it directly affects the outcome.

Attribution Theory and ELT

So, how can Attribution Theory help us as teachers? Where does it fit into English language teaching? I believe there are three areas where it plays a role. These are learner autonomy, 

Tom Wogan


want to say. As a consequence, pragmatics is important. The teacher needs to bring out the importance of recognizing that mistakes have hierarchies.

Growth Mindset

Recently, mindset has generated a lot of attention in educational circles, but only recently has it begun to penetrate ELT. Dweck (2006) points out that there are two types of mindset: growth and fixed. These mindsets determine how we view the challenges we face. It has been shown (Yeager 2012) that they have an effect 

Giving appropriate feedback and error correction, whether in the form of recasts or more explicit error drills, is, and has always been, fundamental in ELT. As far as adapting error correction to attribution theory, focusing on error type is fruitful. By dividing errors into errors of form and errors of meaning, the teacher can begin by raising learner awareness of their typical mistakes and their provenance.

Typical mistakes of form would be the influence of L1 typology, overgeneralization of rules, communication strategies (e.g. simplification, guessing, borrowing from L1), being in a hurry / tired, teaching-induced mistakes (e.g. overloading, incorrect staging, failure to highlight rules / form / meaning, poor instructions), cross-association and distraction. All of the above can be worked on at a very specific level. They are measurable and can be isolated.

Mistakes of meaning are more difficult to pinpoint as they depend on the intention of the speaker. In this sense, correct linguistic forms are of no use if they don't mean what we 

Tom Wogan

Fixed Mindset  _________________________
"I'm either good at something, or I'm not"
"When I'm frustrated, I give up"
"I don't like to be challenged"
"When I fail, I'm no good"
"If you succeed, I feel threatened"
"My abilities determine everything"

Growth Mindset
"I can learn anything I want to"
"When I'm frustrated, I persevere"
"I want to challenge myself"
"When I fail, I learn"
"Tell me I try hard"
"If you succeed, I'm inspired"
"My effort and attitude determine everything"


Controllability of causality is about taking ownership of learning. The essential idea here is learner autonomy. Ability can help, but what we control directly is the extent of our effort. 

The implications of this theory for language learners are clear: in all three continuums of causality, the most important individual factor is effort. Research (Gardner 1983, Bloom 1985) shows that high achievers exert huge efforts. It is very important that students believe that if they make an effort - something they completely control - they will achieve success.


Bloom, B. (1985). Talent development in young people. New York, NY: Ballantine.

Dweck, C. (2006).  Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Random House 

Frieze, L.H. (1976). ''Causal Attributions and Information Seeking to Explain Success and Failure." Journal of Research in Personality 10: 293-305

Tom Wogan

on performance once introduced and drilled. The differences can be seen below where comments typical of a fixed mindset are contrasted to their growth mindset  counterparts.


Each of the continuums covers powerful psychological concepts that are important for the learner. At the same time, they have clear implications for English language teaching.

The locus of causality determines self-esteem. If I believe I have the ability and can achieve success through effort, I have a positive self-concept as a student. Pride results from attributing success to either ability or effort or both.

Stability of causality prompts us to believe that either the future is predetermined or it can be changed by effort. If I succeeded because I tried hard, then, if I try hard again, I will succeed again. It is important to note that ability can counteract effort: my achievement was due to native ability, so I don't need to try so hard.



Nunan, D. (1988). The Learner-Centered Curriculum. Cambridge University Press 

Weiner, B. (1979). "A Theory of Motivation for Some Classroom Experiences." Journal of Educational Psychology 

Weiner, B. (1980). Human Motivations. New York  

Yeager, D. S. (2012). "Mindsets that promote resilience: When students believe that personal characteristics can be developed." Educational Psychologist 47(4) 

Tom Wogan



Successful Experiences: 

- Catherine Cobb, Marga Sanz and Mª de Lluc Jaume. IES Son Pacs (Palma)
- Ana Gonell Monfort. IES Calvià (Calvià)

Catherine Cobb, Marga Sanz and Mª de Lluc Jaume.
IES Son Pacs (Palma)


Catherine Cobb and her students with "Harry Potter" won the first prize in "Lights, Camera, Action! 2109", a video contest organised by APABAL with the collaboration of Richmond Publishers.

If you want to participate in the next edition CLICK HERE



Speaking is probably one of the hardest skills in English for students but it is also one of the most important ones.  We often find, as teachers, that it is difficult to practise English in the classroom, in particular, if you have 30 students or more.

Eight years ago we decided that we had to make sure that our students were able to speak English in a correct and meaningful manner and we became a school, the first state school in the Balearic Islands, to prepare students for the Trinity GESE exams as well as being a centre where our students could take these exams.

"Harry Potter" and prize giving at the VII APABAL Convention (12 April 2019)


Throughout the
years we have 
had spectacular results and both the school and the students' families are very proud of the work carried out by our students.

However, it is sometimes difficult for families to gauge the real level of their children and with the APABAL film contest, we saw this as an opportunity to show them how well their children speak as well as demonstrating their confidence when using English. 

When we practise Trinity questions with our First of ESO students, we divide them into blocks which include: family and friends, the weather, our homes, school and subjects as well as the grammar points such as the present simple and continuous, prepositions of time and place and questions and answers.

Catherine Cobb, Marga Sanz and Mª de Lluc Jaume


Although daunting at first, we found that by including Trinity oral practice as part of our curriculum for all of our students, even for those who would not be taking the exam, their level of spoken English improved one hundred percent and it made them become more creative when writing as well.

Marga Sanz's students were 1st runner-ups with "Star Wars" 


Catherine Cobb, Marga Sanz and Mª de Lluc Jaume


questions and answers.

We don't just make them ask and answer questions because that would result in a boring class as can be seen at the beginning of each film clip.  We do ask them to take on the guise of a famous character that they like and this enables us to use their creativity and allows shy 

"the proof that all of this works is the fact that students are already asking what film they will be making this year!"


students to hide behind this new character and become the character, forgetting their fears about speaking in English.

Since we wanted all of our 92 students to participate, we decided to have three different settings, namely Harry Potter's world, The 

Filming "Frozen" with  Mª de Lluc Jaume


Catherine Cobb, Marga Sanz and Mª de Lluc Jaume

Kingdom of Frozen and Star Wars Family.  Each setting used different aspects of the Trinity oral exam and students found it both easy to understand and ask questions.  

We then decided on simple items to make each setting recognizable such as cloaks and broomsticks for Harry Potter, winter hats and scarves for Frozen and black jumpers and trousers for Star Wars.  Each setting had a typical student who would become a journalist interviewing the characters in each setting and these journalists would 


wear a jacket, white shirt and tie.  Each setting had certain characters who wore specific items of clothing which made them a bit different such as Princess Elsa's dress, Darth Vader's mask or Harry Potter's glasses.

Although the script was easy to write and learn, the final version of the films became magical 

Juan José Guijarro in action!

thanks to the filming skills of one of the teachers at our school. Juan José Guijarro, who teaches Spanish and film studies, was the director of each film and ensured that a fun project which was enjoyed by all of the students became an Oscar/Apabal winner!

The project helped our First of ESO students feel very confident when they had to be examined this year and all of those who took the exam got incredible marks. 

The films were also shown during our end of school "extravaganza" to which parents and students come and were a roaring success.

And, last but not least, the proof that all of this works is the fact that students are already asking what film they will be making this year!


Ana Gonell Monfort

Every time somebody asks me to write about my experience in Dallas, I always think: "How am I going to explain everything I lived, experienced and learnt on just one page?" Well, I am going to do my best, trying to convey all the feelings I experienced about this unforgettable 'adventure'.

I went there for a year (that was my plan initially), but I ended up staying three...Many of you might be wondering why...Dallas, Texas, a very traditional State?...Yes! My first month there I kept asking myself "What I am doing here? I was really well in Spain..." but as time went by I realized how many things we, as Spaniards, can offer and show to the Americans.

I was working in a school located on the outskirts of Dallas, in a neighborhood with a high rate of criminality, and I dealt with very humble families, most of them from Mexico.

I quickly realized how polite and thankful these families were; how they appreciate your job and value all the hard work you carry out with their children each day.

Immersed in a different and difficult system, where you feel the pressure on a daily basis and where everything revolves around results and statistics, you can only believe in yourself, learn to manage the pressure and be open and flexible (trying to adapt to their system as much as possible...at least at the beginning). In that sense I learnt so much: I became a stronger person, I got to know myself much better under 'pressure' and in difficult situations; and even though I am an open-minded and very flexible person, many times I had to follow my gut feelings, my 'sixth sense', in the quest to have my students meet the requirements, while at the same time  coming to school happy and smiling every day. What I first saw in the school seemed to me like a 'dictatorship', where students were like robots and very withdrawn. It was at this point that I had to follow my heart and look for strategies in order to 'change' [VB4] the 'picture and scene' I had seen in my class. Year by year, I was seeing results, good scores in all the items, reaching  far beyond the expectations. and with both groups, families and students, happy; this is what made me want to stay another year, and then another. (I had the feeling that there were so many things to do around there, and that I could still improve much more...) Apart from that, I need to mention the wonderful people I met there who became my family during the time I lived in Texas (and who I still have contact with). This is something that made my experience even more special and unforgettable...something I am still grateful for and for which I feel blessed when I think about it. Those were the people that when you were going through difficult times, under pressure or stressed-out, were always there for you, to give you a hand, to go for a coffee or to the park,or just to relax in a patio with while listening to live country music... In short, amazing people from different parts of the planet, who showed me how much goodness, kindness and sympathy there still is around the world. Last but not least, I would like to remark on the multiple options this country has for travelling around it...During my stay there, I was able to  get to places I had never thought I would be able to go to...But yes, I made it!; I traveled with these wonderful people from the different cultures and backgrounds I mentioned above. And every one of those trips is an unforgettable memory which will always have a small piece in my heart. All the experiences I have described above, when put together are the reasons which made me use up my 3-year visa. In a nutshell, not everything is going to be easy or a 'bed of roses' when you undergo an experience like this. But when you come back and realize how much you have learnt and grown as a person, and all the things you have been able to experience and feel, you truly realize that it was the best thing you have ever done in your life.  [VB1]This is not really good English, but I won't change it, as most Spanish speakers say this."Live" can't be used like this-I have changed it later, but not here, as she is quoting her inner feelings.  [VB2]Again, better "perfectly fine" would be better, but as they are her quoted thoughts, I won't change it  [VB3]  [VB4]It sounds a Little too colloquial


Ana gave a talk about her experience as a teacher in Dallas at the APABAL activity "Creative Café", held at Ciutadà Il·legal - Espai de Cultura (Pòrtiol) on 15 May 2019. A second session on this topic will take place on November 7. (see pg. 69)


After 3 years of teaching Primary school children in Dallas (TX) with the "Visiting Teachers Programme" of the Ministry of Education, Ana is now a PE teacher at IES Calvià. 



Ana Gonell Monfort

Immersed in a different and difficult system, where you feel the pressure on a daily basis and where everything revolves around results and statistics, you can only believe in yourself, learn to manage the pressure and be open and flexible (trying to adapt to their system as much as possible...at least at the beginning).

In that sense I learnt so much: I became a stronger person, I got to know myself much better under 'pressure' and in difficult situations; and even 

Ana and her kindergarteners at
John W. Runyon Elementary School. Dallas (TX)

and smiling every day. 

What I first saw in the school seemed to me like a 'dictatorship', where students were like robots and very withdrawn. It was at this point that I had to follow my heart and look for strategies in order to 'change' the 'picture
and scene' I had seen in my class.

Year by year, I was seeing results, good scores in all the items, reaching far beyond the expectations. and with both groups, families and students, happy; this is what made me want to stay another year, and 


even though I am an open-minded and
very flexible person, many times I had to follow my gut feelings, my 'sixth sense', in the quest to have my students meet the requirements, while at the same time coming to school happy 


Ana Gonell Monfort

then another. (I had the feeling that there were so many things to do around there, and that I could still improve much more...) 

Apart from that, I need to mention the wonderful people I met there who became my family during the time I lived in Texas (and who I still have contact with). This is something that made my experience even more special and something I am still grateful for and for which I feel blessed when I think about it. Those were the people that when you were going through difficult times, under pressure or stressed-out,
were always there for you, to give you a hand, to go for a coffee or to
the park, or just to relax in a patio with while listening to live country music... In short, amazing people from different parts of the planet,
who showed me how much goodness, kindness and sympathy there still is around the world.


I was able to get to places I had never thought I would be able to go to...But yes, I made it!; I traveled with these wonderful people from the different cultures and backgrounds I mentioned above. And every one of those trips is an unforgettable memory which will always have a small piece in my

heart. All the experiences I have described above, when put together are the reasons which made me use up my 3-year visa.


In a nutshell, not everything is going to be easy or a 'bed of roses' when you undergo an experience like this. But when you come back and realize how much you have learnt and grown as a person, and all the things you have been able to experience and feel, you truly realize that it was the best thing you have ever done in your life.

Last but not least, I would like to remark on the multiple options this country has for travelling around it...During my stay there,

- IEDIB (Institut d'Ensenyaments a Distància
   de les Illes Balears)
- Roy Pearse





The Institut d'Ensenyaments a Distància de les Illes Balears (IEDIB) is the only public
centre to offer secondary education (Baccalaureate, Vocational Training and languages) completely online
in the Balearic Islands.

It is now in its second school
year running with a wider educational offer and twice as many students and teachers.

CM: How many students are you serving? What age range, social background, nationalities do they represent?  

AV: Last year the number of enrolled students was 630. The enrolment period of this academic year is not over yet, but that figure is expected to double. Age range and social background are very diverse. The students of the Xarxa Program are between 16 and 18 years old. 

Cristina Poncell, Philosophy teacher, the Principal, Antoni Vilaret and Meritxell Macarro, English teacher and Head of the Linguistic Area, have been so kind as to answer our questions.
                                                                         by Carmen Moreno 

Baccalaureate adults, mostly between 20 and 30. Vocational Training students, between 30 and 40. And most of the students are Spanish.  

 CMWhat has your success rate been this first school year? How does it compare to the average state secondary school in the Balearics?   

AV:  The rate of students who have passed is quite high: 75% 



in Baccalaureate; almost 90% in FP, not far from the average state secondary school.  

CM: What is your dropout rate? Do you think online teaching could be a powerful tool in fighting dropout  and academic failure?  

AV:  Last year, the dropout rate was 50% in Baccalaureate and 40% in FP. One of the objectives of the IEDIB in the medium term is to reduce this figure.  

CP:  Online teaching could be a powerful tool in fighting dropout and academic failure, because it allows students total flexibility, both temporal and spatial, and because all resources and methodology are oriented to facilitating their autonomy, giving them  encouragement  to "learn to learn". Sometimes, online teaching is the only way to combine studies with family and work obligations.  

CM: We understand that the teachers produce their own materials; have you had any specific training? What are the pros and cons of that challenge?                                                         

CP:  When the first positions (for civil servants in "comissió de serveis") were offered, at the end of the 2018-19 academic year, a requirement to qualify for a position was to participate in specific training to become advanced users of the Moodle educational platform. This included developing a virtual classroom with similar characteristics to those learning  areas that would then be launched. This Virtual Classroom was evaluated, giving a mark that, along with other merit points, was decisive for a candidate to obtain the job where there was more than one individual who fulfilled the requirements.

In addition, we receive continuous training throughout each academic year.  Last year, for example, we learned how to do video tutorials and enrich our virtual classrooms with interactive resources, such as H5P, and this year we are 

"Online teaching could be a powerful tool in fighting dropout and academic failure because it allows students total flexibility"
                       Cristina Poncell



planning to learn how to organise online exams.

I would say there are only "pros" in this system. It requires not only constant training and updating in ICT, which is a challenge in itself, but also a total overhaul of the resources and methodology, so as to make them fit the online mode. For example, a master class is impracticable, and the image becomes a key resource; in addition, you need to have a very clear vision of the objectives that the teaching-learning process must achieve, ...Because of all this, I think that the day I return to the classroom mode, my classes will never again be as they were in the past. If the school's computer media allow that, of course ... (laughs).  

CM: How does e-learning suit the more academically-oriented subjects such as Philosophy?

CP:  Each subject has its peculiarities, but the basic structure is the same for all: the key contents have to be very clear, visual as far as possible; as in a classroom, it is about the student «doing things» with the 

content, in the quest to understand and assimilate it. Actually, the procedures are more important than the contents. In my subject, Philosophy, this translates into the fact that it is more important for the student to ask certain questions, to be able to understand a text (or an image) and to make a critical judgment about it than to know the thought of the author by heart.   

CM: Many of our readers must be wondering what new trends your methodology could represent for the teaching of English.  What technology and materials are you using? How do you facilitate listening and speaking?

MM: Using a virtual learning environment broadens the range of choices for the learning and teaching of languages. Our main aim is to reach students who cannot attend regular lessons, to ensure that all citizens have 

"Most of the activities are interactive, and we encourage regular participation in forums, chats and videoconferences"
                   Meritxell Macarro



access to an education. Teaching English in an e-learning setting allows us to employ the latest technologies. We use tools and applications which give us the opportunity to create our own materials, thereby integrating all five skills involved in the learning process of English. Most of the activities are interactive, and we encourage regular participation in forums, chats and videoconferences. We are starting our second year, and 

AV:  Sure: online Adult Education, expansion of foreign  languages  (Escola Oficial d'Idiomes) and Vocational Training, VT transversal modules for all professional groupings; these include modules such as FOL (Formació i Orientació Laboral) , for those who need to obtain professional accreditations. And, of course, we want to include everything demanded by society and the Conselleria d'Educació i Universitat.

: Now, be honest! Do you miss the face-to-face classroom work?

CP: I thought I would miss it, but the truth is I don't. And I assure you that I enjoyed face-to-face classroom work a lot. I guess the reason is that my current job represents such a challenge, with the feeling that I still have to improve a lot to do it well, that I don't feel the need to return to my former work, at least for now.


professional development is key to carrying out our job and to improving our materials.

Are you planning on expanding the courses on offer in the future?  

IEDIB teachers at work 




I have also taught English as a foreign language in Niger, West Africa, and Saudi Arabia. 

In Spain I worked in British Council Institutes and later started Palma English where my colleagues and I had varied work with adults, children, companies and also teacher training especially preparation for the oposiciones. I also worked for the Open University and as an examiner for the International Baccalaureate.

I keep in touch with several of my old students in Palma either for a coffee in a bar or an English tea with scones and fruit cake in one of the former classrooms!

Roy Pearse, teacher, teacher trainer and poet.


instagram account https://www.instagram.com/poemeverymonday

NH: Let me know a little bit about yourself

RP: I was born and brought up in the west of England. And so looking out from the Mendip Hills over the fields of Somerset and the Bristol Channel is when I feel at home. After school in Wells in Somerset I studied English Language and Literature at Oxford and later teaching methodology and applied linguistics at Manchester. Later I did an MBA at Warwick.

Part of the Manchester course was teaching practice in Barcelona, so in the late seventies I came to Spain for six weeks. I am still here!

by Nela Hidalgo

Mendip Hills. Somerset


Roy Pearse

NH: How did you start as a poet? When and why did you start writing poetry?

RP: I started many years ago during my last two years at school. We were very fortunate in the texts that were chosen for the exams. To prepare them, we spent hours on Chaucer, Shakespeare and, above all, on the Romantic poets. Wordsworth and Coleridge, Keats, Shelley and Byron were our daily companions for a couple of years. I was also very lucky in my teachers. Their enthusiasm was contagious. They didn't stop at the set texts. One afternoon the English teacher came into class. 'Right, today we're doing a poem by Lorca. It's time you knew something about him,' he said. And with his help we read 'Llanto por Ignacio Sánchez Mejías'. We knew no Spanish and he knew little more than us, but it was a great success. That's good teaching!

In this environment it was difficult not to write poetry!

NH: Tell me about your blog. https://poemeverymonday.blogspot.com/ and your instagram account  poemeverymonday

RP: I started the blog a few years ago and posted a poem every Monday. The idea was to brighten up what for most of us is the hardest day of the week. After a while I changed to Friday but the name of the blog stayed the same. No one has complained!

The wonderful thing about a weekly deadline is that it forces you to produce something regularly.  You may feel ill or tired or you may be travelling, but that poem must still go on the blog.

There are now over 80 poems there. Some are about places, and others deal with themes such as the passing of time.  There are also a few less serious ones such as 'Henry Jackson'. Why shouldn't poetry have a sense of humour? 

After a year or so of poems, I added other things. There are now three plays, which are intended to be read rather than staged. Two are fairly light-


Roy Pearse

hearted: 'The woman who was jealous of herself', which is very loosely based on 'La celosa de sí misma' by Tirso de Molina and 'Three Hours from Spain', which owes a lot to 'Much Ado About Nothing'. The third, 'Johnson of London', deals with the life of the 18th century writer, critic and conversationalist, Dr Johnson.

On the blog there is also a short novel, a long poem, 'Dorigen', and several letters, some from Palma and others from a village in Somerset in the south-west of England.

As for Instagram, I have simply posted thirty poems from the blog, one a week. These have gone up on Mondays! I will stop there and will leave these thirty poems to see how they are received. Instagram works in strange ways. A couple of lines with a fairly superficial thought and a photo can receive hundreds of likes while I have seen poems of quality given just two or three! It must depend on the marketing! 

NHWhat is your writing process like? How do you write (pen and 

paper, computer, notebooks...? Where do you get your ideas, what inspires you to write poetry? 

RP: 'How do you write?' is a good question. I scribble on any piece of paper I can find. I cross out, amend, and add words so that the scrap of paper ends up covered with notes in the margin, with arrows everywhere and is almost illegible. The important thing is to get the poem down on paper. Shakespeare apparently 'never blotted a line' but there we are. We are all different!

Years ago at school they told us about the lives of the famous composers. I have to admit that I found this far more interesting than hearing the music itself. One composer, I think it was Beethoven, would write down his music on the cuff of his sleeve wherever he was when the music came to him. This seemed odd at the time but since then I have understood how he felt and how important it is to get the ideas down before they go forever. 

NHWhere do you write, do you have any particular place you like to write?


Roy Pearse

RP: I have no favourite place. Often I compose while walking or running. The secret then is writing it all down the moment I get home, before it goes. Wordsworth was a great walker and used to compose while walking on the roads in the Lake District. He recited his lines out loud and had a dog which went on ahead. This dog would run back if people were approaching and so warned Wordsworth to keep quiet until they passed! Unfortunately, I do not have a dog!

There are certain guidelines that I have given myself.  

Write poetry that people can understand. If a poem is incomprehensible or if it takes several readings to arrive at a meaning, then people will not enjoy it.

Poetry is music. It is related to song. The sounds of the words and their rhythm should give pleasure. This is why poems should be read aloud. The lyrical origins of poetry are too often forgotten. 

Don't despise rhyme. There is a

feeling today that if a poem rhymes, then it is inferior and second rate. I tend to use rhyme when it comes naturally. This may be internal rhyme inside a line or a rhyme going back to a word three or four lines before. Rarely do I use a strict rhyme scheme though I have done so in my translations of 'Die Lorelei' and  'Erlkönig'. 

All these precepts can be summarised in one. Write something that people enjoy. Write something that they will learn by heart and repeat for pleasure while walking along the street. 

NH: Who are your favourite poets? Which poets or poems most inspire you?

RP: Chaucer for his sense of humour. Just read the Prologue to the 'Canterbury Tales'. Shakespeare for his ability to use exactly the right word again and again. Read Portia speaking on mercy in 'The Merchant of Venice' ('The quality of mercy is not strained...') or Ulysses on excellence being forgotten in 'Troilus and Cressida' ('Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back...'). 


Roy Pearse

Johnson for sincerity. See his elegy on Robert Levett. Keats for dedication to poetry. Read his Ode to Autumn. There are many, many more!

NH: What are you reading at the moment?

RP: I enjoy all books by Bill Bryson. His 'The Road to Little Dribbling' is an entertaining and witty description of present-day Britain.

NH: And a very important question for English teachers, how do you recommend using poetry in the English classroom?

RP: Start with a poem that you are enthusiastic about yourself. Choose one that has a bold rhythm and is not difficult to understand. Make sure you read it aloud and, if possible, get the students to read it aloud too. One possibility is a ballad, Lord Randall, which has two voices.
The class can be divided into two and read the two parts. Kipling's 'If' would also work well. A few years ago Repsol chose it for one of their advertisements, and this can be found on YouTube, though in Spanish. 

NH: Can you give any advice to someone wanting to write poetry?

RP: Just get it down on paper. Go ahead. If you like your poem and enjoy reciting it, that is what matters. Do not expect much praise or recognition. When Byron returned to England after travelling in Europe, he published the first two cantos of 'Childe Harold' and became a celebrity overnight! He said, 'I awoke one morning and found myself famous!' Times have changed! Today this only happens to singers and people who appear on reality shows. 

NH: Dear Roy I want to thank you for this wonderful interview, for your time and for your poetry. I would like to ask you one more thing, please do not stop sharing your knowledge and your poems with us. 


Roy Pearse

Picking up "Jane Eyre" once more 

It was on the top shelf.
I had to stretch to reach it down.
Blowing off the dust, I fanned the pages open
To waft fresh air and wake
The people waiting there
So patiently.
They had slept for fifty years
For I had read the book at school.
My notes still crawled up and down the margin,
And many words were underlined.

'Let sleeping dogs lie' they say,
But Pilot woke as I rustled the pages.
Then Mrs Fairfax, blinking a little,
Took up her knitting needles,
Which had lain on her lap for years,
And, starting again,
Dropped not a stitch.

The great black horse fell once more
On the ice across Hay Lane,
And once more Pilot ran to Jane,
And she hurried to help the rider 
To mount his horse again.

Once more they talked in the orchard 
As darkness fell quietly on the old house.
And once more she waited for him beyond the gate
As he rode home late one night.

Yet again the clear, cold voice
Stopped the wedding
That was so nearly happy.

And once more Thornfield fell in flames
As Manderley would later fall.


The tip of the iceberg
Is our social self.
"Good afternoon and how are you?" 

How little of others we ever see,
In the interests of normality!

The fears and hopes we dare not show,
When arranging self for public view,
"Good afternoon and how are you?"
Stay in the ice that lies below.



Articles by: Patrick McGuinness, Patrick Quinn and Frances Spalding


(a summary of a talk given at Caixaforum, Palma, on 1 April 2019)

Tourists arriving in Dublin are offered many kinds of tour: the pub tour, the restaurant tour, the brewery tour of the Guinness factory or the Jameson's whisky distillery tour. For those interested in culture there's the Book of Kells tour at Trinity College Dublin, and the medieval Ireland day trips. For those interested in culture and drinking, there is also the writers' tour, which coincides more than symbolically with the Dublin pubs tour, since most of the writers spent a lot of time in pubs, and many Dublin pubs will have photographs of famous Irish writers on the walls or behind the bar.  

But the most famous tour is the Joyce tour, the tour that takes in the places of Joyce's Ulysses, which appeared in 1922 but is set in 1904,  and also of Dubliners, the book of stories Joyce published in 1914, two years before the Easter Rising and five years before Irish Independence.

Joyce has joined that category of writers after whom merchandise is named and on whose reputations a lot of tourism depends. The places which Joyce wrote about are now museums or party venues; there is a James Joyce gin retailing at 

Patrick McGuinness

Descripción de la imagen

Professor McGuinness during his talk at the "APABAL Lecture Series 2019". Caixafórum. Palma.

Patrick McGuinness is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of Oxford.

Author of books on modern theatre, French poetry, and Anglo-American modernism, he is also a novelist and poet.

His first novel, The Last Hundred Days, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Wales Book of the Year and the Writers Guild Prize for Fiction. 

His new novel, Throw me to the Wolves, about historical abuse in British schools, Brexit, and the modern media, appeared in April 2019
(see review on pg. 66.) 


Patrick McGuinness

even a  'James Joyce Balcony' on this ferry, and a Bloom's Bar, named after the hero of the novel, Leopold Bloom, who himself takes a rather circuitous route to and from his house in Dublin.    

I also want to use the time I have this evening to connect up the real city of Dublin with some of the key moments of Dubliners and also Ulysses. I'd also like to talk about what we might call a European consciousness in this most Irish of all Irish writers.

about 30 euros a bottle (Joyce would never have afforded that), and even a ferry from Dublin to Holyhead, with a Bloom's Bar on it. In his Trieste notebook, Joyce wrote: 'The shortest way from Cape of  Good Hope to Cape Horn is to sail away from it, The shortest route to Tara is via Holyhead'.   

What does Joyce mean here? Tara in County Meath is a place associated with the High Kings of Ireland; Holyhead is the port on the Welsh coast to and from which the Dublin ferries go. He's saying that the way to Ireland is away from Ireland. His is the logic of the exile, of course: and it is fascinating to note that some of the great writers of place are writers who left the place they recreated in words. To return you have to leave.  

I happen to live close to Holyhead myself, on the edge of the Welsh coast and the Irish sea. The ferries now take 2 hours or 3 and a half hours. One of the ferries is called the Ulysses, obviously, named after a novel named after a man who returns home - Homer's Ulysses -  after a very circuitous route. There is 


The Dublin Joyce was born - in 1882 - was part of the United Kingdom. The Dublin Joyce left in 1912 and never returned to 

Patrick McGuinness

1920, that is to say, as it unfolded, Ireland became a nation. The novel itself is set on 16 June 1904 - firmly if not comfortably at a time Ireland was in the UK.   

I said 16 June was important, symbolically, for that was the day Joyce and his wife to be spent their first outing together. It is now a worldwide day of celebration: we have Bloomsday in Ireland, Japan, France, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Hungary and Italy. Of course, there is one in Trieste too. There is probably one in Palma, for all I know. 

What I want to do today is look at places associated with key moments in the book and explore what they might have to say to us today....

was still - just about- part of theUnited Kingdom, though the theme of Irish home rule, nationalism and the stirring of Irish consciousness runs through all his works. The Dublin which existed when Joyce's Ulysses was published was the capital of an independent state, a 3 year old nation that was a country thousands of years old. I don't need to tell people in Catalonia the difference between a nation and a country, but it seemed to me interesting that these issues were part of the background and in some ways the foreground of Joyce's writing. The novel Ulysses, so Irish, so dublinite, is also a European novel of European issues. This may well be because, of course, Joyce wrote it in Europe.   

The last line of the book reads Trieste-Zurich-Paris, 1914-1921 as if Joyce wanted to emphasise the difference between where the book was written and where the book is set. Remember: the best way to return is to leave.   

Ulysses: published in 1922, but serialised in the Little Review from March 1918 to December 


(a summary of a talk given at Caixaforum, Palma, on 2 April 2019)

My talk is an exploration of Graves' writings during the first half of his literary career. The question that predicated the inquiry was how does a war poet who has witnessed and participated in the slaughter of over eleven million lives and twice as many seriously wounded soldiers and civilians move on with other poetic subjects after the Great War concluded. What could he discover that would be worthwhile and a subject for poetry that could complete with the tragedy of war "There died a myriad, And of the best, among them, For an old bitch gone in the teeth, For a botched civilization." (Ezra Pound. Hugh Selwyn Mauberly

The conclusion was that Graves's poetry after the war was aimed at another battlefield: the battlefield of Love between a man and a woman: Venus and Mars. If one looks carefully at Graves' poetic output between 1915 and 1940, one notes that nearly all of the writings are centered on these two subjects. The intention of the talk was to follow the  trajectory of first his  changing reactions in his war poetry from naivety to
experience and do much the same from

Patrick J. Quinn

Descripción de la imagen

APABAL Lecture Series 2019. CaixaForum. Palma.

Patrick Quinn received his PhD from the University of Warwick in England and commenced an international teaching and administrative career that took him to several countries around the world. 

He was the Curator of the Robert Graves Trust at St John's College for a decade and President of the Robert Graves Society for eight years. 

Author and editor, he has recently retired from the post of Senior Research Fellow in English at Clare Hall, Cambridge University after gathering material for two books he is currently writing.


Patrick J. Quinn


his initial innocence in his marriage with Nancy Nicholson which eventually leads him into dejection and bitterness at the transitory and fickle nature of love. The search to rekindle this spark of love leads him into the intellectual and emotional whirlwind of Laura Riding. This decision led to over ten years of servitude to the authoritarian wishes of an egotistic and self-centered woman. The journey 
with Laura was fraught with many problems both personal and artistic, but at the complicated conclusion of this


relationship, Graves finally recognizes that he must pursue his mythical muse figure, the White Goddess. 

By the end of 1940, Graves' artistic future is now wed to the Goddess and his emotional life is secured with the start of a  stable relationship with Beryl Hodge. His homage to his muse The White Goddess was written in 1944, and the partnership between his muse and poet would yield many of the most beautiful lyric poems in the English language.

Sister of the mirage and echo.
It was a virtue not to stay,
To go our headstrong and heroic way
Seeking her out at the volcano's head,
Among pack ice, or where the track had faded
Beyond the cavern of the seven sleepers:
Whose broad high brow was white as any leper's,
Whose eyes were blue, with rowan-berry lips,
With hair curled honey-coloured to white hips.


All saints revile her, and all sober men
Ruled by the God Apollo's golden mean-
In scorn of which we sailed to find her
In distant regions likeliest to hold her
Whom we desired above all things to know,

The sap of Spring in the young wood a-stir
Will celebrate with green the Mother,
And every song-bird shout awhile for her;
But we are gifted, even in November
Rawest of seasons, with so huge a sense
Of her nakedly worn magnificence
We forget cruelty and past betrayal,
Heedless of where the next bright bolt may fall.

Robert Graves. The White Goddess

(a summary of a talk given at CaixaForum, Palma, on 25 March 2019)

Invited to give an introductory talk on Virginia Woolf, I was faced with a difficult task. So much has been written on Woolf, from so many different perspectives. It was hard to know where to begin. I had decided to focus on three themes as a means by which to talk a bit about both her life and her work. We began with a photograph taken of Woolf in 1927 and used by her American publisher for publicity purposes. At first sight, it seems an image of complete self-assurance; confident and relaxed. But this same woman, twelve years before,  had been mentally so ill that she had lost her sanity. This same year, 1915, her first novel had been published but she had been too ill to read the reviews. Look again at the 1927 photograph of her, with her head cupped in her hand. You can, if you look carefully, find within it a trace memory of this sad time. 

One of my themes was the importance to her of the sea. This was gifted her by her father Leslie Stephen, an eminent man of letters, also the editor of the first 26 volumes of the Dictionary of National Biography, which in those days was 

Frances Spalding

Descripción de la imagen

APABAL Lecture Series 2019. CaixaForum. Palma.

Frances Spalding is a biographer, art historian, and critic. She is the author of several publications on Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

She taught at Newcastle University for fifteen years, becoming Professor of Art History. Later, she joined the University of Cambridge as a Fellow of Clare Hall.

She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art and in 2005 was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.


Frances Spalding

or three weeks of the summer holiday but for three or more months of each year. This meant that every summer a large part of the London house to be moved to Cornwall  - cook, servants, dogs, children as well as numerous trunks, boxes and bags, cricket bats and easels were sent by train to St Ives, and many visitors followed in their wake. 

As a child, Virginia Stephen (as she then was) slept in the night nursery at the top of the house. Here she lay in bed hearing the waves break and unfurl onto the beach, while the blind, blown by the wind, dragged its little acorn across the floor, allowing the early morning light to creep in from behind the blind. Woolf later recollected 'feeling it is almost impossible that I should 

predominantly a literary monument to the achievement of great men.  His position as an establishment figure meant that he was friendly with many eminent men and women of the day. One of his great gifts to his daughter was the free-run of his library.

The Stephen family lived in a respectable part of London, but, like the rest of the city,  it suffered from pollution caused
by the burning of coal. Leslie Stephen, aware of this, decided to look for a holiday home in Cornwall, in the far south-west
of England, in the year that Virginia was born. He told an American friend that he had taken a lease on 'a little house at St Ives, down at the very toe-nail of England'. Today St Ives has grown and spread but it is famous for its beautiful sandy bays.  Stephen's letter to his American friend also mentions: 'the children will be able to run straight out of the house to a lovely bit of sand and have good air and quiet.' Talland House, as my slide of it showed, was not as small as he suggested. And for
12 years it remained their summer home, not just for two


St. Ives. Cornwall

Frances Spalding

In gaining for his children the freedom offered by these summer holidays, Leslie Stephen unwittingly helped change the course of fiction. Those twelve summers at St Ives contributed to Virginia Woolf's formation as a writer. Her most far-reaching experimental novel is The Waves (1931) in which a set of interludes describe the sea at different times of day. 'The sea blazed gold,' she writes, in the opening section of this novel.  These passages, using terse description and near abstract language, in a manner similar to Post-Impressionist painting, evokes the steady advance of light as the day begins and the sun rises.  The Waves profoundly challenged the conventions of fiction. Woolf tells the story through the voices of her six characters, all delivering an uncensored run of thoughts and images which emerge from their inner thoughts, not outward speech. 

Recognition of the importance of the sea to Woolf was recently expressed through 'Woolf Works', a trio of ballets choreographed by Wayne McGregor. All were based on Virginia Woolf's writings

be here; of feeling the purest ecstasy as I can conceive.' She went on to say: 'If life has a base that it stands on if it is a bowl which one fills and fills and fills, then my bowl without any doubt stands upon that memory.' 

So the first twelve summers of Virginia Woolf's life were spent at St Ives. This arrangement was terminated in 1895 by her mother's death. Julia Stephen was only 49 when she died, but was worn out: much of her life had been devoted to others, caring for those in need, as well as looking after a hoard of children: both she and Leslie Stephen had been married before, and there were children on both sides of their family, even before she and Leslie had four of their own. Julia Stephen's death brought on Virginia's first breakdown. Leslie Stephen, also deeply affected by his wife's death, gave up the lease on Talland House, being unable to return to a place where Julia's absence would have been so acute. But she does return in Virginia Woolf To the Lighthouse in which Woolf recreates her parents and their way of life in


Frances Spalding

travelling by bus, often sitting upstairs on an open-air bus so that the sun could beat down on her neck. Woolf's own enjoyment of London is evident in her letters. She was fascinated by street cries and music, the churning crowds and traffic, London's river, beggars, statues, monuments, its music halls, publishing houses, concert halls, theatres and art galleries, all of which offered her rich sensory experience and intellectual stimulation. The city seemed to liberate her mind.

Woolf also realised that much of London's life went on out of sight, owing to the London Underground.  While living at Richmond she had used the District Line, at one point almost every week in order to visit the New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield, then living in Hampstead. This required Woolf to change onto the Northern Line. But the tube map was not then easy to read. It was not until 1933 when Harry Beck designed a new map of the tube that London's Underground took off as the fastest and most efficient form of travel in London. Woolf was fascinated by its modernity and one part of

and while 'Woolf Works' was their generic title, the third of this trio was titled The Waves. A huge black and white photograph of the sea formed a backcloth until at one point these enormous waves began silently to churn, as the still image became a film, while the dancers moved back and forwards on the stage, in wave-like formation.

Next, we moved on to London. This city fascinated Woolf with its fluidity of movement, made possible by new and developed systems of transport: the car, bus, tube and train, all of which made it possible for her to view many aspects of London. When her mental illness returned in 1915, her husband Leonard Woolf decided that, for the sake of her health, they should move to the quietness of Richmond, in the west of London. Not until 1924, did Leonard agree that a return to Bloomsbury was possible. Then they moved to Tavistock Square. There Woolf finished Mrs Dalloway, but much of it has been written in Richmond. In its Woolf takes Mrs Dalloway on a walk through central London. Woolf herself made many walks around London and also enjoyed 


Frances Spalding

in the streets, in the fields for so many centuries. And that is one of the chief difficulties in writing them today  - that they are so stored with meanings, with memories, that they have contracted so many famous marriages'.          

The imaginative power in Woolf's own handling of words is 
abundantly found in her letters, now edited and published in six volumes. Likewise, her edited diaries fill five volumes, and both have greatly added to her reputation.  A short time ago, I overheard someone describe Virginia Woof as a 'genius'. This remark initially irritated me, as the word 'genius' can seem vague and imprecise. But what other term can describe a writer whose first novel appeared over 

The Waves takes place in the new Piccadilly Circus Station's booking hall, designed by Charles Holden, with shops all around its circumference.  The nervously self-conscious Jinny enters the Tube at Piccadilly Circus and it has an immediate impact on her sense of self, which is poignantly described.

Woolf here points up the relationship between the private life and the public sphere, and shows how easily our sense of personal identity can be altered by the world around us. She also makes us aware that the self has no core identity but remains mutable, unfixed. Woolf was aware that London, with its business, caused a dissolution of the self. But at the same time, it gave her words - scraps of conversation heard in the street or on the bus. Words were, of course, her medium.  London made her aware how democratic and demotic language is and how promiscuous words can be. 'Words, English words,' she once wrote, for a radio programme, 'are full of echoes, of memories, of associations  - naturally. They have been out and about, on people's lips, in their houses,


Frances Spalding

house is alive to the malevolent forces that threaten it. In this ghostly world, only faint echoes of human life remain. Shoes, skirts and capes keep their human shape, we are told, and, 'in the emptiness indicate how once they were filled and animated'. What we are invited to experience is, in Woolf's words, 'a form from which life had parted', a domestic world emptied of human contact.

In August 2016, at the 3rd Korea-Japan Virginia Woolf conference, held at Kookmin University in Seoul, speakers from these two countries with a deeply painful history referenced  'Time Passes' and chose to interpret it as a figure of trauma and loss. At this conference Virginia Woolf's words, once again, reached well beyond the time and place in which they were written, into the hearts and minds of those living in the twenty-first century. And so her influence continues, for although she took her own life in 1941, fearful that her sanity was again leaving her, she is still, in twenty-first century, very much a living voice, affecting the way we think, feel and perceive the world.                               

a hundred years ago, yet whose writings continue to be read by millions of people around the world? Whose work has given rise to a vast academic industry, attracted a steady stream of biographers and is still influencing contemporary novelists today. Whose writings have also has also inspired novels, plays, films and a recent ballet. Few novelists can lay claim to anything like such a rich legacy.

Yet most impressive of all is the way the Virginia Woolf's words continue to resonate with readers in countries and cultures very different from her own. In my talk I gave as an example of this 'Time Passes', the middle section in To the Lighthouse.  It manages to convey the passing of time during a period that coincides with the First World War. In order to achieve this, Woolf imagines the world without a self. She describes an empty house; a Talland house but with all egos vanished, for the family has departed. Dust sheets have been placed over the furniture, and the home has been shut up and abandoned. Yet far from remaining silent and static the 


Book Corner 
-"Machines Like Me" by Ian McEwan
-"Throw Me to the Wolves" by Patrick McGuinness


Ian McEwan's works have earned him worldwide critical acclaim and awards. Among many other distinctions, he won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction for Amsterdam in 1998.  

Ian McEwan was awarded a CBE in 2000 and in 2014 he was given the Bodleian Medal. 

AtonementOn Chesil Beach and The Children Act have been made into feature films.

To read more about his life and works go to: http://www.ianmcewan.com/

Ian McEwan - Machins Like Me

Soon, a love triangle forms, giving rise to several moral dilemmas they should confront together within the drama of their everyday lives. Adam exceeds humans in intelligence and knowledge, but can he understand our heart and emotions? How does he react to injustice, abuse, jealousy, felony and other "imperfections" of the human being? What is the real meaning of being human?

"There are many pleasures and moments of profound disquiet in this book, which shows I.M.'s mastery of storytelling"
Marcel Theroux. The Guardian

The novel occurs 40 years ago when JFK, Lennon and the mathematician Alan Turing might still be alive. Tony Benn is about to take over Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister after Britain loses the Falklands War, Brexit begins to be mentioned and autonomous cars are already common.



18 April 2019 Vintage Publishing

September 2019 
Translated by Jesús Zulaika 

This setting serves as an excuse to bring Turing back to life; he becomes central to the development of the first synthetic humans, 13 Adams and 12 Eves nearly as "perfect" as real human beings.

Charlie, although basically broke, invests his family inheritance on one of these Adams, and involves his upstairs neighbour, Miranda, in conforming his personality to some sort of very modern parenthood.  Half way through, Mark, an innocent and heartbreaking little boy, will add a touch of conventional parenting to the plot.

Even though McEwan sometimes takes unnecessary detours by explaining in detail his research on the topic, his always elegant and witty prose makes "Machines" a lot of fun to read.   
         (Rev. by Carmen Moreno)




Patrick McGuinness was born in Tunisia to Belgian and Anglo-Irish parents.

His first novel, The Last Hundred Days, was longlisted for various prizes and won the Wales Book of the Year. Other People's Countries won the Duff Cooper Prize and the Wales Book of the Year. He has also written two books of poetry.

Throw me to the Wolves is his latest published novel. He is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Oxford University.


Patrick McGuinness - "Throw Me to the Wolves"

Although the plot is loosely inspired by a real case where the body of a young woman was found by the river Thames, "Throw me to the Wolves" cannot be classified as a conventional crime thriller. It goes deep into the lynch-mob mentality and the inhuman abject world of today's social media, ready to demonize people through merciless scrutiny into their lives.  

The book is set in the post-Brexit world. The violent murder appears to be a hook to bring in a psychological study of characters. The suspect, the two 

overconfident detectives and  their relationship are in fact more relevant than the plot itself.



"THROW ME TO THE WOLVES", appeared on 4 April 2019 from Jonathan Cape UK and Bloomsbury US. 

Spanish translation by Siruela Editores is awaited.

"This is an elegiac
exploration of trauma"
(Justine Jordan, The Guardian).

Recurrent themes in McGuinness' books are the inner world of childhood and the persistent nostalgia of memory: "It´s always yesterday there in the lining of our lives". We are taken back to the 1980s abusive boarding school system where memories can be persistently haunting. 

The author uses an exquisite flow of well-selected words and thoughts, the fruit of the author's sensitive, intelligent and observant mind. He also includes symbolic graphic depictions of the human underworld, such as the disgusting one of the fatberg: "The world we thought we were getting rid of was curling and hardening up a few feet below."

The novel contains hilarious moments reflected in banters, stereotypes, and nicknames, mostly related to the detective world.
           (Rev. by Assumpta Sureda)



Upcoming Activities:
Film Series, Course for "Oposicions", Video Contest, Creative Café, VIII APABAL Convention


Upcoming Activities


The new season of APABAL film series in English is about to start.

The theme this year: "Women in Film & Literature" 


Don't miss the next Creative Café session by Ana Gonell.

Join us for a nice talk over a drink at Ciutadà Il·legal (Pòrtol)


Upcoming Activities


If you are planning on taking the exam this year, don't miss this course sponsored by APABAL.

90% of those participants who took the exam passed in the last two years!.


New edition of our video contest. This time with prizes also for 3-4 ESO and Batxillerat.

Mark the following dates in your agenda:
15 October 2019: Application period starts
15 March 2020: 
Application period ends
24 April 2020:
Prize Delivery Ceremony at the VIII APABAL Convention



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07011 Palma
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