and after

Women Writers, Languages, Interviews, Book Reviews and more...

APABAL Video Contest and Short Story Award





Number 10
2020 November


"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 10
November 2020

Aina Carreras

Carmen Moreno

Board of editors
Montserrat García
Karen Jacob

Aina Trias

English text revision
Karen Jacob

and editing

Carmen Moreno

Aina Mas

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


D.L.  PM 1159-2019
ISSN 2695-3978


Women Writers
Women Writers Day  p. 52
Multiplying the Lime in G. Sands' "A Winter in Majorca"  p. 55

The changing face of languages
Spanglish: A Tool of Empowerment or Una Trampa p. 78

During and after lockdown.... 
CEIP Rafal Nou. A. Molina  p. 6
IES Bendinat. A. Alou et al. p. 13
UIB. K.Jacob  p. 20
ICT Corner. N.Hidalgo p. 28

Letter to the readers  pg. 4 


An Introduction to M. Zaro  p. 65
Mostra Out! Jove p. 74

Lights, Camera, Action!
Passive 4Being Active  p. 32


feedback, articles and suggestions are welcome!!!!


Book Review
"Middle England". J. Coe p. 93

Upcoming Activities
Training events p. 96
Coaching for "Oposicions" p. 98

Short Story Awards
A Modern Battle of Gettys... p. 36
        Envisioned Visions p. 40
Makut's Trip p.46

Aina Carreras. President of APABAL

Dear teachers and friends,


The APABAL Teachers' Association was created ten years ago by a group of teachers of English who are passionate about the English language and passionate about the art of teaching and learning. During the years in which APABAL has evolved and grown, we have tried to encourage teachers to come together and share experiences through different events and activities.

We, as a team, are fortunate to have such wonderful members and contributors who help us grow not only as an association, but somehow as an entity that offers teacher training as well as the opportunity to showcase classroom experiences.

This year marks a milestone for APABAL. We would have very much liked to celebrate our 10th Anniversary in style but due to the current Covid-19 pandemic we have not been able to hold any face-to-face events.

Therefore, I proudly present to you the 10th Magazine issue in which you will find the winning articles of our First Annual Short Story Award, along with an

interview to the winner of our Lights, Camera, Action! 2020 Video Contest. We thought it would be convenient to adapt our Magazine's contents, so we have therefore included topics that are relevant to education during lockdown. We hope that the articles about teaching strategies and motivating students during the pandemic lockdown will be of your interest. Among other themes, you will also find articles about ICT ideas to develop in classrooms, and book reviews. This year, we are lucky enough to have collaborators working outside Spain who will, hopefully, give you a different perspective on teaching. I should like to take the opportunity to thank all the teachers who are working hard through this difficult situation. Everyday, they go out of their way to do their best to keep education alive, no matter what the circumstances. I would like to close this foreword by adding a motivational quote:

"You may not always have a comfortable life. And you will not always be able to solve all the world's problems all at once. But don't ever underestimate the impact you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own."                                                                                                           -Michelle Obama 


During and after lockdown..... 

-CEIP Rafal Nou (Palma ). Àngel Molina
-IES Bendinat (Calvià). Apol·lònia Alou, Marisa Barceló, Teresa Gispert, Vicky Jiménez, Maite Ruíz.
-UIB. Karen Jacob
-ICT Corner. Nela Hidalgo




The following article is the unveiling of my
experience as an English and a 5th grade 

Àngel Molina


primary teacher during lockdown.  

March, that month when teachers went from doing face-to-face classes, to adapting them in a telematic way in a short period of time. It was a weekend to remember, from Friday evening to Monday morning. Hours and hours in front of the computer screen trying to convert the dynamics of a real class into a digital class.  

As we were already using the educational platform Google Classroom during the first terms, the transition from books to technology was quite easy. Using this tool, I was able to organize a meeting point with students where we were able to teach and learn contents in a correct way. However, organizing the contents and adapting them to the modern way of teaching was the most difficult and challenging thing.  

It is said that in times of crisis, ingenuity is sharpened, and so it was. Overnight, I became a digital English teacher, through the internet. Those days I went from being the teacher in the classroom to the teacher-youtuber, creating a channel, where I could capture all the assigned activities, well explained with a tutorial, with the aim of reaching every student in an easy, ludic and close way.

Having advanced knowledge of ICT helped me a lot to start the first step, but that wasn't the tough part. Capturing pages of the book, adapting them, choosing those basic contents to teach was a huge task, but always with uncertainty about whether what I was designing, was going to be the right thing or not in that unusual situation.

Àngel Molina is currently an English and 6th grade teacher at CEIP Rafal Nou (Palma)

Àngel Molina

That first week was exhausting, but fruitful, because I saw that this new way of teaching was working, albeit with much effort and dedication.  

As the days went by, the adaptation of the material became more complicated, as not only the written part needed to be explained, but also all the oral contents, such as listening comprehension, stories, songs, etc. needed to be tackled. I adapted all the texts, so they would be easier for the students to answer. I created my first online Google form in English language! It should be said that the students were very 

Collaboration with families was crucial for everything to work, as they would be my eyes at home and they would be the ones who would help the students there. E-mails, WhatsApp messages, whatever it took to help my students. Talking and explaining to families how the digital platform worked was the very first step.


That first week of lockdown was the litmus test, to see if everything would work or not. My first tutorial was published and it was the first of many more to come. These tutorials were adapted to students, but also to families, explaining all the contents in English, and also in Spanish and Catalan.   That first tutorial resulted in a second, slightly more complex one and so on...   The first activities were delivered on paper via WhatsApp and corrected by hand, on top of the photo, through a photo editing program. The fluid communication with the families meant that there was immediate feedback. If an activity was not right, they sent it back corrected.


Àngel Molina

evaluation activities, were small challenges for the students... and they did them wonderfully.

That's how the last weeks of the second term went. It had been a great success, but we still had three more months to finish the school year and we had to continue in the same way. Easter holidays, for some, were like that, holidays, but for most teachers, it was a break from sending emails, messages, WhatsApp, calls, etc.

enthusiastic about each activity I proposed. Their happiness and desire for more encouraged me to continue working that way.

I started proposing challenges to my students, which would give them extra points in their final grade. The first challenge was to create a music video for a song. My expectations were high when it came to delivering the work, but with this first activity, expectations were far exceeded and it was awesome. In this first


But it was not a usual holiday; I took advantage of those days off, to prepare more material (video tutorials, forms, google docs, etc.) and make the classes during that last term continue as before or even better... that was my big goal, my expectation... 

challenge, I not only had the collaboration of the students, but also of the families and that was a big surprise for me, that filled me with joy. Activities that I proposed, activities that they did with great enthusiasm, even the 

Àngel Molina

In addition, through ICT classes, students were taught how to create documents in Google Docs, answer activities through them and this facilitated the work at home, when doing the activities. For the creation of these documents, I adapted the content to learn and students made their copy, did the activity and shared it with me, with the help of a video-tutorial.

At that moment I realized how we had evolved, from working on paper and proofreading through a photo to doing it completely digitally. Those activities were a great success, but we did not 

that was more than achieved.

During the last term, we started giving classes through video conferencing, in English, of course, always in small groups, reading, checking, ... Those groups were the same cooperative groups we had in class. We started with voice reading and recording activities, to find out what oral expression was like and what problems they might have. It is necessary to remark that all students had an electronic device at home, whether a tablet or computer. They sent amazing videos and audios.


Àngel Molina

classes) that have allowed us to value the understanding and assimilation of the concepts worked on.   
- Individual work.
- Work done at home and presented through telematic tools.  
- Interest and effort to progress.  
- The attitude towards the work to be done: involvement, responsibility and autonomy  
- Delivery of all activities and within the proposed deadline (with flexibility for all those students who needed it).  
- Taking advantage of the time of the video-classes with a correct and positive attitude.  
- Contribution of ideas, opinions 

forget the activities on paper or in digital format such as audio or video. This is how we continued throughout the third and final term, working tirelessly and in an excellent way achieving all the proposed contents and objectives.

Many will ask, how did I evaluate? After agreeing with the other teachers, we came to the conclusion that the following specific criteria would be assessed, among others:

- Oral and written answers to activities with questions and individual and group exercises (through the online video-


Àngel Molina     

and school space. 

As for the families, there were only words of gratitude. They were asked to have another role in addition to fathers, mothers, grandparents, etc.: being a "teacher", and although it was difficult they did it in an EXCELLENT way.  

To conclude I'd like to say that teachers went from working in the regular classroom through projects, cooperative work, mutual help, games, etc. to teleworking at home with the students and their families in just 48 hours.  It was a great daily and continuous effort that implied a lot of involvement and a great, new, unknown and stressful challenge to be able to reach students and families, and adequately provide the necessary tools and assistance they needed to achieve the proposed minimum goals.

and concerns in class through video classes, emails or comments to the Google Classroom platform. 


I'd like to highlight that students, from the first moment, were very aware of the new situation and the consequences of working this way. They were very enthusiastic about doing homework, learning, and very proud of the work they did. They made a great effort to follow a daily work schedule, deliver homework on time and always with enthusiasm and desire. This does not mean that at some point in lockdown they needed to do individual online tutoring with me to calm them down and encourage them. They felt tired and overwhelmed from doing homework like this, and after so long they missed their classmates, class, teachers 


                  by Carmen Moreno Huart

CM. What are the main challenges you face for this school year to be successful?  
Vicky Jiménez, the headteacher, explains how they have got organized:  

VJ.The challenge of this year is definitively to be safe. After having been locked up
for two months at home due to a sanitary emergency, coming back to school was ruled by two premises: to recover interpersonal relationships with safety and to achieve new goals in distance        
                               teaching, since it
                               seems to be the way
                               we are heading
                               Virus is spread in small
                               bubbles of breath.
                               Wearing masks,
                               distancing of two
                               meters and cleaning
                               hands are the three-
                               steps of advice we
                               have to keep to. The
                               more people in a small

IES Bendinat (Calvià)

Descripción de la imagen


Vicky Jiménez (VJ), (headteacher), Maite Ruiz (MR), (head of the Foreign Languages Department), Apol·lònia Alou (AA), Marisa Barceló (MB) and Teresa Gispert (TG), (English teachers) have answered APABAL's questions about the situation created by the pandemic Covid-19 at their high school.   The article summarizes their different points of view in regard to the personal and professional implications that the pandemic is having on them at the beginning of this "special" school year.  


area, the more chances of being infected. So, how can we deal with our students? How do we transmit knowledge? -just facing new challenges using telematic technologies such as virtual classes, video calls and flipped classrooms as a new way of learning for students.

IES Bendinat (Calvià)


Since government instructions focused on lowering the density of students inside the classroom, half of the class come one day and the other half, the following day, so that in two weeks they have come for one week and have spent one at home. Desk separation of one meter and a half (table leg coloured marks fits coloured floor mark) and wearing masks for 6 hours keep students safe. Having picnics alone in the playground since they remove their masks when eating -rising risk of contagion at that moment- and entering and leaving the building in files through corridors keeping distance with friends.... No teachers' lounge with laughs or noise...separated coffee-time at tables...no shaking hands or kissing hellos. How can we behave as people if we aren't allowed to be as we used to?  

The challenge for this new era is not telematic education, it's to keep mentally sane and to transmit this feeling to students while a solution is found to get us back to our 'touchable' normality....  

The teachers have concerns more linked to their everyday 


classroom practice;

MB. Combining online lessons with face-to-face lessons is certainly one of them. Unfortunately, we need to waste a lot of time during class time connecting electronic devices in order to correct exercises they did at home. Classes are losing spontaneity.

MR. Besides having to teach the same curriculum in roughly half the classes, we have to pay online attention to students that require extra working hours: to our regular morning timetable we have to add the time spent providing online support. Another challenge is dealing with irregular outcome on the part of the students, since what they do at home depends greatly on their ability to stay focused when not at school, and also on their varying degree of autonomy for learning.

CM. What are the main implications for teachers and students of the pandemic protocols?  

AA. The protocols are followed quite well by most students.  

IES Bendinat (Calvià)

that we have more than 1000 students, that is not very significant. The school gives the impression of a very safe place, it is probably, at this moment, one of the safest places to be.  

MR. Protocols are outdated. They were decided in June, now there's more information on how infection occurs. Aerosols weren't taken into account, now they are considered a major source of infection. No present protocol accounts for that, only (some) social distancing, face coverings and hydro alcoholic gel.

CM. How prepared are you as teachers to support distance learning?  

MR. Not much, honestly. And it has nothing to do with ICT literacy, in my opinion. We need to redesign our materials and our strategies. To provide online attention you need specific materials that are learner-friendly, things the students will be willing to do at home without feeling overwhelmed with work, which results in lack of motivation. These are not the regular materials we used two years ago, we need to create and 

There were drastic expulsions of 5 days for those who did not behave. The students have a huge responsibility and they are responding quite well. As for the teachers, punctuality to control the cleanliness is crucial. Group tutors should make sure that everyone wears a mask and that they keep a safe distance. I think everything is working well enough.  

The schedules are complicated because the bells ring at different times so that the groups do not coincide in the common spaces. The biggest problem is when someone has symptoms. MR. explains: when we spot a possible case, it's the teacher in class who has to go to the isolation classroom with the student, leaving the rest with no class. This may have epidemiological sense, but not academic sense.  

AA. The most difficult moments are the breaks since masks can be removed for snacks. Places such as the parking lot are now
for students to have their snacks. Last week we had two positive cases, but it looks like they got it outside the school. Considering


IES Bendinat (Calvià)

classroom techniques would definitely help us loads.   

MR. I don't miss anything because I tend to read and look for information by myself.  

TG. Right now, what I miss the most are tools for organizing work itself. The combination of face-to-face and virtual classes requires a greater demand in terms of planning activities. For me, classroom programming has always been under constant review and modification, but now I need to be much more rigorous so that these modifications do not affect the work of my students during their non-face-to-face classes. On the other hand, I am not really doing virtual classes and I do not know the complexity of the matter, so I am aware that good training to be able to carry out classes in front of a computer screen may be a short-term necessity.

CM. Do you foresee any students' loss of skills caused by this situation? What preventive measures have been established: curricular adaptations, lower pass 

use materials that are specific for this purpose. 

MB. Luckily, during the lockdown we had the chance to learn a lot and thanks to the help of Google Classroom we are now able to do many things.    

CM. Who has provided this preparation? The government, the school, your colleagues, yourself?  

MB. This preparation has happened thanks to individual self-formation, the government's help has arrived late and at a very low and impractical level  

MR. I was offered a training course in GSuite. But I preferred to teach myself with tutorials.  

CM. What kind of professional training do you miss at this moment?  

MB. I'd really appreciate that all schools were provided with excellent flawless WiFi connections that would help us keep up to our planning standards. Training on screencast making, streaming lessons, video and sound software and flipped 


IES Bendinat (Calvià)

and teaching requirements to the real circumstances, they always do that. It is cheap, sort of conceals failure, and also avoids targeting the real problem: the unrealistic attempt to cover the top educational objectives with very weak means. In the case of this year, they are trying to do the same with half the staff required. For all the students to have face-to-face school education, they should have contracted more teachers and established morning and afternoon shifts. But then obviously, this costs money. The Spanish government gave 3,000 million euros to the autonomous communities to be spent solely on education to cope with the 


TG. I think this depends a lot on the educational level and the subject in question. Perhaps the students in 2nd Batxillerat are more affected by this situation. However, at lower educational levels, and in a subject such as English (or other foreign languages), the curriculum is worked repetitively throughout several courses, in such a way that the knowledge of previous courses is expanded and reinforced. So, I don't think there is really a significant loss. It is clear that we are left with fewer hours of practice, of possibilities to interact, and all that, in the long run, has negative effects. It is about common sense really: simplifying the curriculum, working on skills more than ever, and encouraging effort, although that, apparently, leads to a lower level of demand. It must be remembered that we are facing an exceptional situation, and therefore the measures must be exceptional.

MR. None for the moment, but chances are the administration will lower assessment criteria. When they don't adjust curricula 


IES Bendinat (Calvià)

teaching and learning of your subject?  

TG. Honestly, I still haven't adjusted to the situation, and neither have the students. All the work we do in pairs, all the movement and interaction that occurs during the English class, all that spontaneity has been lost. Classes have become very static. I don't know, I hope that over time we can relax these security measures, or, failing that, get used to this situation and be able to work one hundred percent under these conditions.  

MR. It has drastically reduced my chances in methodology. Half of the things I can think of I cannot do due to the restrictions: I cannot group students in pairs in class, I cannot make bigger groups for games, interaction or collaborative work. Every student seems to be isolated at his/her desk. It's quite sad.  

CM. All of you have agreed that the students in general are following Covid protocols really well.  What about digital learning, how well are they adapting to that?

Covid crisis. I just wonder where this money has gone. Certainly, not to provide all students with proper face- to- face classes. No: let the teachers do double work, then blame them for the questionable results.

CM. How many students have you lost along the way for lack of tools or family support to keep on with digital learning? 

TG. In some cases, the social services have had to intervene in order to guarantee the right to education in a virtual environment. They have been anecdotal cases, at least at IES Bendinat. In any case, there are great differences in access to technologies. There are students who handle this type of technology in their day to day and have full control, and there is another part of the student body with serious deficiencies, probably because they have less access (they share the material with other members of the family, they do not have equipment updated and with all the accessories, etc.).    

CM. As English teachers, how is the situation affecting the 


IES Bendinat (Calvià)

PA. Finally we all have corporate mail, and everyone uses Classroom, so if there is another lockdown, we already have the path well marked. The generalization of these tools makes communication between all teachers much more fluid. We should have had them, like many other schools, a long time ago. We are using these tools to carry out all the innovative project initiatives that until now required face-to-face classes. Communication among and with tutors is much more effective, and also among the members of the different commissions: Co-education, Library....    

CM. Other contributions you would like to make.  

MB. You can feel how much they were missing coming back to school and having human
contact. However, others got used to the impersonality of distance learning or just passed their exams thanks to Covid exceptional assessment and promotion criteria and so they are lost now they're back.  You can easily identify them by their willingness to participate either in online or in-person lessons    

CM. Have we learned anything positive from this situation? Anything that should remain in place in the future?  

MB. This has taught us the importance of always being updated from a methodological point of view. It has left paper behind and given way to the digital school which I believe is here to stay  

MR. The only positive thing I can think of is the fact that all meetings are online, which saves a lot of time and energy. I don't feel that I've learnt anything.

CM. Any innovative initiatives taken by IES Bendinat?


AA. I would say that this situation is a challenge for everybody, and we have to try and carry it out in the best and more normal way possible. We have to continue educating, co-educating, to allow the students to become better people. This forces us to be more creative, more empathetic and more patient, but this is positive, and the truth is that teachers always find a way to be creative and rise out of the ashes in situations of conflict.

                  MOTIVATING STUDENTS 
                  TO ENGAGE IN SPEAKING
                  PRACTICE DURING THE
                  COVID-19 PANDEMIC:
                  USING FLIPGRID


Karen Jacob


Karen Jacob teaches EFL at the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB) as a full time lecturer  

although teachers could use other tools, such as Zoom, if they preferred. When it came to exams, we had a programme which allowed us to create online exams using a variety of question types. The UIB provided videos on how to use the tools, although it was up to each and every one of us to find some things out for ourselves! I am not particularly tech-savvy but the programmes were fairly intuitive and so I soon got the hang of using it. I could show documents, show web pages, do listening exercises, and even get innovative with exams and projects. However, as a university teacher of English as a foreign language, it was important to find a way to encourage oral practice with my students during the pandemic, and how on earth was I going to do this? Easy, you may say! Not so, I would reply! Of course students could use the audio function incorporated into BB collaborate, just as they could turn their cameras on so that I could see them. Unfortunately, it was not quite that simple. "I don't have a 

When the University of the Balearic Islands announced its closure in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I wasn't worried. Very naively, I thought that things would be back to normal after the Easter break. I couldn't have been more wrong! The university acted quickly and classes immediately became online. For me, this wasn't a problem. We were sent information on which tools to use for our classes. The videoconferencing tool used by the UIB was BB Collaborate,

Karen Jacob

all their peers in a space where every fault would be heard. My solution was the educational platform Flipgrid. In an earlier Master class, I was lucky to learn about this programme from a future teacher! This article explains how the platform works, and how it can be integrated into regular and online classes, benefiting both students and teachers.

Flipgrid - the programme
Flipgrid is part of the Microsoft software collection. It can be found at info.flipgrid.com (Figure 1).

camera", "my audio doesn't work", were the most common reasons (or excuses) given by my 140 students. They much preferred giving their answers in the chat and were reluctant to use the oral and visual features of the programme. I presume they were still in pyjamas, having a bad hair day, or perhaps, they were not even there at all (as confirmed by me asking some students to answer a question and being greeted with absolute silence!).

The productive skills of Speaking and Writing are often considered the most difficult for teachers to teach, and for students to attain acceptable levels in, as learners are expected to invest in these skills; they are active not passive skills. In the case of writing, the sheer amount of time need to correct 120 essays every week or so is enough to put any teacher off setting regular essay practice for students, but it is doable. However, in times of online teaching, how was I going to get my students to speak to me? And even more daunting, how was I going to assess their speaking. Essentially, they appeared to be embarrassed to talk in front of 


Creating an account is very straightforward - you only need to have a Google or Microsoft email account to join, or even better, a Google Classroom school account for teachers. If your school uses Google Classroom, then you will find that Flipgrid has already 

 Figure 1. Flipgrid web page

Karen Jacob

user-friendly. It incorporates many social media ideas such as the 'like' button, which students are used to with other social media accounts and as students, they only need to download the Flipgrid application (Figure 2).

Once the teacher has set up a discussion space, they can then add as many different topics (assignments) as they wish. If you have multiple classes, you can create groups for them. In Figure 3, you can see that I have named my first group discussion space 'English Language III Speaking Practice'. When I go into this space, I can see the different assignments that I have set for the students in this group (Figure 4).

been incorporated into its list of classroom tools. Flipgrid is above-all "a social learning platform that allows educators to ask a question, then the students respond in a video" (Merrill, 2008). This format allows all students in the group to answer each other's posts with a written comment or, even better, a video reply. For students, motivation and engagement in the activity are major factors for success and this platform helps in these aspects. Those students who find it difficult to speak in front of their classmates have the ideal space in which to make themselves heard; they are, essentially, given a voice. For teachers, the possibilities are endless. A teacher gets to learn about each student, assess their individual strengths and weaknesses, give personalised feedback (written or through video) and generally help build their students' confidence. Although not initially conceived for foreign language learning, it is the ideal tool for providing speaking (and listening) practice and promoting language learning autonomy in our students. For today's students, the design of the programme is simple and


Figure 2. Flipgrid app

Karen Jacob   

topic'. Once the activity has been set up, you will be provided with a code which you can share with your students. If you then set up a group, then the same code will give students access to all the activities in their group. Students can enter via the Flipgrid web page or by downloading the Flipgrid app
and punching
in the activity
or group code.
Once on the
page, students
can read the
and when they
are ready,
press record
and create
their video (see video tutorial at
https://youtu.be/WMqlEnmVA-8). They can decide whether to keep the recording or rerecord and when they are ready they can take a selfie and then just send - just as easy as using their favourite social media account!

It is important that we make this educational space as safe as possible, especially for younger students. You can start off by making your Flipgrid space 

Flipgrid - Getting started 
In order to use Flipgrid you must create an educator's account by

entering through the educator sign-up on the top right-hand corner of the main page. You will be asked for some very basic information including your name, country, type of school institution, etc. (Figure 5) and then you will be greeted by a 'welcome to Flipgrid' message with an invitation to 'Create a Topic' or to share the 'Join Code'. 

If this is your first time in Flipgrid you will have to create a topic by pressing on 'Create a Topic'. This will open up a new window where you will be asked to 'Set up your 


Figure 3. A group           

  Figure 4 Topics in a group           

  Figure 5. Information           

Karen Jacob   

students have 'hidden' their videos. They may do this when they record their video or the teacher may do this later.

Flipgrid - possibilities for the teacher
Flipgrid has some very interesting features that help teachers in their day-to-day life in the organisation of their teaching. One important feature is that the teacher can set a specific time for the activity. This can be from as little as 15 seconds to 10 minutes. Another interesting element is that the teacher can set due dates, thus giving specific opening and closing dates for assignments. This will help the teacher when setting different assignments as they will be able to see when students did the activity and automatically refuse entrance to those who try to do the activity after the due date. Feedback is also an important feature of language learning. With Flipgrid both 

used it in an educational environment, most would choose to make their spaces private and have the space linked to their Google classroom. However, if you don't work with Google Classroom, you can make your space public but the fact that each topic has a specific code means that only those who have the code can access the space, thus ensuring privacy.

Furthermore, the students themselves can control their information through privacy settings. That is, students can choose whether the rest of the students see their video or not. In Figure 7 you can see that some 


Figure 6. Access control

Figure 7. Hidden videos

Karen Jacob

that they will be private until you check them and then make them available to the rest of the group. This is also useful if you have made the space public but don't want the videos available to anyone else in the group - in the case of an exam for example.

students and teachers may publicly comment on a video (Figure 8) but teachers are also given the option to send the student private written or oral feedback as well as a grade (Figure 9).

In Figure 9 we can also see the basic grading system for ideas and performance, but when setting up the topic the teacher can individualize this by creating personalized rubrics for their class. If a teacher chooses to use Flipgrid for assessment, then it allows them to personalise the grading criteria for each assignment and for each group. If teachers are interested in joint projects with other classes or schools, they can add other teachers as co-pilots. This way each teacher will be responsible for giving feedback to their own students.

Teachers also have the option of moderating videos. This means 


      Figure 8. Adding a public comment

     Figure 9. Giving teacher feedback

1. Getting to know each other - students post short videos on their hobbies, their towns, their families, their pets, etc. Please see a great example of a project on this topic which involved students from three different schools in three different towns

Flipgrid - the activities 
There are so many different speaking assignments that students of all levels can be given. As we have seen, teachers can allow other students to comment on the video content in order to make the assignment more communicative. A few ideas are: 

Karen Jacob  

themselves up to recreate a scene from a favourite film/TV show. 

8. Students could also pretend to be reporters and give the daily news or weather. They could even choose some news from the past and present that.

9. Call my bluff - this game is based on a British TV quiz show. In groups of three, students choose a word from a dictionary and give 3 different definitions; only one is correct. They have to try to tell stories about their definitions to make them sound interesting to the class and convince everyone that their definition is the correct one. Students would have to create individual videos with their word but the whole class could be given the list of groups previously.

10. Debate - set an interesting or controversial subject for students to give their opinion on. This is a useful exercise to gain ideas for 'opinion' essays and 'for and against' essays as it will help students who find it difficult to come up with ideas for their essays.

in Spain, https://www.cristinacabal.com/?p=13499.

2. True or false? - students give three sentences about themselves, one of which is false (or one which is true) and their classmates have to guess which one is false. Students can leave messages with their answers. On the last day, students can give the correct answer.

3. Guess the film/book/TV series, etc.

4. Guess the city/country, etc.

5. Read a favourite poem/paragraph from a book and explain what it means to you. This can be used just to practise pronunciation. Students could also read a text from their course book or read a completed grammar or vocabulary exercise out loud.

6. Create an advert - students have to create a video selling a product.

7. Act out a scene from a favourite sitcom - students become actors and dress 


Karen Jacob

such as 'Can music help you think', 'What is a black hole', 'Would you ever live in Outer Space?' have been posted. These topics can be shared with your students so that you can set up a private discussion.

In conclusion, Flipgrid offers a wealth of opportunities for language learners to practise their speaking skills in a more relaxing environment, such as their home sofa or out in the garden, whilst giving voice to those who are perhaps a little reluctant to speak in front of the rest of their class. Activities can be varied in nature and adapted to the level and interests of a class. Last but not least, the fact that a teacher can give feedback, set an assignment due date and give grades makes the use of this tool a bonus when it comes to keeping tabs on students' progress.  


Merrill, J. (2018). Flipgrid - A social learning platform. The Techie Teacher. Available online at  https://www.thetechieteacher.net/2018/07/flipgrid-social-learning-platform.html  

11. What did they say? - This is a useful activity to practice reported speech. You can give lyrics from popular songs and then the students have to choose a few to put into reported speech via video.

As you can see, with a little imagination, there are plenty of different types of speaking activities that teachers could involve their students in, whether they be part of their subject assessment or just for fun! But if you want some more ideas, the Flipgrid platform also has a discovery library (Figure 10)

where you can find a vast number of topics that can be used with students. For example, there is a page called 'Made by Dyslexia Organization' which has some interesting interviews of famous people who suffer from dyslexia. Another interesting page is 'Wonderopolis' where the topics 


Figure 10

A compilation of ICT resources 

            By Nela Hidalgo     

Nela Hidalgo


I just want to share some ICT resources I find useful and hopefully you find them useful as well.

1. Classdojo         


ClassDojo is an app that offers you the possibility of communicating with your students as well as with their parents, you can also award points and digital stickers and it 

Nela Hidalgo is an advisor for Languages, Social Science and Arts at CEP Calvià

may help you with class management. 
Tutorial: https://youtu.be/ZZ27nMOVI_g  

2. Socrative                                 https://www.socrative.com/  

Socrative is an effective tool that can provide ESL students with instant feedback and help the teacher to evaluate students' understandings of the subject matter.  



Nela Hidalgo  

3. https://breakingnewsenglish.com/.

Free English News Lessons in 7 different levels. This site is for ESL and EFL students wanting to learn English. It has English news readings and listening.

4. Flipgrid                                        https://info.flipgrid.com/  

Flipgrid encourages all students to share their ideas. It can be used as a video-based forum and it also allows the teacher to send online feedback.  
Tutorial:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gz23yEGEAkk

5. Mentimeter                                 https://www.mentimeter.com/ 

Mentimeter is an easy-to-use presentation software. With Mentimeter you can create fun and interactive presentations to engage your students    
Tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rT90-aklzPQ

6. Edpuzzle                                        https://edpuzzle.com/  

EDpuzzle is a teaching tool used to place interactive content into pre-existing videos from a variety of sources, such as TED or YouTube, or into videos you have made.  
How does Edpuzzle work? https://youtu.be/-L62wAxCzEM


Nela Hidalgo  

7. Quizziz                             

Quizziz is an online assessment tool that allows teachers and students to create and use one another's quizzes. After providing students with a unique access code, a quiz can be presented live as a timed competition or used for homework with a specific deadline.   
Tutorial: https://youtu.be/TmqRCMPpHbA    

8. Padlet 

Padlet is an online virtual "bulletin" board, where students and teachers can collaborate, reflect, share links and pictures, in a secure location.  
Tutorial:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtoJCe3WNnc&feature=youtu.be    

9. Talk and comment    

Talk and comment lets you make and send voice notes in any app (Email, YouTube, Classroom ...). Simply record your voice from the widget, and paste the generated link anywhere you want.  

Extra Bonus:
Interesting Instagram accounts to follow:       



bored teachers 



 The APABAL video contest that shows new experiences!

And the winner is....Diana Barceló with CEIP Punta de n'Amer  (Sa Coma)

Diana Barceló

DB. It started in 2014. Teachers were talking about peace day and how we should celebrate it. All of us shared the same opinion. Peace was not a fact of one day. So, it started being a three-month project and 2019 - 2020 was the 6th one.

AT. How long did it take you?  
DB. Well, the idea started last June 2019 while 6th-grade students were at the auditorium joining in an eco-friendly day with other primary schools and organisations. There was a speech about the Jane Goodall Institute and its 


PASSIVE 4BEING ACTIVE wins this year's edition of the APABAL video contest "Lights, Camera, Action!"
                                                                                       by Aina Trias

"Lights, camera, action!" is a video contest whose objective is to disseminate innovative experiences carried out by students from 5th level of Primary to 2nd

level of ESO, and from 3r level of ESO to 2nd level of "Batxiller" by using English. Last year, the winner was the teacher Diana Barceló, who teaches English at CEIP Punta de n'Amer.  Diana did a brilliant activity with her 6th grade Primary students based on a report about the protection of chimpanzees, using English and practising the passive  voice. The prizes, consisting of a tablet for the teacher and a certificate of participation for each student, were given to them at the end of the school year.       

The video "Passive 4being active" was so elaborate that we were curious to know how it developed. We interviewed Diana to learn about all its procedure.

 AT. So, Diana, could you explain how the idea of creating a "Peace Project" came up?  

Diana receives her award from APABAL
board member Aina Trias


steps that you
followed since
the idea arose till the final video recording?

DB.These kinds of projects are always a mixture of different aspects we work with, depending on the year.  

●     Apartheid
●     Natural Disasters
●     Ecology Impact
●     Social Helping Acts  

During the first term, we were working with Passive Tense, as well as Reported Speech. We were looking for a lot of information about the previously mentioned topics and how passive sentences were 

Diana Barceló


'MOBILITZA'T PER LA SELVA'. Then a student of mine turned to me with opened eyes and said: Diana, we've got next year's Peace Topic! So, 6th-grade students wrote a letter with their legacy. It usually takes five months.

AT. Can you explain the different stages of the project, the  

Diana Barceló and her 6th grade class



Big wood fires took place in the Amazon Jungle and Australia last 2019. We also commented on the 2020 Venice Aqua Alta, which made us go back in time when in Sant Llorenç des Cardassar, a big flood happened.  

So, the final video recording presents a plot where the main aspects studied take place.  

Three months looking for information, real stories, watching documentaries... 

Diana Barceló

getting information back.  

One month reading, adapting, reparing the plot: pronunciation, accuracy, intonation, dramatising, fluency, learning it by heart, ...    

One month recording and editing the video.

We watch all together it and decide if we want to change anything in order to improve it or if we need to adapt it.  

AT. Once you knew you were the winners, what was the students' reaction?    
DB. I must confess it was a bit of a sweet and sour moment. Students were happy, but we were all living a difficult moment. The confusion was a reality. At that moment, many people were feeling as if being happy was not permitted. We were at home, confined; and in addition to that, students were sad because they had their school trip on that week which had been cancelled one month ago, because of the Conselleria decision.

AT. Finally, would you recommend the experience to other teachers?     

DB. Definitely yes! Of course, why not? Speaking loudly and clear is the key. They need to learn how relevant vocalising ideas is. They do not only learn the facts of English. We also need body language as a tool when we try to spread a message. 

The video has been posted on our website for months, so we hope that other teachers have been able to take useful ideas for their classes. We all learn from each other. This is the most important kind of motivation. And this is the main objective of the contest.

AT. Thank you Diana for participating and congratulations to you and all your students.    
DB. It's my pleasure! I appreciate the APABAL effort. Although it is not always easy, you always try your best for your teachers. We feel as if we are members of a big family.      

Due to the current health situation that forces schools to work with limited activities, it is impossible to offer this video contest during this school year (2020-2021).  

We hope to be able to offer it in the coming year and to count on all of you and your new experiences!!!  





First prize ex aequo: Teresa Gispert Escorihuela and Helena Sánchez Gayoso

Second prize: Antònia Bennàssar Burguera


       Helena Sánchez

Teresa Gispert 

 Antònia Bennàssar

wanted to be more elegant, more educated, more Faulkner, less Twain. That's why her parents had named her Caddy, after that character in Faulkner's The Sound and The Fury. However, I bet her parents never read that book. After all, Caddy Compson, the character in the novel, was not a lady. My neighbor had been cursed with that name. Caddy, my Caddy, was a 100% Huck Finn and there was nothing she could do about it. She would never be a great lady from the south, so forget about Scarlett O'Hara and Tara. She kept not only a rifle, but also all of Mark Twain's beloved first editions in a vault. She had read them all, of course. The books and other stuff. She even knew Twain's famous quotes by heart. She was dangerous. The day I gave her Jane Austen´s Pride and Prejudice as a present for her 68th birthday I was sentenced to death. Well, I guess I should've known, but honestly, at that time I was just naïve and I didn't have a clue about Twain's hatred towards Austen. I was in my first year at uni. Still struggling with Sir Gawain, green knights, Beowulf and all that boring stuff. Caddy thrust the book back to me and looked at me with fierce 

A Modern Battle of Gettysburg 


A Modern Battle of Gettysburg
by Teresa Gispert Escorihuela

By the time I got home, my cat had been killed and the golf clubs disappeared. 'Caddy', I told myself, 'it must've been her'. Caddy was what we would call a difficult neighbor. She sometimes pretended to be a sweet, old English lady. But she was neither English nor sweet. She could drink as much tea as she wanted, and drop as many thank you darling in a conversation as she had the chance, that wouldn't hide the Rambo-like woman she was.  I knew she owned a rifle (and she even told me once ─a night she had a whiskey or two─ that she had been the champion of wing shooting and sporting clay shooting in junior categories in 1965 and 1966).

When I moved into this house, she came to me with a lemon pie. Just like in the movies, I thought. What a lovely neighbor. Little by little I found out the truth about her. Her family came from the deep south. They had cows and horses, and a dead confederate general as an ancestor. They aimed higher, though. They 

A Modern Battle of Gettysburg

lady. And everybody loves 'Candle in the Wind'. What's the police going to do about this?
─It's insane.
─It's revenge.  

She had suddenly become a chain-smoker, within less than three minutes. I had never seen her smoke before, and there she was now, smoking one cigarette after another. Her teeth were suddenly yellow and she had developed a cough. She had turned into an evil character, but there was no transition: we were kind of jumping into a rushed conclusion. However, I knew that if I could live with Donald Trump, I could also live with an evil neighbor. After all, she was a sweet old lady who simply happened to love Elton John. What an evil neighbor! Top three of evil neighbors: Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, Caddy the sweet old lady. I laughed at my own stupid joke. I laughed and cried. It sometimes happens to me: I tell myself stupid jokes and my own imagination does the rest. So, in my mind I could see the three evil characters having a pajama party in the Battle of Gettysburg. Caddy kept looking at me with her fierce 

eyes. Then, she confessed she had actually visited her grave, Jane Austen's grave, and beat her tomb with a golf club. RE-PEAT-ED-LY. She was escorted out of the Cathedral of Winchester and was declared persona non grata. There was no more lemon pie at my doorstep after that day.  

Her smile gradually faded away and, worst of all, she started playing 'Candle in the Wind' non-stop all-day round. It was a nightmare.

─Will you please stop it?
─I shouted at her.
─Stop what?
─She kindly answered while sipping some tea.
─Stop this torture. I can't stand Elton John.
─I can't stand Jane Austen, and guess what? I've had to put up with her all my life.
─That's not my fault.
─It's never anybody's fault. But there she is: the queen of English literature. She and Harriet Beecher Stowe, like cockroaches, would survive a nuclear bomb. My goodness.
─I'll call the police.
─Look at me: I am a sweet old 


 A Modern Battle of Gettysburg

sweet old neighbor got mail. I watched out the window. She looked surprised. The mail carrier went back to his van. She was standing by the door. She opened the small package. She held the book in her hands and looked at it with her fierce eyes. Her fierce eyes jumped out of the sockets, then formed the Confederacy and declared war against the North. For a moment I thought she would grab her rifle and become a confederate general herself. However, unlike General Robert E. Lee, she wasn't going to surrender. A few days later, I sent a second book: Pride and Prejudice.  

Everybody says that this is Austen's best book, but I guess it is because they are all in love with Mr Darcy ─or Colin Firth. It's crap, and I really mean it. At first publication, it got three favorable reviews and none of them was mine. Now, according to a poll conducted by the BBC in 2003, it is regarded as the second best-loved book. The first is The Lord of the Rings. They never asked for my opinion. Or my neighbor's opinion. I guess it was a poll for British people. For the first time, I felt some kind of connection to 

fierce eyes. Her yellow teeth were too shiny. I hated her.  

So, I started sending her little presents. It cost me money. And it was also time-consuming. But it was worth the effort. Or so I thought. I went to a second-hand bookstore and bought all the books by Jane Austen that I could find. Even Lady Susan. What a drag.

─Oooh. You really like Jane Austen ─the shop assistant said while he put all the books in my recycled paper bags.
─Not really. It's a present.
─Then, that person really loves Jane Austen.
─Some of them are repeated ─he pointed out.
─Yeah, I know. He looked at me suspiciously. I was compelled to clarify my actions.
─She is... She has Alzheimer. So, she never remembers where she puts her books ─I added, rather clumsily.
─Hum. It's $123.
─Damn it.

 I went to the post office and mailed the first book: Sense and Sensibility. Two days later, my 


A Modern Battle of Gettysburg

my evil character. We both stood up by Charlotte Brontë, when she said that the book was a disappointment, 'a carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers; but ... no open country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck'[1]. Nailed it. 

[1] https://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/articles/literary-legends-jane-austen-and-the-bront%C3%AB-sisters/


Envisioned Visions

Envisioned Visions
by Helena Sánchez Gayoso

I sensed the threatening presence entering my bedroom. Although nothing horrid was visible, yet I knew it was there, right in front of my bed where I was lying paralyzed. My eyes were wide open, my mind was awake and aware of the hostile force that was approaching me in slow and laboured progress. I was unable to move or speak. I wanted to shout but my throat hurt, and I knew I would not be heard. I was alone, imprisoned by the inability of my body to protect me against the inconceivable suffering I would endure. My heart started racing uncontrollably and I felt a nagging anxiety that could not be relieved. The darkness that haunted my soul spread through every crack and line in the room until I woke up in cold sweat.

A shrill cry echoed in the room. When I regained control over my body, I realised it had happened again. I had suffered another episode of sleep paralysis, which had been recurrent for the last year. Doctors attach its causes to 


stress, sleep deprivation or eating disorders. Since I was a little girl, my rational, scientific and pragmatic upbringing had always protected me against the intangible and invisible, such as superstitions and the supernatural, which I conceived as realms of the imaginary world of Gothic literature.

But... the humming and hissing sounds, the whispers, and the emotions of fear and panic instilled in me were so vivid that I couldn't help experiencing them as real, rather than as mere hallucinations. It was 5.30 in the morning. I composed myself, brushed the hair from my eyes and went to the kitchen to prepare some coffee, one of the rarest commodities from the past that had been substituted by chemical drugs that had a stronger effect. In the New Age, comfort and practicality came to substitute small enjoyments of past experiences, such as the romantic sense in drinking coffee that gently and slowly heightened my senses.  

I could not go back to bed and I wanted to revise the lecture I had to read on literature of the New 

Envisioned Visions

day, a general sense of paranoia invaded the city's atmosphere. The morning alarm that reminded us about the beginning of a new day had not sounded at its usual time, the blue brigades were not keeping peace in the streets, the supremes had not appeared on the large screens of the streets to notify us about our assigned duties and expectations and we did not know what to do... was it allowed to go out? should we stay home? How were we supposed to demonstrate our aptitudes as validate candidates for spatial migration? The earth was dying and we, the last link in the chain of human evolution, were living in the only habitable terrestrial island that had not been ravaged by the pandemic. The land of Realia, which was born out away from past shadows and evils, had been founded as a reborn land by the supremes, the keepers of scientific and technological development who maintained our perfect society by making us work towards a shared dream: Planet B. A Republic ideally perfect in respect of politics, laws, customs, and conditions, where only eligible humans could start anew. We worship Planet B, a land where we could re-experience 


Age, or as I liked to call it, the Literature of Relief that started to be written after the psychological trauma that the world had suffered in 2020, when the way of life people had known and enjoyed would cease to exist due to the worldwide pandemic that made us aware of the extreme depravity, evil and degeneration with which we had treated Planet A. Indeed, we destroyed what should have been most precious to us: our Mother and Home. The nostalgia of the past and the terror of the future defined our new present.

Waking up earlier than expected had always given me a sense of security and control, specially at dawn, when the day is waking up and the night falls asleep. It is the pleasure of liminal moments, isn't it? to allow yourself a bit of private extra time before life's duties and expectations wake your "public you". It was at such times when I experienced loneliness at its best...another past relic.

I saw the new city emerging from the shadows in its vibrant and hectic mood. However, something unusual was going on... On that 

Envisioned Visions

determination. "Rick did not come home last night. I know that he works really hard in the glass bubble, but he left a suspicious note. I know something is going on and I am not brave enough to face reality on my own."

The same feelings that had invaded me during the night took hold of my soul, but this time I had an apparent real cause to justify the uncontrollable fear that my subconscious was creating. Deep inside me I was sure something was being hidden from us, something we couldn't see... not even perceive.  Anna's brother was one of the supremes who worked in space programmes design. Although he was, or at least, he pretended to be a perfect citizen, there was something turbulent in his character. He was self-conscious, perfectionist and very concerned about their abilities... he perfectly knew how others perceive him and it was something I felt uncomfortable about.

"Calm down, let me see" I took the note and opened it without hesitation. The letter did not reflect his personality. His 

the wonders of a simple life. Suddenly, my watch-clock warned me that someone was requesting access. It must be Anna, the closest real person I was attached to apart from book characters... Not by choice, but because of practical reasons. After the many incidents of civil disobedience, it was better to be isolated rather than risk my position as a respectable person by misleading bad influences. After all, our reputation preceded ourselves, and the outside world's penetrating glare kept us under strict but subtle control. We were being watched and judged and we acted as if we were alienated from the world. The watch-clock read Anna's digital fingertip and she entered my apartment.

"Zhanna... I am really sorry to bother you but ..."  Anna started crying while her hands could not stop trembling. She was shaking a strip of ragged paper she was holding tight... I had never seen her in such a mental state. What was the cause for such a deplorable behaviour? We were not allowed to be so emotionally expressive. She was confused, unable to react with 


Envisioned Visions

were more than moments, but a mental and permanent condition. I discovered that there isn't a Planet B. It is the image that controls and guides our present time. Space is an unattainable and intangible illusion that has come to be both the means and goal of human existence ... as everything else that builds our lives."

Rick's words were truth serum. A truth we had buried as hidden secrets below piles of fears disguised in insatiable desires. However, the burning pain instilled in us stressed the need to look for answers.

But, answers came to light without being invited, for as confusion still clouded our minds. Denying the obvious meant betraying ourselves. We were living in the age of social simulacra and simulation. A time in history when symbols and signs had become the most real bond to reality. The essence of experience had been lost at the expense of a dangerous parallel reality, in which expectations, desires and unattainable goals built the imaginary world of Planet B. It was beyond the 

handwriting was messy, disorganised and even difficult to understand... as if he had written those few words under threat. It read: 

Start the backup procedure. Took nothing. Escape through the underground tunnel of the cellar, below operating panel. I am dead by now. Save yourself. Sorry.

Deep in our souls, we both knew what had to be done. A simple glance was enough to run to Anna's flat, go to the cellar and get into the trails of the tunnel that Rick had built. We arrived at an armoured room. Anna's digital fingertip worked. Anna got into pieces when she saw her brother again. Rick was there, although not in his human shape. His virtual projection on the air gave him the appearance of a digital spirit, but his image remained unchanged. Rick had a message for us:

"Anna, listen carefully. The supremes started an experiment centuries ago. Since time immemorial, they had induced in humans the idea that progress would make us build a world in which happiness and fulfilment 


Without saying a word, the decision was taken. We could not imagine what kind of victory was waiting just around the bend. We did not resign ourselves to living in the age of superficiality, where the most precious human right -our power to freely decide and act accordingly- had been substituted by an artificial resurrection of distorted images we tried to understand...but we couldn't... We rejected a present existence dominated by a totalitarian system built upon the nostalgia of the past and an imaginary future. We learnt that it is better to choose freely rather than being controlled by fake illusions.

I finally woke up from the nightmare that had tried to haunt me for years... or... was it an awakening of common sense? This time I learned to overcome the fear that had enslaved me.                 

death of dystopia and utopia. They had been reduced to the dreams and nightmares of the previous generation. The present was simply the nonpresent, or, a third space between imagination and reality. We had to leave this liquid world in constant transition to experience our own lives in its purest essence.  

We had two options: to forget what had happened during the last 3 hours, to come back to Realia, say nothing and continue being puppets of the society of spectacle that the supremes had built. We would be testimonies and accomplices of the simulacra. As such, we would live under the protection of both the physical and mental borders of Realia. Our existence was in a comfort zone. In the end, we were not used to listen to noises and feelings we couldn't understand, precisely because we were paralyzed instead of facing them.

On the other hand, we could sacrifice the comfortable lie of the eternal sleep paralysis we were suffering and escape through the tunnel to start living consciously. But, what was to be found on the other side? 

Envisioned Visions


Envisioned Visions

13th January 2020. English as a Second Language Classroom.

The bell rings. Students barely listen to the teacher: "Please, guys, reread the passage again and analyse..." The teacher hands out the reading comprehension exercise. Students are not listening...they are already immersed in their virtual reality. They are gone. Students get up from the chairs and leave the class in a rush. Some of them do not even take the worksheet...

"Keep trying... Look for the silver lining" I say to myself "Someday, your lessons will regain sense beyond the classroom reality. Someday, someone will listen... truly listen. Someday, literature will restore us to sanity and poetic imagination will transform inhuman forces into symbols we could trust"


Exercise 1: Multiple Choice

1. The short story is an example of __________ literature.  
     a.    Dystopian
     b.    Utopian 
     c.    Local Colour 
     d.    Realism  

Exercise 2: Answer the following questions (between 120-150 words)
     1. What would you do if you could revive the fable today? 

much as he was supposed to be? Or not as much as he saw the others were? But ... why? It seemed that all the people from that kind and peaceful village, old and young, strong and weak, rebellious and easy-going, brave and coward, carried inside an innate happiness constantly shared with the other members of the community.

As Makut grew older, he started wondering. He wondered why he felt different, why that fascination which the stories of the sorcerer had always raised in him was turning into an obsession with the passing of time, keeping him from enjoying life as the others did. In their neverending conversations, the sorcerer tried to calm down his troubled mind with wise words, stories and reflections. «There's no conflict between Man and Nature, just between Man and Man. Only Man can destroy that innate balance with Nature by destroying his Brother, making himself unworthy of Nature's respect and gifts. Man is due to recover that balance by learning from his unconscious behaviour and repairing the damage caused». He tried to make him understand 

Makut's Trip
by Antònia Bennàssar Burguera

Makut was an indigenous boy who had always lived in the jungle with his tribe. They hunted, fished, and collected the fruits bestowed by the Earth. In cold weather, they wrapped themselves in the skins of the animals that they captured, and when the tropical heat invaded their land, they went almost naked. All the members of the tribe lived in harmony, and each one knew what to do to contribute to the community's welfare. Their world was a combination of intertwined relationships embracing the blood family and the other tribe members, all under the protection of the spiritual guide, that wise man who possessed all the knowledge to heal the wounds and sicknesses of their bodies and their souls, transmitted them all those teachings that strengthened their bonds as a village, and led all those ancient rites that enhanced their strong connection to nature and the universe. 

He was happy ..... was he? Probably .... or not? Or not as 

Makut's Trip


magnificent, unreachable dwellers of the immense Universe worshipped by the mortals haunted him again. Of all the stories told and the worship rituals carried out by his tribe, the ones which fascinated him the most were those surrounding the Moon. When everyone was in deep sleep between day and day and only the sounds of the night remained, enveloped in darkness, Makut spent hours watching that mysterious lady, protective and perturbing at the same time, wondering again and again what she intended with that enigmatic and tireless game, growing and waning perpetually before the eyes of all those simple mortals who watched her night after night, enchanted and bewildered. As time went on, that obsession grew more and more unbearable until one night, carried away by the call of a soft, heady voice that reached him through the breeze, like being under a spell, he took a few essential belongings and left the village without saying goodbye to anyone or thinking about whether or not what he was about to do was foreseen in the community rules. He left without knowing where he was heading, 

how hard their ancestors had fought to reach Peace among the different villages, what each of them had the right to claim and what they had to give up and accept before the Big Deal was sealed, which would end up with cycles and cycles of suns, moons, winds and rains blood-stained by war and shadowed by the cloud of suffering. 

« Now that Balance and Peace reign again, we are due to adore our Sacred Servants, as they are kind to us, take care of us and provide us with all we need. We are due to be grateful to them for their bestowals. But always remember Makut: they are our servants but we are not their masters. We are not the owners of the Universe. We must always live in harmony with it, and never wish or intend to control or interfere with it again» Peace, gratefulness, harmony, balance,... all those words and all the reflections and teachings behind them, transmitted by the shaman with infinite patience and kindness, managed to clear his mind and move his heart while he was listening to them. When he was on his own, however, that obsession with those 

Makut's Trip


some food from inside his bag, and lay down to rest and restore his energy before taking up again his journey to the slope of the mountain, which he intended to reach before nightfall, when he would finally begin the ascent to his fascinating destination. 

After a long, deep sleep, Makut awoke with a sensation of renewed energy throughout his body. With a fresh mind and a determined spirit, he headed again towards the giant rock. But all of a sudden ... ... utter bewilderment ... The mountain was not there ... Gawking and uncertain about direction, he slowly began circling the ground under his feet, with his wide-open eyes staring carefully at every single particle of the world moving around him, before confirming definitely that baffling mystery: the giant rock was gone. Dismayed and unbelieving, Makut sat down again rubbing his eyes to see if he was really awake. Then he remembered the teachings of the shaman in his village: The Sun, the Moon, the Thunder, the Lightning, the Wind, the Rain, all of them coming and going, sometimes protective and others threatening, but each 

or what dangers awaited him in the immensity of that dense forest, with his mind just fixed on his destination, a destination that was up there, far above, and that night showing herself in all her fullness: a perfect huge sphere, glittering like never before. 

With his instinct as his only guide and committed to the call of that voice that was softly repeating his name again and again, he kept on walking and walking without time-consciousness towards the mountain that rose in the distance, far away from his village,  in a place where he had never been before. Yes, now he could see it clearly: that was the mountain that he needed to climb to reach the Moon, to be able to touch her with the tips of his fingers and then let himself in until he got fully involved in all the secrets of her untamed nature, to end up being a part of it himself. 

After a long walk, weak and exhausted, he noticed that daylight was emerging and that the Lady of the Night was slowly disappearing to make way for the King of Light, who was beginning to revive again. Makut let himself fall under a giant tree, drew 

 Makut's Trip


thought, and when he raised his head, the spectacle was waiting for him again: a sumptuous mountain crowned by an almost round and bright Moon remained in the distance. Invaded again by stupefaction and with his heart beating like a bird fluttering desperately to leave the cage, Makut began to run to the giant rock to complete his pilgrimage that night. But the faster he ran and the harder he tried to get closer, the further she seemed to remain, and that puzzling game went on and on all night long until she disappeared again as dawn made her way out of the darkness. 

Dumbstruck again, unable to understand the meaning of that challenging riddle, he slowly felt invaded by a totally new and strange feeling. He knew curiosity turned into obsession, he had experienced surprise turned into confusion, he was familiar with fear and uncertainty.... but he had never felt frustration before. Makut was completely frustrated, and with tear-filled eyes, carried away by a wild instinct and moved by a kind of rage and helplessness never experienced before, he began to punch 

fulfilling a mission, transmitting a message, providing an answer to maintain or restore harmony between Man and Nature. However, he could not remember any story in which the Mountain, the Rock, the Tree ... appeared and disappeared. The Tree was slowly growing and eventually dying, but so many suns and so many moons had to go by to complete that cycle, that it was almost imperceptible. And the Mountain always remained there, in its place, beneath the suns, moons, rains, thunder, lightning and wind ... always there, quiet and undisturbed. So what was going on? How could it be that the mountain he had been heading to all the previous night had suddenly vanished? Finding no answer and with his instinct as his only guide, he set off again following the path which had led him to his resting spot and kept on walking and walking all day long. When the King of Stars began to descend and the darkness was close again, Makut stopped for a meal and rested again for a while. Sitting on a small rock and concentrated on the food that he was voraciously swallowing, it became completely dark much faster than he 

Makut's Trip

Makut's Trip


and kick everything around him involved in a furious, uncontrolled ritual dance. After a long time, he was lying on the ground, unconscious and full of blood.  

Exhausted and weak, he slowly opened his eyes to see how twelve suns and twelve moons passed before them. In his stillness, not knowing where he was or who was protecting him, he could see the brightness of the enigmatic lady waning night after night, and the outline of the majestic mountain slowly blurring as that light was fading away until it completely disappeared.  

Dark, silence, night. Makut now opened his eyes again to meet the familiar look of the shaman, the look of Wisdom, of Peace, of Healing. No words were needed. Just that look.

Makut's Trip

Makut's Trip


Women Writers: 

- Women Writers Day. IES Bendinat (Calvià)
- Multiplying the limen in George Sand's A Winter in Majorca (1842). Helena Sánchez Gayoso

Apol·lònia Alou, Irene Cámara, Gemma Sanz

IES Bendinat (Calvià)

In order to celebrate Women Writers Day on October 19, and highlight the difficulties women writers have had throughout history, the Co-education and Library commissions have asked the entire educational community who their favorite writers are. These have been days of discussions in language classes, in departments, in chats with colleagues... We have received emails from mothers and fathers and the students have surprised us, as usual, conveying their preferences and their anger for the dark path that WOMEN WRITERS have had to follow.


The research has resulted in a very long, interesting and surprising list (180 women writers) that will be worked on in language classes in order to highlight the 20 most read writers in our community.     The activity has taken place in the classes of English, Catalan and Spanish according to the following distribution of grades and languages:

First of all, a video was watched to introduce the topic (see links below) followed by a debate and, if needed, some research on the writers they were not familiar with. A good excuse to go beyond J.K. Rowlings?  Later, each student chose a female writer they liked in order to make the most popular ones visible.


Apol·lònia Alou, Irene Cámara, Gemma Sanz


To summarize the results and make them visible to the whole school community, a kahoot! activity took place as well as a poster exhibition.

The following are some examples of essays written by 2BATX students

The first 20 most voted:

Women writers have been subject to cruel and degrading remarks for centuries, they faced the challenge of being unaccepted in the literary world, often having to prove the worthiness and importance of their works, being categorized in ways different to men, and still have been subject to unethical remarks. Now women writers have more freedom to write, but many of their struggles are similar to those of the 19th century women writers. 

Male criticism and the lack of gender equality makes the history of women's writing even more interesting and powerful. It becomes a chain of inspiration among writers, readers, and everyone else within their lives. When women share their voices, it's louder, stronger and significant for us and our future, our voice makes a difference.    Since the 19th century, issues concerning the status of women writers have changed. The success of women writers have increased and now  they do not face as many unjust gender based remarks regarding their writing. Women and their voices have emerged and been heard by the public with more recognition and success. However, the issue of gender inequality still remains in the literary world. Man still stands as the dominant figure, and women are  forced to "prove" her worthiness.  
(Bodhana Pidkaulik)

"The beginning is always today"- Mary Shelly. 

Many people think each person has his/her talent that identifies them more than others. In this case, we are talking about the talent of writing in women. It's evident that the women in the past couldn't perform activities that the men could  But now things are changing.  

It's a sure fact that many citizens love to read books, and nowadays you can read books of men and women . In the past years the women had to change her name to a man's  name, because they couldn't write what they thought or what they wanted. For example the Bronte sisters changed their names to Ellis, Currer and Acton Bell, this was terrible, why couldn't a woman write?  

In my opinion the talent has been recognized too late, these women let us a collection of amazing books and I think that we have to recognize who wrote these stories.   (Jorge Merino)

«Everybody, even the most humble ones, have in this world, not only its history but its prehistory.»

Caterina Albert, to whom we can relate this sentence, was a Catalan writer who wrote under the pseudonym of Victor Català since the society was not used to see women in influential positions. It was not until 1898 when she discovered everybody she was, indeed, a woman, and as one, always fought for their rights and against the patriarchal society.  

It was only one century ago when all those important women started to show up out of nowhere, surprisingly coinciding with the boom of the feminist movement. We can link some feminist icons to that movement, such as Virginia Woolf, Marie Curie (not directly a feminist icon but a very important unrecognised scientist), or Caterina Albert, in Catalonia. From my point of view, it is visible that feminine talent was lately recognised, although I lfeel quite proud of how society is evolving in that field and how that unfair unrecognition is being suppressed time by time. (Claudia Escandell)

Links to the materials used 
Video: "21 top women writers who literally changed the world": ​https://youtu.be/hXi386TR9qY
Video: "La peor monja de la historia" (Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wSOt3z_-YY          
Reading: "Dones escriptores" ​https://katalaani.wordpress.com/laula/literatura/dones-escriptores/           
Video: Poem Maria Mercè Marçal: "El diluvi" https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=YDafHsyyTNk&feature=emb_logo           
Reading: "Set escriptores en llengua catalana": https://www.eltemps.cat/article/5302/set-escriptores-catalanes-per-recomanar-el-diadelesescriptores         
Reading: "A les escriptores se'ns reconeix menys que als escriptors" https://www.levante-emv.com/cultura/panorama/2020/03/01/gemma-pasqual-les-escriptores -ns-11608229.html          
Video: "Primera escriptora feminista: Dolors Montserdà": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWRx6dOaGF0          
Video: "Escriptores de ciència-ficció":​https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06RLVaBE1CY
Reading: "Dia de les dones escriptores": ​https://www.vilanova.cat/blog/armandcardona/?p=14127          

Video: "Dones-poetes" (list) ​https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpGheV22koY    Ajuntament de Calella (poster): http://dones.gencat.cat/web/.content/03_ambits/docs/exposicio_dones_escriptores.pdf
Reading: "68 frases de mujeres únicas que hicieron historia": https://culturainquieta.com/es/inspiring/item/10931-68-frases-de-mujeres-unicas-que-hicieron -historia.html          

Video: "Mujeres escritoras: los datos de la brecha de género en la literatura":        https://www.rtve.es/noticias/20181015/mujeres-escritoras-datos-brecha-genero-literatura/1818926.shtml
Video: "Te estás perdiendo más de la mitad" ​https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRLr8Nqd9u4          
Video: "Mujeres escritoras, las grandes olvidadas" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHtD4VI4y8Q         
Video: "Escritoras españolas" (list) ​https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiGtCEiVGfM     
Video: "Las sinsombrero" ​https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYgXd5Ke7ic

Apol·lònia Alou, Irene Cámara, Gemma Sanz


Helena Sánchez Gayoso

Helena Sánchez holds a Bachelor Degree in English Studies. Her desire for knowledge about Literature led her to the Autonomous University of Madrid, where she graduated with honours in the Master's Degree of Literary and Cultural Studies in Great Britain and Anglophone Countries.

After spending two years teaching at Eton College, England, she came back to Spain to study the Master's Degree in Teacher Training in the speciality of English and German.  She has participated in international and national conferences and seminars, which have allowed her to develop her research on the fields of Canadian theatre, gender studies and liminality. Her current research is centred on the nostalgia infused in the work of Elizabeth Bishop and Louise Glück. She is currently teaching at Institució Mallorca, Aixa and Llaüt (Palma)


George Sand's An​ Hiver à Majorque has ironically been institutionalised as a landmark of Majorcan culture and traditions. Not surprisingly, the insignificant critical attention that the work has received has been limited to the personal aspects of the work, an approach that has come to define the novel as an autobiographical travel narrative. In the foreword to his translation of Sand's work, Robert Graves offers a premature glimpse to the possibility of defining A​ Winter in Majorca as a liminal text, when he describes the narrative as the product of "a personal clash between the pre/Revolutionary Classical world and the world of post/Revolutionary Romanticism" (xi). It is precisely in the light of the concept of liminal literature that Sand's narrative opens to a new field of research that forces the reader to reconsider an apparently much less engaging piece of literature that has always remained in the margins. Whether due to literary experimentation, inconsistency with genres or the desire to fictionalise her internal struggle (one will never know), A​ Winter in Majorca ​will be analysed in the literary threshold between Romantic conventions and Enlightenment literature, where the author navigates -and plays with- the boundaries of different genres, fact and fiction, and image and text, in order to create a work that goes beyond the label "travel narrative".
Keywords:  Romanticism / Scepticism; Painting / The Written Word; History / Memoir.

Never before, and possibly never since, has a book inspired as much animosity between the native islanders of Majorca as did George Sand's A Winter in Majorca. She relates her journey to the island with the composer and pianist Fréderic Chopin and her daughter Solange during the inhospitable winter of 1838. Although it was published in 1842, it appeared for the first time in 1841 in the Revue des deux Mondes. The book has somewhat ironically been institutionalised as a 



However, if one reads the book with an analytical eye, they soon realise that it poses new questions and invites new and more challenging readings that move beyond the label "travel narrative". The field of Liminality Studies represents a potentially powerful critical framework to place the different analytical perspectives that this book has to offer under the same roof. Most importantly, the concept of liminality can be used to question and redefine the nature of Sand's narrative itself.

Before focusing on the various levels in which liminality operates, I should make a brief parenthesis in order to contextualise this work in progress, since obvious complexities arise from using a critical framework to analyse Sand's work because one has never before been applied. Any previous critical treatment has been limited to relevant introductions and prefaces corresponding to different editions or translations. The second and major difficulty that this work in progress presents

landmark of Majorcan culture and traditions, and especially since the 1960s, it has become a crucial tool to attract a more burgeoning culture-oriented tourism.The insignificant critical attention that the work has received may have its roots in two main reasons. On the one hand, there is Sand's subjective -and sometimes unfair- portrayal of the island as a paradise lost, a place that has remained in some dark and distant past constrained by dogmatic religion, primitive superstitions, deep-rooted traditions, and old-fashioned customs. In short, it is not presented as the utopic and romantic land she expected to find. Instead, the "civilised" traveller finds terrible food, inclement weather and unfriendly locals -or, in Sand's own words, barbarians, thieves, monkeys, and Polynesian savages- that are far from the romantic ideal of the noble savage. On the other hand, an overwhelming majority of critics have defined the book as an autobiographical travel narrative, and, as a consequence, the book's critical interest has been limited to the most personal aspects of the relationship between Sand and 

Helena Sánchez Gayoso



 -which stems from the first- is the validity of this new liminal approach when applied to a book that has been sold as a souvenir item since its publication. But, although there is a research gap, Luis Ripoll, editor and translator of the second edition starts his introduction explicitly talking about

las páginas liminales del presente libro [...] por la misma naturaleza de la obra, por su carácter descriptivo más que narrativo, por lo deslavazado en algunos capítulos e incluso por su ordenación, así como por la subjetividad que unas veces lleva a su autora [...] a verter conceptos que con los tiempos han merecido distinta y aun antagónica calificación. (1979, 7)

According to Ripoll's statement, the liminal nature of Sand's account is revealed almost in every aspect that constructs the narrative. Since this multi-layered engagement with liminality could be in itself the germ of an entire thesis, my main concern today is to analyse how A Winter in Majorca travels between three intertwined levels of liminality: in between Romanticism and a Post-Romantic scepticism, in between memoir and historical discourse, and lastly, in between 

Helena Sánchez Gayoso


the recreation of painting and the memoir, or, in other words, between the written and the pictorial. 

The first level serves us to contextualise both the writer and the historical moment of upheaval in which she wrote the book. Firstly, A Winter in Majorca reflects Sand's personal moment of transition as a political writer. In his 1956 preface to the text, Robert Graves offered a premature glimpse to the possibility of defining A Winter in Majorca as a liminal text, since it was born as a product of "a personal clash between the pre/Revolutionary Classical world (making reference to the French Revolution) and the world of post/Revolutionary Romanticism" (xi). Although her works include political literature, novels, short stories, plays, travel literature, and autobiographical writings, A Winter in Majorca is a rare specimen in comparison to the rest of her works, since it could have been conceived as a mirror in which she reflects her liminal stage in between two worlds: one defined by French 18th century salons and landscaped gardens, the other by untamed nature, 

that captures a Post-Romantic scepticism influenced by some intimation with the decadence of the Romantics. And this is crucial in order to understand the liminal nature of the book. It is not farfetched to argue, then, that A Winter in Majorca could have become her shield and her disguise in order to give voice to political, moral and philosophical concerns that she could not have openly expressed through the limits imposed by the rigid and contained nature of literary genres. In fact, when she wrote A Winter in Majorca she seemed to predict the attitude of indifference that the critical community and the general public would adopt towards her journey to an unknown island. At the beginning of the book she asks: "who would read it through the end?" (AWiM, 18). Sand's actual journey to Majorca, then, becomes the perfect literary metaphor for her personal artistic metamorphoses. Her definition of traveling reinforces this thesis, in the sense that a journey is "an escape from the shadow in which the society of our fellow men seems to obscure our ideas, whether sweet or painful" (AWiM, 54).

medieval terrors and undogmatic Christianity. After all, the apparent "contradictions" that define Sand's literary landscape reflect her ambivalent, contradictory, eccentric, or, in other words, liminal personality during the 1830s and 1840s. When she wrote A Winter in Majorca, Sand's personae and reputation in France was at the centre of scandal, precisely because she refused to be identified with any political or literary flag, and that explains why she is known as the uncrowned queen of Romanticism. She was a revolutionary Marquise who had supported the French Revolution and the roots of the subsequent Revolution of 1848, but who, after Napoleon III's coup d'état, withdrew from politics and left behind a romantic idealisation of a social, political, historical and literary landscape in favour of a more conservative attitude towards life. Inevitably, this personal transition also involved a change in literary preferences. 

In this regard, rather than being a travel narrative, A Winter in Majorca could be generically and historically classified as a book 

Helena Sánchez Gayoso


upon the most emblematic buildings of the capital city Palma. Lastly, the third and most famous section of the book corresponds to her stay in the Carthusian Monastery of Valldemossa. Sand begins her narrative "by declaring its unquestionable superiority to all those that have preceded it" (AWiM, 31), since she claims to be writing "a concise description of the largest Balearic islands" in "the rough form of a note in a geographical dictionary" (AWiM, 29). But nothing could
be further from the truth. The narrative's main reference is Souvenirs d'un Voyage d'Art a L'Île de Majorque by the French
artist J.B. Laurens, who in 1839 (some months after Sand) had
travelled to Majorca to capture the romantic sensibility of the island's picturesque landscape. And note the irony considering M. Laurens' title: Sand's narration of her journey becomes the perfect textual companion of Lauren's voyage d'Art. This album of paintings contains 55 artistic engravings with a brief explanation, as well as his travel account to Majorca, that surprisingly follows that of Sand. Sand copied the same structure, 

Going further, her fictional journey to the Majorcan past, best defined by the disillusionment and frustration with the Romanic dream, becomes the most accurate representation of a liminal space that also serves to frame France's social and historical moment of transition from a Romantic inspiration for Utopia that came to define the French literary scenario during the Revolution of 1848, towards what Chateaubriand came to define as Mal du siècle, best defined by the disillusionment and melancholy that the Napoleonic Code institutionalised.

Helena Sánchez Gayoso


Secondly, and most importantly for the present analysis, A Winter in Majorca navigates between the recreation of painting and the memoir, or, in other words, between the written and the pictorial. At a structural level, the book is divided into three different parts. In the first part, Sand reflects on the most general aspects of the island, among them geography, economy, politics, customs and clothes. The second part, centres 

fiction built from M. Laurens' paintings or images together with Sand's memories evoked from these same images. As such, neither her own experiences, nor the so-called encyclopaedic descriptions of the island, can possibly be taken as real, since they have been influenced by the selective nature of time, that fosters the creation of distorted memories and experiences. According to this thesis, then, A Winter in Majorca could be defined as a combination of bad memories changed by time and   intertextuality. In fact, the book is the product of two recreations -one painted (J.B. Laurens), the other written and subjective (Sand's A Winter in Majorca). The artistic representation of Majorca is what we could call assisted imagination, in that the definition of imagination is "the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality". To continue with the same metaphor, Majorca becomes the product of "a creation of the mind; especially: an idealized or poetic creation". (Merriam-Webster's dictionary, 2018).

but instead of engravings, the reader finds stories - sometimes factual, sometimes fictional- related to the buildings. The author sent the book to Sand when she was already in France without having the intention of writing on her terrible stay in Majorca. The collection of engravings not only refreshed Sand's memories of her travels, but it also encouraged her to write her experience in A Winter in Majorca. As she explains: 

It has been a real joy for me to rediscover Majorca in its pages. [...] I  recognized all the places in their poetic colors and recalled my own impressions which I thought I had forgotten. [They] bring back a world of memories, as they say nowadays, and I felt I wanted, if not to describe my own journey, at least to comment on M. Laurens' (AWiM, 27)

She continues by adding:

I will now begin my account on earnest. I thought I had nothing to do but to follow M. Laurens step by step through his artistic journey and now I realize that many thoughts will come to me as I retrace the rough paths of Majorca in my memory (AWiM, 50)

Throughout the book, then, Majorca is portrayed as a 

Helena Sánchez Gayoso


ruins. In his engraving, Laurens does not reconstruct the original monastery pictorially. He paints the ruins he sees. Sand, instead of describing the desolated scene, or, the image, using the encyclopaedic tone she had adopted when describing other buildings, recreates the monastery by fictionalising or narrating its history through a philosophical debate about the legitimacy of destroying religious buildings/images between a monk and an artist. This philosophical argument is framed in the ecclesiastical confiscations of Mendizábal and the subsequent destruction of religious buildings, when, in Sand's words men "[invaded] the places and the monasteries [and] [climbed] on the altars and [occupied] the marvels of the world" (AWiM, 136). This historical moment does not escape Sand's personal religious clash. Although she had broken with the Catholic Church and its dogmatic restrictions and superstitions, she still believed in an omnipotent God. Moreover, according to Sand, "to get a real idea of [a country's] history it is essential to know its spiritual life" (AWiM, 124). 

Helena Sánchez Gayoso

The wider application of the liminal between the written and the pictorial is best appreciated in Chapter IV, entitled "The Monastery of the  Inquisition". It represents one of the most interesting anomalies of the book, where she blends Laurens' paintings and her own narrative in order to recreate the Monastery's historical past and revive the collective memory that the building represented. In this regard, liminality can also be analysed at a deeper level: in between memoir and historical discourse. 


Monastery of Santo Domingo (disappeared) by J.B. Laurens. It is the Monastery of the Inquisition that Sand mentions.

Following Mr. Laurens' artistic journey, Sand remembers her visit to the Monastery of the Inquisition. It should be noted that when both Laurens  and Sand visited the monastery, it had been reduced to

in the sense that it also sheds light on historical representation, for artists "attempt in [their] pictures [...] to revive the old traditions and renew the spirit of mysticism which gives birth to art" (AWiM, 130).

Helena Sánchez Gayoso

At the core of the debate between the monk and the artist, who are embodiments of the past and present respectively, Sand poses the question if art should be governed by the principle of aesthetic beauty -art for art's sake- or if political or historical causes should define the nature of artistic representation. As a matter of fact, the artist stands for the power of images/paintings, while the monk represents the story/narration/text of an historical experience. While the young, idealistic and Romantic artist, who commits to the idea that art and beauty should shape all aspects of human life, finds beauty in those ruins, the monk, who has suffered the evils of the Inquisition, completely disagrees with this idea. But after their visit to the cells of the Inquisition and the crypt, which suggests a journey to a recent historical past, the artist suffers a moment of revelation: "no sooner had his lively and impressionable imagination tried to paint this picture, than he was filled with anxiety and terror" (AWiM, 141). This moment of artistic awakening is quite revealing,


Claustre de Sant Francesc
by J.B. Laurens. It inspired her to write the conversation between the monk and the artist.

In concordance to the conception of a building -especially a religious building- as a powerful visual representation of an historical discourse, Sand defines history and also collective memory as a liminal entity that lies in between the visual arts and the written historical discourse. In this context, if buildings/images are destroyed (as the example of the Monastery of the Inquisition illustrates) a nation loses part of her collective memory, or, in other words, part of her visual narrative. She explains:

of transition, or liminality, between Romanticism and the Post-Romantic scepticism. After the failure of her enterprise to the deep waters of a past she fictionalises in Majorca, she reached the conclusion that Romantic idealism had to be tempered by a historical, political, cultural and religious awareness. It is through the dynamics between the written and the pictorial, as well as between memoir and historical discourse, that she best captures the spirit of a personal and historical moment of transition.

Sand, George. (1953). A Winter in Majorca. Palma: Clumba.  

Sand, George. (1956). Un Hiver à Majorque. Translated and annotated by Robert Graves. Majorca: Edition Majorca. 

Sand, George. (1979). Preface to Un Invierno en Mallorca, by Luis Ripoll, Majorca: Editorial Clumba, 2-23.   

Berger, John. (1972). Ways of Seeing. London: Penguin Books.

Laurens, J. B. (1039). Souvenirs d'un Voyage d'Art a L'Île de Majorque. Paris: Arthus Bertrand & Gihaut Frères.

Merriam Webster Dictionary. "Imagination".    https://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/imagination.  (Accessed: 11/11/2018) 

Helena Sánchez Gayoso

I am not among those who say that the cult of beauty is useless, and that historic buildings should be destroyed to make way for factories; but a monastery of the Inquisition torn down by the hand of the people is also a great page in history, as instructive and as moving as a Roman aqueduct or an amphitheatre.

In this regard, the fictional artist's new understanding of the relationship between the pictorial (his own painting) and the written word (the monk's narrative/text about the historical past of the Inquisition) illustrates John Berger's idea that

[h]istory always constitutes the relation between a present and its past [...] Consequently, fear of the present lead to mystification of the past. The past is not for living in; it is a well of conclusions from which we draw in order to act. [...] When we 'see' a landscape, we situate ourselves in it. If we 'saw' the art of the past, we would situate ourselves in history. When we are prevented from seeing it, we are being deprived of the history which belongs to us. (1972, 11) 

It could be concluded then, that this is exactly what Sand does in A Winter in Majorca. She situates herself in the landscape of the past to capture a moment 


- "An Introduction to Mariano Zaro" by Begoña     Aguado
- MOSTRA OUT! JOVE by Teresa Gispert




I met Mariano Zaro while living in Los Angeles. I had been living there for a couple of years and all of a sudden everyone I knew started talking about a Mariano Zaro. He collected so many positive attributes that I decided he was a mythical creature impossible to exist. Eventually, I met him. I can't remember how, and Mariano became something way beyond that mythological figure; he became a friend. We hit it off straight away, my only explanation has to do with Mariano's character, so open and amicable and the fact that we share certain Aragón colloquialisms: Mariano was born in Borja and my mother in Zaragoza. It was surprising and comforting for both of us to be able to use all those familiar words so far away from home.

Mariano Zaro is the author of six books of poetry, most recently Decoding Sparrows (2019. What Books, Los Angeles, CA.) and Padre Tierra (2019. Olifante, Zaragoza, Spain.). His poems have been included in several anthologies and magazines in Spain, Mexico and the United States.  

Also a translator and a short story writer, he is the winner of the 2004 Roanoke Review Short Fiction Prize and the 2018 Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Short Fiction Prize.  

Since 2010, he has been hosting a series of video-interviews with prominent American poets as part of the literary project Poetry.LA.
More information here: https://www.poetry.la/POET_INTERVIEWS.html    

Mariano Zaro is a professor of Spanish at Rio Hondo Community College (Whittier, California).  


by Begoña Aguado


In my opinion, Mariano Zaro has many qualities to be an excellent writer. The first one is that he listens intently. When he is with you it seems that he is only interested in absorbing you; first in what you have to say, then in how you say it, and mostly in how you react to your own stories. 

Mariano Zaro

That is why he can tell, and convey, so well all those stories about people he has met from childhood to up right now.  Another quality is that he reads and edits carefully. He has been a teacher for a long time and he has read endless essays, stories, and poems from his students. Mariano believes that we all have a story to tell and he reads us with the same attention and love he would apply to any famous well-known published writer. He would push us forward and ask us to pay attention to those points we didn't make clear, or to the line that should be removed, and he will do all this with the uttermost care and love because he knows how hard it is to write. Another quality of Mariano as a writer is also a personal one. We have all read about distant writers, writers who live in ivory towers, Mariano is the opposite of that. I had the honor to help him present his first book in his hometown, Borja. We were constantly stopped in the street by people who knew him from his childhood. Those people were proud of Mariano's accomplishments, but what I 

also saw is that regardless of how far Mariano had traveled, how much he had achieved, he was still the Mariano who had grown up in Borja, humble, close, loving, and friendly. He can charge the most familiar object with the most intimate quality. I dare you to look with the same eyes at a simple thermostat after you read "Thermostat". This is why we can all read him and identify with what he is writing: his words resonate within us. This intimate closeness is the amazing personal quality of Mariano's writing.

I hope you enjoy Mariano's interview and feel encouraged to explore his books, video interviews with poets, and web page. Mariano has become a recognized Californian poet: I'm proud to introduce you to Mariano Zaro.

BA. Even though, I have known you for a long time, I don´t remember ever asking you why you moved to the United States.

MZ. I always wanted to live in another country. Not because I was unhappy in Spain (where I was born), or because I was 



Mariano Zaro

running away from some kind of dark past. I just wanted the adventure, the possibility. Since childhood, the image of grabbing a suitcase and moving to another country was very appealing to me.

When I was working in Madrid as a high school teacher in the late 80´s, I applied for a job in London, but I didn't get it. Then I learned about this "Programa de Profesores Visitantes" in California. I applied, they accepted me, and I came to Los Angeles in the summer of 1991.

BA. I know you lived in England for some time, but how was your English?

MZ. I never lived in London, really. I spent a summer there (I was in my twenties) and then I went back for my Christmas and Easter breaks. My English was non-existent then. I was speaking French with my British friends the first time I went to London. It was comical, and definitely, not practical. 

BA. I´m asking you because, I never formally studied English and I remember 

distinctly the moment when I found myself thinking in English. Can you remember a similar experience?

MZ. I think I learned English on the streets of London, going to the theater, talking with my friends there. I studied French in Elementary School, High School, then at the University of Zaragoza. It was a very organized process, academic. I learned English as an adult. I speak like a foreigner.

BA. I remember you once told me that your poems are in your head for quite some time before you sit down to write them; that you think about your poems so much that you almost don´t need to edit them once you write them. Your first books were side by side bilingual English and Spanish (Where From/Desde Donde and Poems of Erosion/Poemas de la Erosión), then you moved to English with some Spanish (The House of Mae Rim and Three Letters), now you write either in Spanish (Padre Tierra) or in English (Decoding Sparrows). Is this an evolution of how you "think" about your poems before you write them?

Mariano Zaro

MZ. Let's start with my poems being in my head for a long time. Yes, that's totally true. Sometimes they are simmering for years. But the editing process is intense, and in most cases, long. Once in a while a poem "comes to me" and may need just a couple of revisions, but this is very, very infrequent.

Regarding my use of language (Spanish or English) in my poems. Well, each book is a different story. My first book Where From/Desde Donde was born in English. It was the final portfolio of a creative writing class I took at UCLA Extension with beat poet Philomene Long. When I decided to publish the book, I wrote the Spanish version of the manuscript and the book was published in a bilingual format. 

This translation, this back and forth between languages, was very illuminating to me. I realized that it was a great tool to polish the poems, to discover what was unnecessary. So, I adopted this method in my next two books Poems of Erosion/Poemas de la Erosión and The House of Mae Rim/La casa de Mae Rim

These two books were conceived as "bilingual creatures" from the beginning. I wrote each poem moving from English to Spanish, from Spanish to English. The next book Tres letras/Three Letters was written in Spanish. The English version is by the poet Alicia Vogl Sáenz. Bilingual editions give the reader the opportunity to check both versions of the poem, like a dance. Almost as if the reader could create a third version of the poem; a version "in between", like an interlanguage.  Recently I have published two "monolingual" books Padre Tierra in Spanish and Decoding Sparrows in English. Because it is not my first language, writing in English gives me a certain distance with the text (like a buffering zone). I feel more daring in English, less exposed.

BA. You presented your Doctoral Thesis while living in California. You studied the changes of lexicon and syntax of Latino bilingual students. I remember talking to you while you were preparing your thesis because I was somehow worried that my language was "deviating from the norm" the longer I lived in the 


Mariano Zaro

United States. How do you feel about that? 

MZ. My Doctoral Thesis is, you are right, about language contact and language transference. I followed the newspaper La Opinión in Los Angeles for four years and I collected cases of language transference from English into Spanish. The theoretical frame for my research was taken from Australian linguist Michael Clyne.

The word "deviating" implies a certain judgment, don´t you think? My approach was not normative, it was descriptive. To me, the core concept is flexibility, and freedom. Speakers should have options, different ways to express themselves in different contexts, with different intentions, with different people. That flexibility brings expansion to the language, ultimately, to the way we communicate. These are the last two sentences of my thesis: "Nuestro deseo es entender y conocer la lengua. Espero que ese conocimiento nos haga más libres."

BA. You have become a well-known poet in Los Angeles: you 

read your poems in different venues, participate in round tables and have been invited to The Los Angeles Times Book Fair at U.C.L.A. and international conferences. I know you work hard, and, in my opinion, your poems are good, but can you explain your success in any other way?

MZ.Related to my career as a poet, I would use the word "success" with great caution. The only success that really counts is to find joy and excitement and a certain degree of danger in what you do. Writing is difficult for me. It is not "relaxing". You are right, there is a lot of work involved, but it is the kind of work that "I cannot help", that follows me. It is also (in some occasions) fulfilling.

BA. You taught Spanish in an inner-city High School in the area of Los Angeles. How was your experience? How does it compare to your experience of teaching in "Institutos" in Spain?


"The only success that really counts is to find joy and excitement and a certain degree of danger in what you do."

Mariano Zaro

MZ. I started my teaching career as a high school teacher in Spain (first in Santander, then in Madrid and Teruel). I tried to teach in a high school when I moved to Los Angeles, but it was just too difficult for me. The teaching tools that worked in the "Institutos" in Spain did not work here. Some of my colleagues (teachers that came from high schools in Spain) were able to make that transition successfully. I was not. Fortunately, I was able to work in different elementary schools in the Los Angeles area as part of the California Bilingual Program. I had no experience as an elementary school teacher, but I found that my teaching tools (useless in high school) were useful to serve the needs of the elementary school students.

BA. Finally, I want to ask you about your work teaching at Rio Hondo College in Southern California. I believe you have mainly Latino students who are either learning Spanish or have a certain level of the language. You have also given lectures and master classes on writing and I have always been impressed at how well you manage to 

encourage your students; how do you inspire your students to write? 

MZ. I started teaching at Rio Hondo College Community College in 2005. I believe that over 90% of the student population is of Hispanic heritage. We provide Spanish classes for what we could call full beginners, but we also have a solid program of Spanish for Spanish speakers. I also facilitate the Creative Writing Club of the school. Each student (each individual, really) has a unique story, something that if not said will forever stay in the dark. I think this is the main message in a writing class: we want to read who you are. The class should be a safe space for the writer to open up. There is technique, of course, and the study of genres and all that. But trust is at the core of a writing class, actually, at the core of the teaching/learning experience.

Thank you, Mariano Zaro, for sharing your experience as a writer and educator and for allowing "APABAL Magazine" to publish some of your poems.


Mariano Zaro  


My father and I on the balcony

watch dozens of sparrows walking
on the roofs across from us.
A sparrow doesn't really know how to make a nest, he says.
They are messy. Now, a stork, that's different.
A stork makes a perfect nest.  

My father looks at the clouds.
Can you tell a male from a female sparrow? he asks.  

No, I can't, I say.
What do they teach you in school, son? he says.
Look, male sparrows have a dark stain on the chest,
like a bib or an apron. Females don't.  

And I look,
and there they are:
chests with aprons, chests without aprons.
Everything in order.
Clean or dirty,
black or white,
male or female.  

I cross my arms against my chest.
My father does not look at me.
And then he says,
But we are not sparrows, you know.


Mariano Zaro

that thing that looks so good in                 the movies.

She is Neighbor #1 in a play by Lorca,
the pregnant neighbor.
She refuses to wear the small,
round pillow under her dress.
I think the director has given up on         that.           

She also has a short monologue,
and at the end,
you can hear the effort
of her breathing, when she inhales,
you can see the veins on her neck,
the pasty white saliva, 
the thick hairs on her arms
against the light, 
the ribs through the fabric.
She has no breasts.  

When she is finished
she puts on her coat,
tightens the belt
around her waist,
looks inside her purse,
lies down on an old couch,
and falls asleep.  

I wake her up
when the rehearsal is over-
her arm on her face,
at an angle,
the plastic spoon
on the floor
covered with teeth marks.

María Elena eats a yogurt a day,
low fat, not at once. And little more.
Some baby carrots, perhaps,
a rice cake.
Eating makes me dirty. 
But people don't know
that I am always hungry.
This is what she told me once,
between rehearsals.  

We are in the same theater class.
We rehearse in the evenings
and all day Saturdays
in a warehouse
that used to be a furniture store.  

She comes late, María Elena.
She still has one third of the yogurt,
intact, in the container.
She closes the lid with Scotch tape
so she can carry the yogurt in her           purse.
She also carries a white plastic spoon
and her baby carrots.
Because of all the carrots she eats
the skin of her hands is turning               orange,
pale orange, not the whole skin,
that line where the palm becomes
the back of your hand,
that perimeter.  

Sometimes María Elena sucks the           empty spoon,
when she is distracted, looking away. She has sunken cheeks,


Mariano Zaro 

     covered with fresh snow. 
We cannot go outside, Mother,                  in this weather. I tell her. 
At least open the window. I cannot            breathe, she says.

Plaques are deposits of a protein              fragment called
beta-amyloid that build up in the              spaces between nerve cells.
Tangles are twisted fibers of another        protein called tau
that build up inside cells.  

Take your children to the park. Play          with them, she tells me.
Snow is wasted when you don't have        children.  

Open the window, my mother says. I        want to feel the cold.
I don't think we can do that. You may      get sick, I say.  

Who cares if I die today or tomorrow?      Open the window, she says.
Just for fifteen seconds, I say. Hope          they don't see us.

I take the bed's comforter and                  swaddle my mother,
wheelchair and all, like a cocoon.             Fifteen seconds, I say.
I open the window. The cool air enters       the room,
like a giant, like an ice river. Fifteen          seconds, I say.
And we count together, whispering,          and I close the window.


Turn down the thermostat, it's so hot        here, 
my mother says
She is sitting in a wheelchair near the      window.   
The thermostat is a white plastic box        on the wall. 
It has a small digital screen, two                buttons the shape 
of a triangle- plus and minus, a dial        with tiny indentations,
and the on-off switch. It doesn't work. 
The nursing home has central                  heating, 
but you cannot control it from the              bedrooms.   

Are you my son or my grandson? How      old are you? 
Are you my son, the one that lives far      away, 
in that faraway country? 
Why don't you want to have                        children? 
she asks me.
It has been snowing all morning. Just      stopped. 
Look at the snow, 
she says, so                 clean.   

I am reading a brochure the doctor          left earlier. 
Brain cells lose their ability to                    communicate with one another. 
Two abnormal structures called                plaques and tangles 
are prime suspects in damaging and        killing nerve cells.   

Let's go outside,
my mother says. 


by Teresa Gispert



TG. When and how did Mostra Out for young people (Out! Jove) emerge?

JF./LE. Out! Jove emerged from the organization of the Mostra Out! to bring LGTBI cinema closer to high school students in Palma. Other LGTBI festivals in the rest of the country organize this type of sessions. In autumn 2019 we presented this idea to the Area of ​​

We spoke with Jaume Fiol and Laura Esteva, director and coordinator of the Mostra Out!, and with Sheyla Núñez, education technician for Ben Amics (LGTBI association in the Balearic Islands). They told us about their experience in the organization of the first Out! Jove (LGTBI cinema for young people).

Social Justice, Feminism and LGTBI of the Palma City Council and they immediately wanted to participate.

TG. What kind of full-length films and short films are shown in Out! Jove?

JF./LE. We decided to screen a 60-minute session of 7 short films. This allows attendees 


Mostra Out! Jove

to see different realities and stories in a short time. In addition, by having a brief duration it makes it easier for young people (between 14 and 18 years old) to watch LGTBI cinema for the first time. Obviously, we also want to highlight the importance of revitalizing this session with different techniques in order to stimulate debate.

TG. How is the material selected?

JF./LE. The selection of these short films was proposed by the organizers of FIRE!! Barcelona Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, who have been launching this type of screenings for many years. They were in charge of providing us with short films suitable for the ages of this audience (from 14 to 18 years old) and in which the entire LGTBI collective was represented.

TG. What role does Ben Amics play in Out! Jove?

SN. Our role in this project was to work on the issues addressed in each film. We designed a didactic proposal to get the discussion started after viewing the films. 

By having a person acting as a facilitator who raised questions, these high school students felt encouraged to participate, they gave their opinions and even shared personal experiences that enriched their fellow students.

What is the response of the young people?

SN. In all countries, this subject has arisen great interest among young people, which shows the need to see this kind of experiences on the big screen. Everybody approached these issues with respect at all times, although we noticed the need and urgency to continue to train and raise awareness on issues concerning gender and sexual diversity.  

TG. How many young people have taken part in this first edition 2019?

JF./LE. The first edition of Out! Jove gathered 700 young people 


"It is a tool to put stories in the forefront that are often invisible from the social imaginary "                                         Sheila Núñez

Mostra Out! Jove

from 4 high schools in Palma and it took place in Es Baluard on December 17, 18 and 19, 2019. 

How many young people have taken part in this first edition 2019?

The first edition of Out! Jove gathered 700 young people from 4 high schools in Palma and it took place in Es Baluard
on December 17, 18 and 19, 2019.

TG. Why is this type of event necessary?

As I said before, this type of event contributes to raising awareness regarding gender and sexual diversity. It is a tool to put 

stories in the forefront that are often invisible from the social imaginary. And, of course, it contributes to providing references, something extremely necessary and important for children and young people. 



and for the selection of the short films. 

So, the idea is to repeat it in 2021, as things are rather complicated now for a 2020 edition.  


High school students at Es Baluard during Mostra Out! Jove 

TG. Will there be Out! Jove in 2021?

JF./LE. We feel that Out! Jove was highly appreciated. Teachers and students congratulated us both for the initiative and 


The changing face of languages: 
-"Spanglish: A Tool of Empowerment or Una Trampa". Isabel Moreno-López


Isabel Moreno-López

Isabel Moreno-López is the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies at Goucher College, Baltimore, Maryland. She came to the US in 1995 and completed a Master's degree in Intercultural Communications and a Doctoral degree in Language Literacy and Culture at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). Before becoming the Associate Provost in June 2018, she was a Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies and taught a broad range of courses, from Queer Studies, Critical Pedagogy, Translation and Interpreting, to critical approaches to language and literature.

 Moreno-López´ articles on critical pedagogy and transcultural encounters illustrate the idea that to teach Spanish in the U.S. is a political act necessary to achieve social justice. 

Dr. Moreno-López presented this inaugural plenary session at the International Association for Languages and Intercultural Communications XIX International Conference at the University of Valencia, Spain, in November 2019.




Spanglish represents for some the most important contemporary linguistic phenomenon the US has experienced.  Others describe it as ´a trampa´ that Latinxs face in their journey to assimilation. Yet others, describe it as a metaphor for the mixed-raced cultures that coexist under what is known as the Latinx population. Using Spanish in an English text can be viewed as a political act of resistance or as an attempt to give the text an exotic touch, further "othering" the cultures it portrays. Spanglish provokes emotional reactions among Spanish speakers and its different definitions stem from issues of power, identity and hegemony.  


I have a love-hate relationship with Spanglish. I am a scholar who on the one hand feels that my mother tongue is slipping away every year that I spend en el otro lado, as Reyna Grande puts it in The Distance Between Us, and at the same time, I feel the inclusion of English in my speech as a rich outcome of my contributions in the United States (US), as part of my identity, what helps me still remain Spanish, even if I also own a US passport. Living in a Spanish/Mexican household in the US, I have moved from gently correcting my boys when I hear them say "Open tus ojos" to marveling at their linguistic creativity when I hear 

Isabel Moreno-López

representative of different Spanish spoken forms in today´s world, and Spanglish, as we will see further on, is one of them.

After Mexico, Colombia, Spain and Argentina, the US is the fifth largest Spanish speaking country in the world. More people speak Spanish in the US than in Venezuela, Peru, Chile, or Guatemala (Ardila, 2005, p. 5). In 2019, 18% of the US population was Hispanic, according to the US Census Bureau. However, this doesn´t necessarily mean that Spanish is maintained as the intra or extra familiar language among this population. The degree of mastery of Spanish varies greatly among its speakers, ranging from those who identify as native Spanish speakers to those who are defined as heritage speakers. Heritage speakers have been raised speaking a language different from the language spoken by the majority in the country where they live.

Even though the use of Spanish has continued spreading in the US, it is neither regarded as a need nor represents a source of prestige (Siguan, 2001). This 

them conjugate the ustedes form following the vosotros pronoun, and then add their favorite English noun: ¿vosotros quieren some candy?

Being a Spanish citizen, born and bred in Spain, I am often asked if I speak and teach the ´correct Spanish.` My position has always been that there is no such thing as an ´incorrect Spanish´ outside of the grammatical mistakes that second language learners, or even native speakers make, when speaking the language. What I mean is that the Spanish spoken in any Spanish speaking country is ´correct Spanish,´ including the Spanish that is spoken in the US. The reality is that both English and Spanish take a variety of forms around the world, and they are all correct ways of speaking in their lands of origin.  Anna Maria d'Amore (2009), a Mexican scholar and translator, believes that "[i]n spite of this diversity, a basic unity holds together varieties of Spanish and unites varieties of English: there is one 'literary' language and there are multiple spoken forms" (p. 39). In my opinion, there is more than one 'literary´ language 


Isabel Moreno-López

First, as a linguistic phenomenon, it is overwhelmingly studied by Spanish-speaking scholars and hardly ever by English-speaking linguists; Second, Hispanics/Latinx only use English and never Spanglish to talk with English speakers; Third, Spanglish has been related to and often associated with low-educated people; and finally, it is regarded as a deformed and corrupted Spanish (Ardila, 2005, p. 65).

Many Chicano scholars attribute the origins of Spanglish to Pocho, in the 1940s, and Caló, in the 1960s. Pocho, used in Mexican and Chicano Spanish, described an Anglicized variety of Spanish and its Mexican-American speaker (D' Amore, 2009, p. 79). Caló, characterized by a specific lexicon and use of code-switching, resulted from the language contact situation in the US southwest.  "Chicano caló became much more visible in the wake of Black Power and other movements of self-affirmation, as it became the language of the Chicano Movement" (Galindo, 1999, p. 180). In 1965, the so-called Renaissance of Chicano

might be due to the fact that bilingualism is not seen as an advantage by the Hispanic/Latinx community. Probably, as a consequence, oral transmission of the language loses ground at an alarming speed between the first and third generation of immigrants, and written expression, which is considered the major guarantee of the long-term survival of a language, eventually disappears by the third generation of Hispanics/Latinx living in the US (Gac-Artigas & Gac-Artigas, 2018).


All over the world, languages are in contact under conditions of bilingualism, multilingualism or diglossia -which is, when two languages are used by the same language community.  Code-switching, code-mixing or borrowing occurs where languages are in contact and is the result of alternating between two languages in a conversation. In contrast to other types of code-switching, Spanglish has been significantly understudied. Several reasons can potentially account for this lack of interest. 


Isabel Moreno-López

Mohr´s criticism of Ana Lydia Vega´s Spanglish has more to do with issues of identity and power than of literary or linguistic quality. Mohr was born in New York to Puerto Rican parents in the 1930s and had to confront discrimination, bullying and prejudice when she spoke Spanish while growing up in the Bronx. She was forced to assimilate to a new culture as a survival mechanism while struggling to maintain her Boricua identity. By contrast, Ana Lydia Vega was born 10 years later in Puerto Rico, studied in San Juan and in France and supported Puerto Rican independence from the US. Despite these differences in background, Ana Lydia Vega´s (1977) work is still purposefully transgressive as illustrated in the following excerpt of her work.

Oh my God, murmuró, sonrojándose como una frozen strawberry al sentir que sus platinum-frosted fingernails buscaban, independientemente de su voluntad, el teléfono. Y con su mejor falsetto de executive secretary y la cabeza girándole como desbocao merry-go-round, dijo: --This is Miss Bermiúdez, room 306. Could you give me the bar, please? --May I help you? Inquirió una virile baritone voz con 

Letters begun to recognize Chicano caló as a sociolinguistic phenomenon found in Mexican American colloquial registers.

There is no consensus among scholars regarding the use of Spanglish. For some, it represents the most important contemporary linguistic phenomenon the US has faced.  For others it´s a "trap, la trampa Hispanics fall into on the road to assimilation-el obstáculo en el camino. Alas, the growing lower class uses it, thus procrastinating the possibility of un futuro mejor, a better future."  (Stavans, 2005, p. 3). There are even scholars who criticize the manner in which their colleagues use it. For instance, Mohr (1989) condemns Ana Lydia Vega´s use of Spanglish in Pollito Chicken:

The use of what the author considered to be a cross between Spanish and English, which is referred to as Spanglish, was incorrect and ludicrous. No one here speaks that way. The storyline was quite silly and the story rather far-fetched and stupid, much like a cartoon. This writer had very little knowledge of who we are here and, I suspect, holds quite a bit of disdain and contempt for our community (pp. 114-115).


Isabel Moreno-López  

metaphor for the mixed-raced cultures that coexist under what is known as the Hispanic/Latinx population. He defines it as,

a hybrid language, an informal code [...] Spanglish is what we speak, but it is also who we Latinos are, and how we act, and how we perceive the world. It's also a way to avoid the sectarian nature of other labels that describe our condition, terms like Nuyorican, Chicano, Cuban American, Dominicanyork [...] Spanglish is the state of perpetual, chameleon like flux [...] Spanglish is about not having to identify with either black or white, while at the same time having the capacity to 'be' both. We can even be both Hispanic and Latino (p. 3).

Hence, Spanglish has been seen an Anglicized Spanish dialect, a lingua franca, an interlanguage, a Creole language, as street slang or simply a variety of code-switching.

In this study, I make a difference between what can be defined as a bilingual text such as Coser y Cantar by Dolores Prida (1989) and texts written in Spanglish, as identified by their authors. Though there might be some instances of code-switching in Coser y Cantar, for example, "Send an angel, una paloma, a 

acento digno de Comisionado Residente en Washington. Esa misma noche, el bartender confesó a sus buddies hangueadores de lobby que: La tipa del 306 no se sabe si es gringa o pueltorra, bródel. Pide room service en inglés legal pero, cuando la pongo a gozal, abre la boca a grital en boricua. --Y ¿qué dice? Respondió cual coro de salsa su fan club de ávidos aspirantes a tumbagringas. Entonces el admirado mamitólogo narró cómo, en el preciso instante en que las platinum-frosted fingernails se incrustaban passionately en su afro, desde los skyscrapers inalcanzables de un intra-uterine orgasm, los half-opened lips de Suzie Bermiúdez producían el sonoro mugido ancestral de: --¡VIVA PUELTO RICO LIBREEEEEEEEEEEE! (p. 80)

As Aguiló Mora (2018) argues, the artificial and static Spanglish used in Pollito Chicken is not intended to ridicule the assimilation of Nuyoricans to US culture, but rather the artificial and forced connection of these two cultures and languages, a product of US imperialism. The previous excerpt illustrates this impossible Spanglish and highlights the complexity of national and gender imaginaries of diasporic female characters (p. 11). Scholars, such as Ed Morales (2003), describe Spanglish as a 


Isabel Moreno-López

whether it is a legitimate language. Following D'Amore's (2009) premise, I view Spanglish in a continuum, illustrating the range of code-switching possibilities between Spanish and English. On one extreme end of the continuum we would have a text mostly written in Spanish including some English words and, at the other extreme, a text primarily in English with some Spanish words. In the middle, we could find a wide variety of texts, from mostly Spanish, to half Spanish, half English, to mostly English.

Spanglish: A literary tool

Sankoff and Poplack conducted the first well-known linguistic study with Spanglish speakers in the 1980s and, as a result, concluded that Spanglish was a rule-governed system.  To back up their findings, they identified the Free Morpheme Constraint and the Equivalence Constraint. The Free Morpheme Constraint "states that a switch may [...] take place at any point within a particular discourse at which it is possible to make a surface constituent cut and still maintain a free morpheme [...] [T]he 

flash of green light to give me the go ahead!" (p. 187), it is not a play written in Spanglish, but rather a text that presents both English and Spanish as a reflection of the hybrid identity of immigrants who live in the intersection of languages, world views, and emotional intelligences:

She:   (Distracted.) What shall I do
           today? There´s so much to do.
Ella:   (Con la boca llena.) Sí, mucho.
           El problema siempre es, por 
           dónde empezar.
She:    I should go out and jog a 
           couple of miles.
Ella:    (Taking a bite of food.) Sí, 
           debía salir a correr.
           Es bueno para la figura.
           (Takes another bite.)
           Y el corazón. (Another bite.)
           Y la circulación. (Another bite.)
           A correr se ha dicho. A correr
           se ha dicho. (p. 182)

She and Ella are two sides of the same woman, in a never-ending struggle to continue to exist and not disappear due to the other part of one´s self taking over completely. In this paper, I am more interested in analyzing Spanglish as a linguistic system that stems from issues of power, identity and hegemony than on merely focusing on the debate of 


Isabel Moreno-López  

and Poplack should not be taken as evidence that Spanglish is a ruled-governed system but rather, as a result of two languages that are syntactically similar and that come into contact. For example, in her study, Susan Berk-Seligson (1986) explains that the speech of Spanish and Hebrew bilinguals, "contradicts the current literature of code-switching [which] can be explained by the disparate nature of Spanish and Hebrew syntax" (p. 334).

Moving away from the traditional debate of whether Spanglish is a legitimate ruled-governed linguistic system, I would like to focus more on the strategies and intentions of Spanish scholars when they use Spanglish in their work.

In her study on Code-Switching Strategies by Latino/a Writers, sociolinguistic Lourdes Torres (2007) outlines the strategies used by Latinx authors when they include Spanish words in English texts. She explains that many Latinx writers add a glossary of Spanish words at the end of their works, or they use words that are culturally recognizable by the 

following [is] not grammatical: *Estamos talkando (we are talking)." "Ando" is not a free morpheme, but rather a bound one which means it cannot stand alone and must be attached to another morpheme. Therefore, the code switch cannot occur between "talk" and "ando" because speakers do not mix morphemes in a word (Rothman and Rell, 2005, p. 524).

As for the Equivalence Constraint, it states that "the order of the sentence [...] must be grammatical with respect to both languages involved simultaneously" (Ghirardini, 2006, p. 17). Rothman and Rell (2005) offer these examples of violations of the Equivalence Constraint for the sentence "I gave him/to him the present": *I gave le un regalo; *Le I gave un regalo; *Him/to him di un regalo; *Di him/to him un regalo. However, "I gave him un regalo" is used by speakers because it conforms to the grammar of both languages (p. 524).

It should be noted that in other studies of the 1980s, scholars have argued that the linguistic constraints identified by Sankoff 


Isabel Moreno-López

Santiago (1993) follows the Spanish words with explanations that give the monolingual reader a taste of Puerto Rican culture:

At home we listened to aguinaldos, songs about the birth of Jesus and the joys of spending Christmas surrounded by family and friends. We sang about the Christmas traditions of Puerto Rico, about the parrandas, in which people went from house to house singing, eating, drinking, and celebrating, about pig roasts and ron cañita, homemade rum, which was plentiful during the holidays. (p. 40)

Santiago´s explanation of her use of Spanglish exemplifies the need Spanish speakers feel to justify their choice of using code-switching as an artistic artifact and the result of neither a linguistic barrier nor a deficiency. She says, "I pay a lot of attention to the weight of words. Any word that's in Spanish in my English texts is not there by accident, or because I couldn't figure out how to translate it, but rather because it has a resonance in Spanish that it doesn't have in English" (In Torres, 2007, p. 81). In Nada, Ortiz Cofer writes "tell the Mr. President" (1992, p. 51), not because she does not know that in English, honorific titles 

mainstream monolingual speaker and do not need translating, such as foods: mango, taco, tortilla; places: casa, rancho, playa; and familiar common nouns: mami, hermano, hijo (p. 77). These Spanish words color the text with an ethnic flair, and they do not disrupt the monolingual reader. Torres describes another common strategy that consists of cushioning the Spanish word in the text´s context, like we see in the following example in Mohr´s (1997) writing: "Midday was the time when folks went home, showered, ate an abundant almuerzo and then took a long siesta" (p. 11). The Spanish words appear in italics and are either cushioned as almuerzo that located between "midday" and "eat" allows the monolingual reader to infer its meaning, or are culturally recognizable like siesta. In other texts, such as in Nada by Ortiz Cofer (1992), Spanish phrases are immediately followed by their English translation: "Así es la vida, hijas: That is the way life is" (p. 58). These strategies accommodate the monolingual readers by not requiring them to leave their comfort zone. With a similar intent, in When I was Puerto Rican, Esmeralda 


Isabel Moreno-López  

of any sort. All the previous strategies accommodate the text to render the Other familiar to the monolingual Anglo reader. Torres cites Ashcroft, Griffiths, and Tifflin who identify the problem with the previous strategies as watering down the Latinx identity by favoring the culture of the Anglo reader; "[t]hey argue that not translating foreign words is a political act, because glossing gives the translated word and the receptor language more prestige" (Torres, 2007, p.9). Torres also cites bell hooks who denounces putting foreign words in texts as an attempt to make it more exotic and thus further "othering" the culture for the foreign gaze. In Eating the Other: Desire and Resistance, bell hooks discusses "difference" as further exploiting the Other. Depending on how "difference" is presented it can empower or marginalize the disenfranchised culture. hooks (1992) states, "When race and ethnicity become commodified as resources of pleasure, the cultures of specific groups, as well as the bodies of individuals, can be seen as constituting an alternate playground where members of 

are not preceded by articles, but because this is a cultural wink to the Spanish speaking reader. This artistic license represents a political act, an act of resistance and transgression.

Two more transgressive and also playful strategies used by authors are linguistic calques or literal translations. Calques "are creative English renditions of Spanish words and phrases translated literally or figuratively" (Torres, 2007, p.5). Torres illustrates this with examples of the Spanish imaginary hidden in the English text such as the odd sounding name, "Aunty White-Skin" which the bilingual reader will recognize as "Titi Blanca" in Cisneros's novel Caramelo or "La campanita ganchos," which is a literal translation of the name 'bell hooks' [1], that  Chivez-Silverman  uses for the bilingual reader's entertainment.


[1] bel hooks is the pen name of author Gloria Jean Watkins. She chose not to capitalize her name in order to focus on her work and not her name. (Editor's note)  

Finally, Torres (2007) highlights the subversive potential of using code-switching with no glossaries, translations or cushioning

Isabel Moreno-López

linguistically somos huérfanas--we speak an orphan tongue (p. 80).

Spanglish: An artistic choice with political ramifications

Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzalez, a Chicano activist, wrote I am Joaquin in the 1960s and it has probably become the most famous poem for reclaiming Chicano identity in Chicano literature. Corky wrote it in English and incorporated Spanish words and phrases. In the poem, Corky references his Spanish ancestry (gachupín Cortés), his Mexican mestizaje (El Grito de Dolores "Que mueran los gachupines y que viva la Virgen de Guadalupe) and his Chicano identity dissolving in the US melting pot: 

Yo soy Joaquin.
I am Cuauhtémoc, proud and noble,
leader of men, king of an empire    civilized
beyond the dreams of the gachupín Cortés,
who also is the blood, the image of    myself.  

I was part in blood and spirit of that
courageous village priest
Hidalgo who rang the bell of
and gave out that lasting cry-

dominating races, genders, sexual practices affirm their power-over in intimate relations with the Other" (p. 2).

In Who soy yo? Ana Sánchez Muñoz explains the transfer of one language into another as "a common strategy used by bilinguals to cope with the task of using two different linguistic systems" (441). A type of lexical transfer is the single word borrowing which are words adapted to Spanish phonology. She distinguishes between loans, which transfer both form and meaning (truck - troca) and calques, which only transfer meaning (carpet - carpeta). Gloria Anzaldúa (2012) is an example of someone who uses Spanglish in a subversive manner, rendering it less accessible to the monolingual reader, and in this manner, empowering the bilingual reader by highlighting and holding in high regard their linguistic skills:

Deslenguadas. Somos las del español deficiente. We are your linguistic nightmare, your linguistic aberration, your linguistic mestizaje, the subject of your burla. Because we speak with tongues of fire we are culturally crucified. Racially, culturally, and 


Isabel Moreno-López

To live in the Borderlands means you...
are neither hispana india negra española
ni gabacha, eres mestiza, mulata, half breed
caught in the crossfire between camps
while carrying all five races on your back
not knowing which side to turn to, run from;

To live in the Borderlands means knowing
that the india in you, betrayed for 500 years,
is no longer speaking to you,
that mexicanas call you rajetas,
that denying the Anglo inside you
is as bad as having denied the Indian or Black;

Cuando vives en la frontera
people walk through you, the wind steals your voice,
you're a burra, buey, scapegoat,
forerunner of a new race,
half and half--both woman and man, neither--
a new gender;

In the Borderlands
you are the battleground
where enemies are kin to each other;
you are at home, a stranger,
the border disputes have been settled
the volley of shots have shattered the 
you are wounded, lost in action

El Grito de Dolores
"Que mueran los gachupines
y que viva la Virgen de Guadalupe..."
I sentenced him who was me
I excommunicated him, my blood. [...]
I look at myself
And see part of me
Who rejects my father and my mother
And dissolves into the melting pot
To disappear in shame.
La raza!
Or whatever I call myself,
I look the same
I feel the same
I cry And Sing the same.  

I am the masses of my people
and I refuse to be absorbed.
I am Joaquín.
The odds are great
But my spirit is strong,
My faith unbreakable,
My blood is pure.

I SHALL ENDURE! I WILL ENDURE! (Gonzalez, 1991).

Gloria Anzaldúa´s work also exemplifies the intersectionality of living between two or more languages, races, genders, and cultures.  As we saw previously, she writes on behalf of las deslenguadas, victims of "linguistic terrorism." (216-217):


Isabel Moreno-López

As long as there is a shared US/Mexican border and shared territory in the southwest and the Caribbean there will be ongoing immigration patterns and Spanglish will exist and continue to evolve. As we have discussed today, Spanglish has a rich literary corpus which provides a voice to scholars and authors who live at the intersection of two or more cultures and languages, somewhere in a linguistic and cultural crossroads.  Spanglish´s lack of legitimacy as a language results from a lack of linguistic sovereignty and lack of power held by the Latinx population.

Many analyses of Chicano/a and Nuyorican literature discuss the significance of Spanglish as an artistic choice with political ramifications.  The use of Spanglish in literature is not only metaphorical but it serves to legitimize a stigmatized practice and raises the status of mixing codes to a literary register, empowering the discourse of the disfranchised Hispanic/Latinx bilingual and bicultural population. Borrowing the terminology from studies of translation, "The adoption of a foreignizing approach can be 

dead, fighting back;

To live in the Borderlands means
the mill with the razor white teeth wants to
shred off
your olive red skin,
crush out the kernel, your
pound you pinch you roll you out
smelling like white bread but dead;

To survive the Borderlands
you must live sin fronteras
be a crossroads. (Anzaldúa, 2012).


While some scholars such as Stavans (2003) believe that Spanglish is a "new language," others like Ardila (2005) claim that "Spanglish is not a unified dialect and, because of this lack of uniformity, it is unlikely that it will ever become a language." (p. 6). They argue that every region has its own lexical items that may not be understood by others (Otheguy & Stern, 2011). However, the lack of uniformity has never impeded a language from becoming legitimized. English and Spanish themselves exemplify this, as their local variations and dialects have their own lexical items that are often incomprehensible to each other.


Isabel Moreno-López

America. And besides, all languages are dialects that are made to breakI feel like Dante and Petrarca, and Boccaccio and I even feel like Garcilaso forging a new language. Saludo al nuevo siglo, el siglo del nuevo lenguaje de América y le digo adiós a la retórica separatista y a los atavismos. (142)


Anzaldúa, G. (2012). Borderlands/La frontera: The new mestiza. San Francisco, CA: Aunt Lute Books.   

Ardila, A. (2005). Spanglish: An Anglicized Spanish Dialect. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 27(1), 60-81. https://doi.org/10.1177/0739986304272358
Berk-Seligson, S. (1986). Linguistic constraints on intrasentential code-switching: A study of Spanish/Hebrew bilingualism. Language in society, 15(3), 313-348. 

Braschi, G (1998). Yo-Yo Boing! Pittsburgh, PA: Latin American Literary Review Press.

D'Amore, A. M. (2009). Translating contemporary Mexican texts: Fidelity to alterity. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing.

Gac-Artigas, P. & Gac-Artigas, G. (2018). El futuro del español y la identidad hispana en los Estados Unidos. Enlace director a Tribuna Abierta. Edición USA. https://www.efe.com/efe/usa/blog-tribuna/2018-el-futuro-del-espanol-y-de-la-identidad-hispana-en-los-estados-unidos/50000001-3480956

viewed as a political act of of resistance, a demonstration of inconformity" (Levine, 1991, p. 16). Translating a Spanish word in an English text or adding glossaries can be perceived as further objectifying the Hispanic population, whose "race and ethnicity become commodified as resources of pleasure" (hooks, 1992, p. 367).  The text stops being transformative and revolutionary; it is translated and explained for the pleasure or at least the comfort of the monolingual Anglo audience. Authors and artists who do not resort to adding explanations, translations or glossaries when they include Spanish in their English texts dare to disrupt their monolingual reader and favor the marginalized Other. 

I will finish with a quote from Braschi (1998), a first-generation Puerto Rican author:

Desde la torre de Babel, las lenguas han sido siempre una forma de divorciarnos del resto de la humanidad. Poetry must find ways of breaking distance. I am not reducing my audience. On the contrary, I am going to have a bigger audience with the common market-in-Europe-in 


Isabel Moreno-López

Otheguy, R. & Stern, N. (2011). On so-called Spanglish. International Journal of Bilingualism - INT J BILING. 15. 10.1177/1367006910379298. 

Prida, D. (1991). Coser y Cantar. In J. Weiss  (Ed), Beautiful Señoritas and Other Plays (pp. 49-67). Houston, TX: Arte Publico Press, 1991. 49-67. 

Rothman, J., & Rell, A. B. (2005). A linguistic analysis of Spanglish: Relating language to identity. Linguistics and the Human Sciences, 1(3), 515-536.

Sánchez Muñoz, Ana. (20013). Who soy yo? The creative use of "Spanglish" to express a hybrid identity in Chicana/o heritage language Learners of Spanish. Hispana, 96(3), 440-441.

Sankoff, D. and Poplack, S. (1981) A formal grammar for code-switching. Linguistic Research 14(1): 3-43.

Santiago, E. (1993). When I was Puerto Rican: A Memoir. Boston, MA: Da Capo Press.

Siguan, M. (2001). Bilingüismo y lenguas en contacto. Madrid: Alianzas Editorial.

Stavans, I. (2003). Spanglish: The making of a new American language. . New York, NY: Harper Collins.  

Torres, L. (2007). In the Contact Zone: Code-Switching Strategies by Latino/a Writers.
MELUS, 32(1), 75-96. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/30029707
Vega, A. L. (1994). Pollito Chicken. In A. L. Vega and C. Lugo Filippi (Eds). Vírgenes y mártires. (pp. 73-80). Río Piedras, PR: Editorial Antillana.

Galindo, D. L. (1999). Caló and Taboo Language Use among Chicanas: A Description of Linguistic Appropriation and innovation. In D. L. Galindo & M. D. Gonzales (Eds.), Speaking Chicana: Voice, Power and Identity (pp. 175-191). Tucson, AR: The University of Arizona Press.

Ghirardini, F. (2006). Morphological constraints on intra-sentential code-switching: Toward a standardization of Spanglish grammar*. Annali Online di Ferrara - Lettere, 1, 15-30.

Gonzales, R. (1991). I am Joaquin: [an epic poem]. [Place of publication not identified]

Grande, R. (2013). The distance between us. New York, NY: Washington Square Press.

Hooks, B. (1992). Eating the other: Desire and resistance. Black looks: Race and representation. (pp. 2-40). Boston, MA: South End Press.

Levine, S. J. (1991). The Subversive Scribe: Translating Latin Mercian Fiction. Saint Paul, MN: Graywolf Press.

Mohr, N. (1989). Puerto Rican Writers in the U.S., Puerto Rican Writers in Puerto Rico: A Separation Beyond Language. (Testimonio). In A. Horno Delgado (Ed.), Breaking Boundaries: Latina Writing and Critical Readings (pp. 114-115). Armherst, MA: University of Massachusetts.

Mohr, N. (1997). A matter of pride and other stories. Houston, TX: Arte Público Press.

Mora, F.A. (2018). La imposibilidad del Spanglish en "Pollito Chicken" de Abna Lydia Vega. Glosas (ANLE), 9(5), 11-27.

Ortiz Cofer, J. (Winter 1992). Nada. The Gorgia Review. 46(4), 754-762.


Book Review 
-"Middle England" by Jonathan Coe

Jonathan Coe is the author of several novels including The Dwarves of Death (1990), the acclaimed What a Carve Up! (1994), and The Rotters' Club (2001), which have been adapted as drama serials for the BBC.

He has won several awards both in Britain and in France. His last novel Middle England (2018) is the winner of the Costa Novel Award 2019. 

He taught English Poetry at Warwick, subsequently working as a professional musician, writing music for jazz and cabaret. He also worked as a legal proofreader before becoming a freelance writer and journalist. 

Webpage: https://jonathancoewriter.com/


Middle England is somehow a continuation of The Closed Circle (2004) and The Rotters' Club (2001) and allows us to reencounter our old friend Benjamin Trotter, this time running away from his middle 

Jonathan Coe - "Middle England"

First published in 2018 and translated into Spanish a few months ago (Anagrama), it is an extensive and often very funny novel about the political and social events that occurred in the UK, from the general elections of 2010, leading to a coalition government, until the 2016 Brexit referendum and its consequences up to 2018.

age personal and professional crisis in a Shropshire mill house. Different points of view are provided through a wide range of characters, including his elderly father, a conservative former car-factory employee, and his young niece, a university lecturer. 

Topics such as political correctness, immigration, racism and xenophobia, middle age, corruption, friendship, and family are tackled by the characters' opposing points of view to draw a witty picture of the state of the nation on the verge of leaving the European Union for good.

His brilliant satirical prose makes the novel an entertaining read that leaves you, despite the rage the events related may arouse, with a sweet and empathic feeling.

 (Rev. by Carmen Moreno Huart)



8 November 2018. Viking Press 

Translated by Mauricio Bach
October 2019. Anagrama

"A compelling state of the nation novel, full of light and shade, which vividly charts Britain's tragicomic slide." (The Economist)



Upcoming activities:

The present circumstances do not allow us to meet face to face. Therefore, we can only plan on organizing webinars and other kinds of online training events.

Hopefully, we will be able to keep some of our activities such as the contests alive, but the spring Convention, which is one of our main activities, is still on hold.

We will keep you posted through our monthly Newsletter, and social media.

Upcoming Activities


Webinar by Scott Thornbury  

On Wednesday 25th November
at 18.00h- 19:00h 

To register CLICK HERE



Scott Thornbury has taught and trained in Egypt, UK, Spain, and in his native New Zealand. Until recently he taught an online MA TESOL program for The New School in New York. His writing credits include several award-winning books for teachers on language and methodology. He is also the series editor for the Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers, and a trustee of the Hands Up Project, which promotes drama activities in English for children in under-resourced regions of the Arab world. At present he is working for the Mosaik Foundation, training teachers of refugees in the Middle East in how to maximise communicative principles in their online classes. 



Activities that are communicative require more than simply interaction: there needs to be some kind of information exchange, the simplest form of which might be a guessing game. Ideally, they also involve a degree of repetition, collaboration, and language awareness-raising.  

In this talk I describe 10 such activities which meet at least some of these conditions, and which can be done remotely, even with large groups.

Upcoming Activities


Course A for teachers who have already tried before

Two Mondays per month from 6 to 8 pm.


We offer a limited amount of places. 

If you are interested in attending or if you need more information send a mail to info@apabal.com   


Course B for teachers starting this year from zero 

Every Thursday from 6 to 8 pm. 

Due to the interest shown by English teachers to become civil servants, APABAL has organised 2 courses for "Oposicions" for teachers of English to be held at IES Guillem Sagrera .

Montserrat García Comino

As we advance in life it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties, the inmost strength of the heart is developed. 
                                                   -Vincent Van Gogh

Life constantly gives us challenges that we have to face. The situations in which they appear to us are different and the size of the problems varies in intensity. Our reaction to them will depend on the preparation, the capacity for resolution and determination that we have. Sometimes we will be paralyzed, unable to move forward, and we will even give up on progressing. On other occasions we will be able to find tools to overcome the situation and there will be times when we will need outside help.

The reality is that with some training and will power we can learn to focus on those obstacles that cross our path and try to find ways to overcome or solve them. It depends on the degree of seriousness of this problem in our lives. We should ask for help from a coach or a therapist to accompany us in the process of searching for the best tools to solve the handicap and be able to continue advancing towards the goal. Remember that perseverance and the desire to turn that difficulty into an opportunity will be the direction which you must direct and apply your energies.


Montserrat Garcia Comino has taught EFL both in primary and secondary schools for over twenty years. Montserrat has also been a teacher trainer with the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona's ICE, the Rosa Sensat Teachers' Association, and with Pearson Education publishers. Montserrat has also been involved in several international projects.  

Montserrat has developed CLIL courses for the Palma CEP and for ANPE. She has also taught on the Master's of Secondary Education at the UIB. She has been the foreign languages advisor at Jaume Cañellas CEP (Palma) for three years and at the Conselleria d'Educació of the Balearic Islands.

Currently she is teaching at the IES Guillem Sagrera and in charge of the courses offered by APABAL for "opositores". In connection with this field she is the author of the book "Manual de Oposiciones" published by Letrame S.L. (2018)  



Montserrat García Comino

our mindset when facing a crossroads. 

Obtaining a post as a teacher in a public competition is a great challenge, but we should not see it as an end in itself, rather as an opportunity to change a situation: to achieve a personal and professional goal that will fill us with satisfaction and pride. This challenge will provide us with a great experience, which will be an opportunity to grow, learn, strengthen ourselves and put ourselves to the test. 

The challenges can seem daunting at first, and it will not matter if we do not have all the answers, nor will we know how we are going to get over them. It is simply about rolling up our sleeves and having the determination, patience and strength to find the best solution. It is simply about  changing the way of thinking and convincing ourselves that the excuses are not valid, that they are self-fabricated lies or justifications just to get us away from our goal. Recognizing that we have the ability, the knowledge, the power, the drive, the opportunity, and the discipline to take control of 

Challenges place us in extreme situations that make us value new ways of thinking until we find that loophole that opens the door to find some possibility of resolution to any problem. Patience should be incorporated into our work routine as this virtue may be our best ally.

If we think that every problem entails growth, that we all have our own abilities, and that we must concentrate more on our potential, we will be able to find the best ways out of the conflict. A positive attitude will take us away from frustration or paralysis and will help us to discover alternative solutions. One of the helpful techniques is not to ask why something happens, but why it happens to us. This change in strategy will make us change 


Montserrat García Comino

the understanding and empathy that we can convey.

The problem arises when we are the ones who have an emotional discomfort. We do not have the ability to know how to console ourselves, but we are used to judging, mistreating and harshly despising our inner self; which contributes to increase our suffering.

We are not really aware that our pain deserves our attention, or deserves to be listened to and cared for with benevolence. Although it may seem that by comforting ourselves we are falling into a kind of victimhood or self-deception, the reality is that healing appears when we recognize our own suffering and give it the space that it needs. The psychologist and expert in compassion Kristin Neff (2011) proposes three main elements: 

1.    Kindness 
Through this quality, we become more understanding, respectful and open the door to accept ourselves with all our limitations and flaws. Recognizing that we have reached the point where 

our lives will also include climbing over obstacles. 

Remember that change takes effort. When our will power is scarce or limited, what we do is not see the opportunities, only the obligations. We present our desires as something we have or are forced to do. But that's not the way. There is a famous quote by Deepak Chopra that says: "You must find the place within yourself where nothing is impossible."  

Compassion for oneself 

We normally call that feeling that arises, when we see the pain of others, compassion. When we try to help someone to alleviate their sadness, we approach that person by speaking kindly, providing caresses, hugs and all 


Montserrat García Comino

There are also other concepts worth mentioning: 

The inner connection 

Sometimes the starting point before a challenge is to find the time, regain the calm and link up with our inner self. It is about taking an inward journey to connect with our emotions, desires or needs. We usually have our eyes set on the outside and on the action; it is difficult for us to stop, focus, reflect and regain tranquillity. This is the first step to start organizing our thoughts.

Only from internal harmony can we consider how to solve what oppresses or hold us back. Good emotional management together with an exposition of purposes is essential. 

But without a doubt, establishing a productive inner dialogue with our mind is not always easy. If we are not able to tune in correctly and edify our being, there will be no journey. This is where the need for adequate coaching is more evident. 

we are as the result of experiences, patterns, and the education received will help us to be more tolerant with ourselves.

2.    Shared humanity 
We must understand that we are not alone with our pain; we have the tendency to place ourselves in the centre of the universe, as if it revolves around us, forgetting that surely suffering is something that unites us with other people. One way to counteract isolation is to give our misfortunes a universal touch; since pain, as an inherent part of our life, connects us with others. 

3.    A sense of Mindfulness 
This component places us in the here and now. It reminds us that we have the ability to allow ourselves to experience pain as it arises without having to hide it. Resisting the need of embracing suffering only makes it to be accumulated.

So feeling compassion for ourselves helps us learn to care for ourselves. It makes us more autonomous, while empowering us to continue working on our emotional growth.


Montserrat García Comino


And remember:
"I allow myself to fall, but only to stand up again"


Neff, K. D. (2011). Self Compassion. London, UK: Hodder & Stoughton. 

Our mind speaks to us: it is our internal dialogue and that comforts us. But on other occasions it plays tricks on us by becoming our worst enemy. Intrusive thoughts laden with insecurities and negativity slip through the cracks to make us step off the train of self-knowledge. We must not let that happen. Self-validation, compassion, forgiveness, determination, and inner connection are what will make us able to inject greater doses of self-esteem into our lives. 

I would not like to end this paper without a final technique that may be useful when issues arise: 

To take action, visualize someone you admire and respect: a friend, a famous person or someone from your family. Imagine presenting the conflict to them and think about what they would do, what answers they would offer you, and what steps they would take to resolve the setback. That would be a way of managing a stressful situation


Associació del Professorat d'Anglès de les Illes Balears
c/ Salvador Dalí, 5
07011 Palma
(Illes Balears)