Author: My Name Is Not Sir

About My Name Is Not Sir

Reading and Writing Therapy

BTEC Assignment Quick Fix Trial

Are you doing a BTEC?

Are you handling the deadlines OK?

Have you got an assignment to hand in soon?

Why not try This IS The Safe House BTEC Assignment support?

Here’s what to do …

Get your assignment sheet and take a pic of it.

E-mail it to us at

or post it in a message to us on Facebook.

Tell us when the deadline is.

btec quick fix

We’ll help you sort things out

so you can meet the deadline

and get a decent mark!

Go on, try it now!


This IS The Safe House –  “We can take you to a better place.”

The Present Perfect Tense

What’s it for?

There are about five main reasons for using the present perfect tense in English.

livia-bitton-jackson1. To talk about something that 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 and now: “I have died multiple times and the doctors have brought me back.”QA-Nile-Rodgers-008

4. To talk about things completed recently: “I have just knocked over a cat and killed it. What should I do?”

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

 How’s it constructed?

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

In a question, invert the auxiliary verb (‘have’ or ‘has’) with the subject pronoun, as usual with questions in English: “What have you knocked over?” “A cat!”

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


Is it ‘have’ or ‘has’?

How do you say (or spell) the past participle?

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

Why’s it difficult?

Hmm … some languages use it differently so the meaning can be confusing and there’s a bit to remember in its construction. Look here if you want some more detail.

How about this?

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


Michael Lynch


As a teacher, tutor, trainer and examiner with many years’ experience working in the UK, Europe and Central and South America, I have worked with learners of all ages from a range of backgrounds and cultures and with diverse specific learning needs. Specialising in language, literacy, learning and skills development, I have supported students preparing for numerous different national and international qualifications including GCSE, A level, BTEC and HE qualifications in the UK, and Cambridge, Trinity and other recognised qualifications around the world.

Trained initially at International House, London, in teaching English as Foreign Language (EFL), I developed classroom management skills and teaching techniques and strategies based on a 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 worked in this area from 1986 – 1996.

More recently, I have worked in a UK 16 – 19 college developing programmes to support learners and subject teachers to address literacy issues across the college curriculum. At the same time I worked extensively with groups preparing for GCSE English, Skills for Life and Functional Skills qualifications. I was also a personal tutor at this college.

These roles involved working closely with diverse groups with a range of SEN as well as general language, learning and literacy needs to support the development of strategies to minimise the stresses caused by the requirements of institutional or qualification led education. This involved working with students to overcome issues relating to, for example, punctuality and / or attendance, motivation and confidence as well as supporting students to develop speaking, listening, communicating and understanding, reading and writing skills and to access and deliver in terms of external qualifications from entry level to level 3.

I have supported learners with a range of recognised and unrecognised issues relating to diagnosed or undiagnosed conditions that affect their learning experiences and have many years’ experience supporting learners with dyslexia, hyperlexia, dyspraxia, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and other learning difficulties as well as, and including, a range of different types of gifted and talented learners.

My practice has always focused on creating learner-centred and learner-empowering environments and on using communication and collaboration to support the acquisition and development of personal qualities, skills and knowledge whilst maintaining appropriate focus on recognized outcomes such as external qualifications.

This ethos has been the driving force behind the setting up of This IS The Safe House, a learning project with a mission to create and deliver innovative programmes for learners, in particular those who may struggle sometimes within the constraints of the conventional learning environment.

Through This IS The Safe House , I have planned and delivered bespoke programmes for individual learners and small groups at Key Stages 3 and 4 (years 9 – 10 and at levels 2, 3 and 4 in the post-16 sector), focusing on the needs of the learners and the facilitation of individualised paths to achieving their full potential, whether in terms of personal development and progress or in the attainment of recognised qualifications. These programmes have been delivered both face-to-face individually or with small groups or online using a range of interfaces such as text messaging, Facebook, Messenger, Whatsapp, WordPress and e-mail.

In my practice, I am self-sufficient, organized and reliable in everything that I do. These qualities have proven to be valuable  in my work as an International ESOL Panel Member for Trinity College, London. I also work on a freelance basis for Kickstarting C.I.C. on a Lottery Funded programme for separated parents and in this role my abilities as a good communicator and listener mean I am able to put people at ease with a calm and friendly but professional manner in circumstances that are not always familiar or comfortable for the ‘client’. In summary, I am an experienced practitioner who is well-presented and professional in his approach, flexible and, I think, able to deal with all circumstances with intelligence and imagination.

This IS The Safe House – I look forward to learning with you ..



Word Stress

Oo oO Ooo oOo ooO




Oooo oOoo ooOo oooO  




Ooooo oOooo ooOoo oooOo ooooO





Evaluating the language of a text

These are some of a writer’s techniques you should be able to identify:

  • Words: Simple or difficult, formal or informal, informative or emotive?
  • Sentences and paragraphs: Short or long? Are they all the same length, or do some stand out for emphasis or dramatic effect?
  • Personal pronouns: First person, second person, third person? Singular or plural?
  • Persuasive techniques: Rhetorical questions, groups of three, alliteration?
  • Discourse markers: Casual, chatty discourse markers (eg anyway, you know what I mean, so) or more formal ones (eg nevertheless, therefore, however)?
  • Exclamations: Angry or more thoughtful, emphatic or tentative?
  • Facts and opinions: Objective facts and statistics or opinions? To inform or to persuade, review or entertain?

Adapted from


Useful, we s’pose. Use these good and you’ll get better marks ..

type of linker examples broad meaning example
cause and effect because, so,  accordingly, thus, consequently, hence, therefore, as introduces a reason and shows result We had to eat it because, it was all we had.
comparison similarly, likewise, whereas, but, on the other hand, except, by comparison, when compared to, equally, in the same way identifies similarities between two ideas similarly, .
contrast but, however, yet, still, even though, nevertheless, on the other hand, otherwise, after all, for all of that, on the contrary, notwithstanding, in contrast, unlike,  whereas, instead of, alternatively, although identifies differences between two ideas Raj did not perform well in the exam; nevertheless, he got a distinction in English.
time at once, immediately, meanwhile, at length, in the meantime, at the same time, in the end, when, then, as, before that, after that indicates time and frequency of events The bell rang and the students left immediately.
addition and, also, even, again, moreover, further, furthermore,  similarly, in addition, as well as adds ideas in support of the main idea It is very hot today; moreover, there is a power outage.
example for example, such as, for instance,  in this case, in another case, on this occasion, in this situation,  in this manner, to illustrate introduces  illustrations in support of the main idea I think he is very rich; for example, he gave a hundred rupee note to a beggar. 
sequence first, second, third, next, then, following, now, at this point, after, after this, subsequently, eventually, finally, previously shows the importance of the ideas by listing according to the priority
summary in brief, on the whole, in sum, to sum up, thus draws conclusion by summarizing the ideas It is a love story, the actors performed well, the direction is excellent, the settings are beautiful; in brief, it is a good film.

Teacher Development Workshop Sessions – 2015-16

The following sessions for teachers are available for delivery now ..

1      Active, Intelligent and Meaningful (AIM) Reading in English

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

In this session 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.

Duration: 3 hours
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.

2    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.

Duration: 3 hours
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.

3     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.

Duration: 3 hours

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.

Sessions facilitated by

Michael Lynch, teacher, trainer, tutor, mentor, coach, assessor, examiner and, of course, learner who has practised for over 25 years with a range of organisations in diverse bi-lingual and multi-lingual settings in the UK, Europe and Central and South America. He specialises in the practice of integrating language and literacy support for learners and teachers into curriculum areas. His experience and practice focuses on creating learner-centred and learner-empowering bi-lingual and multi-lingual environments using communication and collaboration to support the acquisition and development of personal qualities, skills and knowledge for personal development and success in external qualifications. Michael’s goal is to facilitate alternative learning experiences through innovative guided sessions that support participants to achieve their personal, learning and professional goals.

Other sessions available from This IS The Safe House:

Dealing with Writing

Practical strategies and activities to support planning, drafting, paragraphing, spelling, punctuation, grammar and proof-reading for improved writing at all levels and for all purposes.

Speaking Out Loud

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

The Language of Assessed Writing

A review and analysis of the types of language students need to complete assessed writing tasks including analysis of grammatical constructions for writing evaluations, describing processes, writing about the past, writing about the future, using more accurate grammar, etc.

Active Skills for Creative Learning

A series of short, active physical activities to support learning and skills development (physical movement activities, ball games, juggling, mindfulness training and reflective skills development)

The Great Apostrophe Mystery

Why your dog’s wagging its tail and other stories related to the most misunderstood punctuation mark in English.

Bespoke sessions or series of sessions are available on all aspects of language, literacy and skills development teaching and learning across the curriculum. or  +44 (0)7341 821 917 

This is what you get ..

Resilience, resourcefulness, reflection and creativity for learning and personal development.

  • Advice and guidance on studywriters and readers and employment for personal development and achieving individual potential
  • Language, literacy, creativity and learning support for school, college, university or home-based assignment and essay writing
  • Creative writing for personal expression and development, songwriting, drama, prose fiction and non-fiction, poetry
  • Personal presentation skills, physical and facial presentation, speaking and listening skills
  • Job search and research, CV, letter, statement and biography writing, interview preparation
  • Teacher / facilitator workshops
  • Stress-relief based therapy and counselling, yoga, tai-chi, meditation, mindfulness,  group and individual counselling and mediation support
  • Production, rehearsal and performance environments for personal and collaborative creative production and expression through music, the written and spoken word, juggling and circus skills
  • Online resources, forums and opportunities


Qualifications, achievement and progress are often only conventionally recognised. 

This Is The Safe House and our aim is to support people to do well, even if they are not ‘conventional’ themselves. We bring particular and specialist experience and expertise into supporting people who are disadvantaged by the demands of attending school, college or university and in achieving recognised qualifications.

If you would like us to contact you, please fill in the form below and we will get back to you as soon as we can ..



To help you make sure it doesn’t end up like this ..


Brazilian gold mine by Sebastião Salgado. Click the image for more info.

This IS The Safe House and Pre* join forces to support you in your job search. We can help you to:

  • sign on, fulfil requirements and access appropriate Job Centre funding and support
  • search and research opportunities that are right for you
  • plan a job-hunting strategy
  • write a personalised and focused CV, statement or letter
  • apply and pass assessment tests
  • do well at interview
  • start the job well

This IS The Safe House – “We can take you to a better place.”

For support  in your job search fill in the form below:

Science is proving … highlighted text

(A Vocabulary Extension Session from The Safe House)
Use the highlighted words to build your own vocabulary extension map (VEP?)

Do you have a fear of spiders? Maybe snakes? It could be your ancestors trying to tell you something. Recent studies have provided evidence that memories of fear are one of many things our forebearers pass down to us through our DNA.

A 2013 study from Emory University found that  mice trained to fear a specific odor would pass their emotions on to their offspring and future generations. Scientists applied electric shocks to mice as they exposed them to the smell of cherry blossoms. The mice then bred, and both the children and grandchildren of the affected rodents demonstrated a fear of cherry blossoms the first time they smelled them.

“Our results allow us to appreciate how the experiences of a parent, before even conceiving offspring, markedly influence both structure and function in the nervous system of subsequent generations,” Dr. Brian Dias of the Emory University department of psychiatry said to the Daily Telegraph. “Such a phenomenon may contribute to the etiology and potential intergenerational transmission of risk for neuropsychiatric disorders such as phobias, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

The study went beyond just observing a fear reaction. Scientists actually looked at the brains of the animals and found physical changes in the areas that process odors, and also found a marker on the odor gene of the mouse DNA.

The experiment worked even when the researchers used artificial insemination in place of allowing the mice to breed naturally. The scientists still aren’t sure how the fear imprint makes it into the sperm — whether the smell itself passes through the blood, or the brain processes the odor and sends its own signal.

“It is high time public health researchers took human transgenerational responses seriously,” Prof Marcus Pembrey, from University College London said to the BBC. “I suspect we will not understand the rise in neuropsychiatric disorders or obesity, diabetes and metabolic disruptions generally without taking a multigenerational approach.”

Humans have long sought to understand memory and heredity, nature vs. nurture and how much information parents actually transmit to their children. The nature study is another step toward answering our questions about exactly what, and how much of our forebearers’ experiences get passed down through DNA.

Primordial Fears

There is already a growing body of research about how humans and other animals inherit fear from their ancestors. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2013 found that primates’ brains are uniquely tuned to recognize snakes, suggesting that we gained an innate fear of the reptiles over the course of our evolutionary development. A 2011 study in Current Directions in Psychological Science found that human infants aren’t necessarily afraid of snakes from birth, but they learn to fear them more quickly than they learn to fear other more innocuous stimuli like flowers and rabbits.

“What we’re suggesting is that we have these biases to detect things like snakes and spiders really quickly, and to associate them with things that are yucky or bad, like a fearful voice,” study co-author Vanessa LoBue of Rutgers University said in a press release. The research built on previous work by LoBue and her team that showed that people were able to identify snakes and spiders more quickly than other animals and objects. There’s even evidence that primates actually developed large brains and keen eyesight as a defense measure to avoid falling prey to snakes.

Another study found that unborn crickets whose mothers were stalked by wolf spiders showed more fear of spiders after they were born than control crickets — not to mention a higher survival rate. At this point there’s little doubt that fear gets passed down through the generations — now we’re learning about how.

Rewriting The DNA

Fear isn’t the only thing that gets imprinted in our genes. Recent breakthroughs have made big strides in understanding epigenetics — how our DNA gets changed by environmental factors. A study published in 2013 revealed details about how certain aspects of DNA can be turned on or turned off, and therefore passed on to offspring or not. A report last year found that Crohn’s disease can cause epigenetic changes in people who suffer from it. And scientists were able to edit the DNA of mice to cure them of an inheritable liver disease — with hope that the same process would work in humans.

Other researchers are working on how to encode DNA with specific information. A study led by synthetic biologist Timothy Lu of MIT and published in Science in 2014 found a way to rewrite living DNA in a cell and watch as the altered information was transferred to new cells. The researchers changed cells to make them sense light and react to other stimuli. Next, they hope to use the technology to make a recording of the cell’s environment for study, such as placing the cells in water for a week and then testing them for toxins.

Other scientists have managed to etch the equivalent of a megabyte worth of data onto DNA, and then read it back. Both studies are more geared toward gathering and storing information, but the more we learn about how to change DNA, the possibility looms that we could learn how memories are implanted — and someday even artificially create hereditary memories, if scientific interest and ethics allowed such an outcome.

Beyond The Physical Realm

The idea of memories being written into DNA could provoke speculation about phenomenon like visions of past lives, although it might be a leap to go from a reaction to odor to the recall of specific and discrete memories.

Polish Professor of Pedogogy Andrzej Szyszko-Bohusz has worked since the 1960s to promote a theory of genetic immortality in which parental consciousness is transmitted to children along with DNA and other hereditary information. More recently, University of Virginia (UVA) professor Jim Tucker hypothesizes that consciousness needs no physical binding at all to pass on. Tucker, who studies children who have memories of past lives, claims that quantum physics suggests that our physical world is created by our consciousness. Therefore,

“consciousness doesn’t need the world, let alone a brain, to exist,”

and could simply affix itself to a new brain once it passes out of a dying one.

“I understand the leap it takes to conclude there is something beyond what we can see and touch,” Tucker said to UVA Magazine. “But there is this evidence here that needs to be accounted for, and when we look at these cases carefully, some sort of carry-over of memories often makes the most sense.”

He calls it the science of reincarnation. Whether he is on the right track, or we discover that memories are passed down by DNA all along, or there is some other mechanism we don’t know about yet, is still to be determined.

Text at: