Category Archives: Sessions

My Name Is Not Sir

November 26, 2020

Speaking Aloud and Loving Yourself

Creative and inspirational activities to practise and develop speaking, listening, understanding and a range of other communication skills and strategies.

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.

Programmes can run from a single day or week to more extensive residencies. All sessions are also available online.

For more information about these sessions, go here.

My Name Is Not Sir

November 26, 2020

Active, Intelligent and Meaningful (AIM) Reading in English

These sessions will make you more confident with your reading. You will learn strategies for dealing with the texts you need to access in your life, your studies and your work.

For more information on these sessions, go here.

Active, Intelligent and Meaningful (AIM) Reading in English (For teachers)

These sessions will make you more confident in selecting accessible texts and using stimulating activities to support learners to develop English language reading skills across all subject areas.

In these sessions you will

  • learn active strategies for dealing with texts in the classroom.
  • develop subject specific resources for your own teaching.
  • understand the reasons why your students find reading difficult.
  • learn how to assess the ‘readability’ of texts for your students (topic, length, language, etc).
  • understand how embedding language skills development into subject learning is useful.
  • receive free resource templates to create specific classroom reading activities.

Format: Guided activities investigating the processes involved in accessing, reading and understanding English language texts.  Using models and templates, participants will collaborate and develop activities and resources for use in all learning environments.

Participants: This session is for teachers of all subjects who want to develop their skills in supporting learners to access English language texts in arts, sciences, social sciences, humanities and other curriculum subject areas.

For more information on these sessions, go here.

My Name Is Not Sir

November 26, 2020

“College? Uni? Next year? The year after? Where? What do you need to get in? What’s the best course for you? How do you apply? UCAS? Personal statement? It’s got to be how many characters?!”

If you’re having any of these thoughts popping into your head and you don’t know where to go to find the answers, at My Name Is Not Sir, we can help.

My Name Is Not Sir College and Uni Application Sessions help you work out where to look for the answers to all the questions you might have about applying to college or university. They will also help you with the application process itself, personal statement writing, application form filling, interview preparation, etc., etc.

If you, or someone you know needs this support, get in touch here.

My Name Is Not Sir

November 25, 2020


With The Safe House, My Name Is Not SIr presents:

The Flash Fiction Writing Sessions.

These sessions can be done independently or in structured group sessions, face to face or online.

Click the links below to access sample sessions:

About This Person
Soup Like Windows
Lizard in the Luggage
A Bit of People Watching

If you are interested in participating in these sessions, either as a facilitator or attendee, or both, or if you would like to discuss developing Flash Fiction Writing sessions for you or your organisation, follow the link here.

My Name Is Not Sir

November 25, 2020

Activities in these sessions lead participants on a journey of self-discovery and personal reflection in preparation for learning.

Through the Illusion Learning Sessions, participants acquire and develop skills, knowledge and personal qualities to help tackle the challenges of learning.

The Illusion Learning Sessions can be done randomly or strategically.

For more information on these sessions, click here.

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

‘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.

My Name Is Not Sir

March 4, 2020

 Vocabulary Expansion and Development

Using cross-curriculum subject-specific texts and other resources, you will learn and develop a number of different strategies and activities to support students in learning new vocabulary in a bi-lingual or multi-lingual environment.

In this session you will

  • learn active strategies for vocabulary learning skills and lexical expansion.
  • develop subject specific resources for your own teaching.
  • select subject specific resources to actively direct students’ vocabulary learning.
  • understand the important elements of English language vocabulary learning (spelling, pronunciation, organisation of lexical sets, etc).
  • receive free resource templates to create specific vocabulary development activities.

Format:  A review of vocabulary learning strategies and activities adaptable to chosen specific students and subject areas. Using models and templates, participants will develop resources and activities to support learners’ vocabulary learning and lexical expansion.
Participants: This session is for teachers of all subjects who want to support students in accessing and developing the lexical skills required to thrive in a multi-lingual or bi-lingual learning environment.