Author Archives: My Name Is Not Sir

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Reading and Writing Therapy

My Name Is Not Sir

March 27, 2020

The present perfect


CEFR B1 – Trinity Grade 5 – Cambridge First Certificate

What is it for?

It is used to link past to present when the result of the action is more important than the time it happened ..

1. When something started in the past and is still going on – “I have lived a thousand years.”

2. When the time period has not finished – “More than 3,000 migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean this year.”

3. To talk about actions repeated a number of times in the past – “I have died multiple times.”

4. To talk about recent things – “I’ve just seen a ..”

5. When the time of the action is not known or not as important as the action itself – “I have been to the mountain top.”

How is it constructed?

My God, what have I done?

Use ‘have’ (or ‘has’) and the past participle of the main verb.

For questions, invert the auxiliary verb (‘have’ or ‘has’) with the subject pronoun: “My God, what have I done?”

In the negative, put ‘not’ (or  ‘n’t’) after the ‘have’ or ‘has’: “I haven’t died yet.”

Things to remember

Is it ‘have’ or ‘has’?

There are regular and irregular past participles.

Pronunciation and spelling of the past participle.

never and ever , since and for , just, already and yet.

Why is it difficult?

Some languages use it differently so the meaning can be confusing.

There’s a bit to remember in its construction.

Answer this

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?

Follow up with

Maps through your Bones and Skin

Lizard in the Luggage

A Walk In The Park

Other tenses

The past simple

The present perfect continuous

My Name Is Not Sir

March 4, 2020

Trained initially to teach English as a Foreign Language (EFL) at International House, London, I developed teaching and learning techniques and strategies along with classroom management skills based on a humanistic and communicative approach to language learning.

I have worked in EFL teaching, teacher training and centre management posts in Europe and Central and South America, supporting learners to achieve Cambridge and Trinity ESOL and EFL qualifications.

Most recently I have been a Trinity College, London International ESOL Examiner Panel Member examining in Europe, South America and Asia.

My Name Is Not Sir exists to provide bespoke programmes for centres looking to develop the English skills of both students and teachers through innovative strategies and techniques to engage and motivate all participants.

Programmes can be anything from a single day or week to more extensive residencies of a month or longer.

Go here to make contact about EFL and ESOL Support with My Name Is Not Sir.

My Name Is Not Sir

March 4, 2020

Trinity GESE Grade 5. The holy grail ..


“The true elementary level.” (6 / 12)


A 10 minute, 1:1 interview with a Trinity examiner.

1. Greetings

  • Say hello and show your ID. Give the examiner a copy of your topic form for the topic phase.
  • Make eye contact with the examiner.
  • Smile.
  • Answer the examiner’s introductory questions.
  • Listen to the examiner’s description of the exam.

2. Discussion

(Up to) 5 minutes discussion on a topic chosen by the candidate.

  • The examiner asks questions and makes comments on at least four points from the topic form to facilitate a spontaneous discussion.
  • The candidate must ask the examiner at least one question.

  • Pick a topic you are really interested in that is different from your classmates.
  • Make sure you do your research and have lots of things to say about your topic.
  • Make sure you know a wide range of vocabulary related to your topic.
  • Ask questions to the examiner about your topic.
  • Listen to the examiner’s questions carefully so that you make natural, appropriate contributions that incorporate language of the grade.


  • Memorising / Recitation. You will not pass if you do this!

3. Conversation

(Up to) 5 minutes conversation on 2 subject areas chosen by the examiner from the following list:

A 1:1 genuine exchange of information, ideas and opinions.

4. Thank you and goodbye

4. Phonology

My Name Is Not Sir

March 4, 2020

My Name Is Not Sir – Passport saying Michael Andrew Lynch

Seeking to use my time where there is value and purpose, where my experience, skills and personal qualities can be utilised and extended and where my professional ideals, centred on personalised teaching and learning, innovation, creativity, professionalism, integrity, social engagement and community cohesion are shared.

I deliver and participate in sessions, workshops, programmes and residencies worldwide.

Go here to make contact.

Go here for information on remuneration.

My Name Is Not Sir

March 4, 2020

Trained initially to teach English as a Foreign Language (EFL) at International House, London, I developed teaching and learning techniques and strategies along with classroom management skills based on a humanistic and communicative approach to language learning. This training led to EFL teaching, teacher training and centre management posts in Europe and Central and South America.

I have supported learners to achieve Cambridge, IELTS and Trinity ESOL and EFL qualifications.

Go here to make contact about EFL and ESOL Support with My Name Is Not Sir.

My Name Is Not Sir

March 4, 2020

This page is currently being updated with new information and resources.

Bespoke sessions or series of sessions are available on all aspects of language, literacy and skills development teaching and learning across the curriculum.

Go here for any inquiries

My Name Is Not Sir

March 4, 2020

Speaking Aloud and Loving Yourself

Creative and inspirational activities to encourage students to practice and develop listening, understanding and communication skills.

Self-presentation, body language, voice, projection, phonology, intonation, volume, direction. Sustaining confidence and attention. How to go about it if you’re shy.

These sessions will inspire you to find new and creative ways to get your message across.

My Name Is Not Sir

March 4, 2020

‘Smash yr face into my textbook’

(A Flash Fiction Writing Session from My Name Is Not Sir)


Many of us are constantly embroiled in creating stuff for other people to judge us by. This is part of our contract with the world of measuring, judging and accrediting worthiness. We engage in it, even though it messes with our mind and eats at our soul. Is there another way?


Take a break from your studies.

Read Dominic Nolan’s poem (below) and create your own piece of writing to describe and define your own take on the pressures of the ‘hand-in’ deadline.


It’s not an essay deadline until somebody’s in tears

Smash yr face into my textbook – 4th edition.
a lot of extra material added.
i am hitting the bong and it is my homemade bong and i am 22,
now i am 23
let’s take these bread-knives and cut each other up.
you hold my legs down first and saw them both off
then i’ll take ur feet too, take my left arm and chop
and I’ll do you the same until we both all right
lock eyes and saw slowly off our dominant hands until
plop — plop —
we just stumps with a head, smash them up and scoop out
20 grand, put it thru your processor
double-spaced, font size 12, stapled,
on my desk by Monday​

(Dominic Nolan)


its not an essay deadline

Dominic Nolan’s piece depicts a violence which might seem to the outsider to be the dead opposite of academic life.

However, the result of the research, the planning, the drafting and the writing of an academic piece that is to be assessed and then given a grade will affect the rest of your life.

It is tough, and the potential for violence in this context is evident in the distressing and insanely destructive exchange between student and tutor, assessed and assessor, described in the poem. With its text-speak spelling and belligerent refusal to entertain capital letters, the poem describes a possible result of the interaction and the mayhem and madness that the pressure to ‘achieve’ can cause.

Word count and process

Dominic Nolan’s poem is 121 words long. You could aim for something similar in length.

Think about your own deadlines. Are they achievable? How do they make you feel? How are you doing right now with regard to achieving them? How are you handling the pressure? Are you in contact with others who are under similar stress? Are they dealing with it as well as you are? What else could you be doing with your time? How will it feel when it’s all over?

Write notes on your feelings in response to these questions.


Maybe just note single words, or brief notes on a scene that is part of how you feel. Describe the room you are in with a single word. Describe the objects in front of you in single words. Describe your emotions in the same way.

Take a moment. Read your notes. Think of the words you have used. Are there other words you could use to say what you want? Change words, add words. Jumble the words up into different orders. Experiment with the language you are using and the context you are describing.

Move away from the spelling, punctuation and grammar requirements of your academic studies and think about creating a piece using the type of language and spelling you would use with more spontaneous forms of communication. Be imaginative with your situation.

The length of the thinking and note-taking process will vary, of course, depending on how easily ideas come into your head. Aim to do this quickly, though.

Remember, you have more important stuff to do and a deadline to meet!

You should try and produce a first draft finished piece of around 120 words in about 15 minutes.

Later, spend some time re-reading, re-writing, deleting, revising, re-reading, re-writing, deleting, revising again and again for as long as you can. That way you can be as sure as possible that you have produced a piece you are happy with


Thanks to Dominic Nolan for allowing us to use his writing in this post … ; )

My Name Is Not Sir

March 4, 2020

Ten pedagogies .. or more? Active Reflection on Teaching and Learning

Differentiation, co-operative learning, modelling, experiential learning, assessment for learning, embedding language and literacy, e-learning and technology, theory versus practice, learning conversations, multi-sensory learning .. ? This session will support you in actively reflecting on your own practice for personal and professional learning and development.

In this session you will

  • learn to recognise a range of pedagogic styles and their uses.
  • recognise your own preferred styles and develop strategies to expand your repertoire.
  • develop a plan to increase confidence in adopting teaching and learning strategies and activities that are appropriate to the specific needs of your learners.

Format: This is an active session where teachers will reflect on and assess their own classroom practice and, in collaboration with other teachers, develop resources and activities to use in the classroom to enhance the learning and teaching experience for all.
Participants: This session is for teachers of all subjects. Participants need to be willing to reflect critically on their own practice and be interested in developing new strategies to support their students’ learning and development.