LGBT History Month – 2020

This year LGBT History Month reflection on “what have we learned?” as a society. The concept of LGBT History month is to increase the visibility of the LGBT community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) and explore the history of their experiences and raise awareness of further education. The month celebrates the successes of figures such as Alan Turning, who pioneered a machine, breaking down the German Enigma code, and his actions were considered ground-breaking for his time. The month also celebrates Karl Heinrich Ulrich, who campaigns for gay rights in the 1850s.

Image result for alan turing
Reference: The New York Times (2019)

The month reflects how far society has come, as it re-looks at how social media, television, legislation has changed the world, as well as landmark events such as The Stonewall Riots in New York in 1969, creating the catalyst for gay and civil rights movement. While in 1987, EastEnders caused controversy within the British tabloids, as one man kissed another on his forehead. The outraged press, lead one of the leading actors, Colin Russell, portrayed by Michael Cashman ad a march to decimalise homosexuality and tackled Section 28, thus, leading to a review of the legislation. Moving on 25 years later, a sign of change with the introduction of same-sex marriage in the United Kingdom.  Several changes have happened in the last 30 years, as pre-1992 being gay was deemed as mental health, and many suffered barbaric ‘therapies.’

Image result for friends lesbian wedding episode
Reference: Friend Show – Image Obtained from Mirror (2016)

The American Television show Friends, screened the first-ever lesbian wedding, while the UK television show Brookside, screened the first pre-watershed (pre-9pm) lesbian kiss on television, both in the mid-90s. Pre, 2014, same-sex partners were unable to register their partner as their next to kin, thus, resulting in them not having any inheritance rights. Another example is the introduction of the Gender Recognition Act, 2004, providing transgender people with the opportunity to obtain legal recognition in their acquired gender, including full gender recognition certificates and a certificate protecting their right to anonymity (Ministry of Justice, 2017). Fast forward to 2014, following the Equality Act (2010) LGBT community has equal rights and protection in the law from discrimination.

Outing the Past have a number of events scheduled for February as they celebrate, the past and present of LGBT History Month, please see website for further details: https://www.outingthepast.com/

Saturday 22nd February – Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham B3 3DH

Saturday 22nd February – Museum of Liverpool, Pier Head, Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool L3 1DG

Additional link provides a break down of the LGBTQIA terminologies and pronouns – https://www.ucmo.edu/offices/center-for-multiculturalism-and-inclusivity-cmi/lgbtqia-terms-pronouns.pdf

Reference List:

Ministry of Justice (2017)Practice direction 7D – The Gender Recognition Act 2004 https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/family/practice_directions/pd_part_07d. London: Ministry of Justice.

Mirror (2016) Friends producer reveals cast and crew expected UPROAR for airing lesbian wedding. Available at: https://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/friends-producer-reveals-cast-crew-8171593

The New York Times (2019) Overlooked No More: Alan Turing, Condemned Code Breaker and Computer Visionary. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/05/obituaries/alan-turing-overlooked.html

Bett’s Show 2020

As many may know, I am a keen learner; therefore, I thought it was vital for me to attend this year’s Bett show on 24th and 25th January, in London. For me, there were several highlights. Firstly, being in a room full of educators, connecting with fellow teachers, and lecturers sharing tips of the trade. Then secondary, learning new skills that I could bring back to my class, share with my colleagues, benefiting our student’s education, by improving engagement levels. Although I teach at a university level, I engaged with several projects aimed at primary and secondary schools, such as Cornerstone Education. As sometimes, there is potential to adapt different curriculum tools into higher education. The online platform, they were discussing focused on the schools, designing, and delivering the curriculum that Ofsted expects. As one of my previous roles, was reviewing Ofsted reports, this did pique my interest.

I attended the Your Grey Matters stall, which focused on available training for schools for PSE. They offer several downloadable courses that focus on public mental health, self-harm, and suicide. It is vital teachers understand the possible signs of these as well as the support staff. Therefore, I highly recommend these training platforms.

The SEND Trail was where I spend the most amount of time, as I wanted to review the different gadgets that could benefit myself and my SEND students. One of the items which I reviewed was the scanning pens. I purchased something similar a few years ago, as I often noticed when I would read something and type it, I would miss out keywords. Therefore, I looked into something that could directly copy into my Word document. This item has saved me a vast amount of time over the years, and I have felt it reduces the jumping of the words on the pages. Therefore, making it clearer to read.

While walking around the SEND trail, I was informed of two upcoming dyslexia events. These included the Dyslexia Show, happening on the 20th – 21st March 2020. The event is a free exhibit that is focused on raising awareness and also providing best practice to educators. This event will provide further information on how to support someone with dyslexia and where to locate continuing professional development (CPD) for teaching professionals. Another event I was informed about was Manchester’s 1st International Dyslexia Conference, which connects international professionals and dyslexia experts, sharing ideas and suggestions on four key areas. These include education, physical/mental health, human resources/employment, and education/work/home life. This event is taking place in July 2020. Following the discussion, I feel these are important events to boost awareness and learn new skills, which could benefit both my approach to mine and my students learning.

For 2020, Bett introduced six new themes: well-being, empowering teaching and learning, innovation, inclusion, social mobility and SEND, future tech, and trends, and skills. All of these themes are key to the success of my students. Therefore, I explored all of these while I attended the conference. Education is evolving, with technological advances improving student engagement, and students needing to be equipped with the understanding of technology, as it blended into so many roles nowadays. Therefore, in further and higher education, the adaption of new programs, for instance, for students studying web-development additional access to the latest Magento such as Magento Commerce 2.3.4, could give them the edge.

The theme empowerment I felt reflected upon encouraging the student to engage in practical work. Thus, encouraged me to develop a list of potential guests who could attend my classes and speak to my students on a practical level. As  well as consider topics such as sustainable development goals, and how this will be achieved. As a healthcare lecturer, the discussion regardless the sustainable development goals occur frequently.

Net Support Radio

Another tool that I felt was quite unusual was the Planet eStream, which allows additional tools of communication for the tutor and student. It can capture lessons by live streaming and store these for the students to access at a later date. As a student, it often easy to miss critical elements of a lesson. Therefore, systems such as these capturing data and material could enhance the students understanding of a topic as they will be able to refer back to the lesson and re-play it.

The safety and wellbeing of children are vital, and in 2018 the Government released new guidance: Keeping Children Safe in Education. Although this refers to children, several areas could be reflected in further or higher education settings. At the Betts event, I come across My Concern, who have developed a detailed summary of changes, which was provided to me. One of the topics which stood out to me was early help and establishing when additional support. 

I walked away with a number of leaflets and additional tools that could be developed in my classes. I am looking forward to attending next years, re-connect with fellow educators, who I have met.

Division of Clinical Psychology Annual Conference 2020

Although it is still only January, I have been so lucky to be invited to present my research twice within such a short space of time, firstly at the Gender Studies conference, then the Division of Clinical Psychology Annual Conference 2020. This conference was a little different from the typical conferences I attend. As a majority of conferences, I attend have a connection directly to domestic abuse/violence or gender studies; therefore, I was a little anxious due to not having a psychology background, that I would not acknowledge or blend into the fellow professionals there. I am always nervous when it comes to conferences, although I teach, and have presented this research several times, the butterflies remain. I had nothing to worry about, the attendees were very engaging, and I had several conversations throughout the day regarding the domestic abuse research and how my research had made some of the psychologies re-think regarding some of the experiences mentioned by their male clients. Therefore, making me question whether my research question needed to branch out even further and consider psychologies or counsellors, as this was not asked originally in my research, as the original focus was on accident and emergency healthcare professionals and their knowledge of domestic abuse. Yet participants did comment on their experiences when attending other services, such as dentists, pharmacies, their GPs, and walk-in-centres. Therefore if I had asked the question regarding psychologies or counsellors, would there be more information disclosed, will always be a question that remains.


I attend both days of the conference, 22nd, and 23rd January. Several key themes were discussed throughout the day that piqued my interest. One theme that was discussed many times is ACES (adverse childhood experiences) and the link to the potential of poor mental health and how it affects education. I have always found ACES very interesting, due to the number of studies linked to domestic abuse and sexual violence.


Several presentations were very empowering and encouraging to see the development of research in fields that desperately need it. As well as seeing the positive impact these projects have had on people’s lives. One of the projects I am referring to is the homelessness and mental health: setting up a service, focusing on empowering people and improving success rates of placements. Another part of the conference, I found very interesting is ‘Make My City Fair’ focusing on Birmingham, and how it can flourish from poverty. The session reviewed different strategies on how to achieve this, by challenging austerity, and unethical political movement, as well as ensuring people are working together to achieve. Thus, creating a fairer Birmingham.


One of the symposia topics I found interesting was the focus on naming power and power abuses. This focused upon understanding the gender inequalities that have been argued over the years, and whether the Power Threat Meaning Framework can offer psychologies a new approach to understand the social injustices and inequalities one suffers, and being able to re-place into a broader context. Thus, referring to the politics and social determinants of health. The Power Threat Meaning Framework was launched back in 2018, following a five-year project to understand the patterns of distress and the roles of power dynamics. The exciting element of the Power Threat Meaning Framework is that it simply can be applied to anyone, as we all at some stage, we may feel some social and political distress and injustice.


No more case studies, was another enlightening part of the conference, questioning whether authors should be offering their own experiences, rather than depicting someone else’s story or journey. As a researcher, and supervisor of dissertations, often case studies are reviewed, and other people’s stories told by our voice. Therefore, this segment made me re-think whether when telling peoples stories, do researchers do them justice. This presentation focused on the reflection of the process of writing and sharing the author’s own story, their experiences, hopes, fears, and vision. Therefore, leading me to question whether people prefer to be anonymous or to be named and whether there are external factors that influence this decision making. Thus, making me question why there are some stories that I would not feel comfortable sharing, and whether there are fears, that maybe I had not considered before this session. One of the most challenging stories that I have only recently begun to feel comfortable to discuss is my dyslexia, and this comes a year after diagnosis. Although many have been supportive and encouraged me, I had an intern fear of not meeting the expectations of others, as though an overshadowing dark cloud followed me as I re-questioned everything I had previously done. There are some elements to this story; I am still not ready to share, which is why this presentation was so impressionable and has made me re-think my journey. As those who share their stories, often empower others to come forward and seek support.


There were also many posters on display across the two days, which were fascinating; these included the effect of a mindless intervention in the amelioration of purposeful life index and embitterment in breast cancer patients. I found this was interesting due to the topic of breast cancer, as it is very close to me but also how mindfulness programs can empower someone with breast cancer. As though in a way, heal them mentally, as described by a family member. Another poster I found interesting was focusing on suicidal and self-harming behaviours in children with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. This project focused on data collected from self-reports and caregiver reports, measuring mental health and daily functioning. The research suggests that it is highly prevalent that these children experience suicidal and self-harming thoughts.

Division of Clinical Psychology Annual Conference 2020 – Abstracts

4th International Gender Studies Conference 19/01/20

On the 19th January 2020, I attended the 4th International Gender Studies Conference in Leeds, hosted by CRSSH, and feel incredibly luckily to be offered the opportunity to present my research “Do healthcare professionals have adequate knowledge to support male domestic abuse victims?”. This is the second time this research has been shared at an international level. The conference had attendees from all of the world; South Africa, China, USA, Germany and the United Kingdom to name a few. The conferences focus was to discuss and debate different gender matters, such as education, LGBTQIA inequalities and gender inequalities for both male and females.

There were a number of questions following my presentation, including whether there had been further development in healthcare training packages, as well as whether the research could be mirrored looking at female victims. Another question, was how I managed such data vast amount of data, as there were 100 participants. My answer is a lot of Lucozade, countless nights awake and hardly any social life for many months, while I reviewed the participants answers, created the charts and developed the common themes.

There were a number of speakers attending studying a variety of gender studies. A few that peaked my interest was on following on the gender relationships in elementary schools in Quebec, which focused on whether the teachers gender affects the learning outcomes of the students and whether male dominance could be influence schooling. Another research study I found quite interesting was the classroom as closet, following on the sexuality of teachers in China, mainly focusing on gay men, and how they often have to ‘remain in the closet’ as it were when teaching due to the influence and control of the government on society.  I am looking forward to reading more of this research as it develops.

On the website my research has been commented, on which is below (please note I have copied and pasted the comments below from the website – however I have edited my name to reflect upon my double-barred surname, but no additional edits have been made to the comment below. ) https://www.socialsciencesandhumanities.com/gender-conference-2/

“For example, Natalie Quinn- Walker from Wolverhampton University debated the position of male domestic abuse victims and the patriarchal discrimination they face. As all feminists know, in a patriarchal society both men and women face expectations and thus men are expected to be strong and not show emotions whilst women are expected to be caregivers and caring. As soon as someone does not fit into this role, problems emerge and, in this case,, the problem emerged with healthcare professionals who do not always know how to handle male domestic abuse victims and provide them adequate support.”

Blended Learning

A blended learning approach also known as hybrid learning engages students to engage with activities outside of their designated class time, which enhances their learning. Newey (2018) suggests that a blended approach to learning incorporates face-to-face and online training methods, therefore increasing engagement and collaboration between the students and enabling a more significant understanding of the assignment, from my personal experience. The flexibility of a blended learning approach is essential for many students, in-particular mature students who may be working and caring for children along their studies. Therefore, providing an additional reach to people who may feel unable to commit to the traditional settings of learning. As well as this, the training can be personalised to them, with the students becoming more centralised to their learning. Blending learning has dramatically grown within the last ten years, with courses offering more online resources and filling them gaps of learning experience and placing the students back in control of their own learning.

Al-Bashir, Kabir, and Rahman (2016) recommend a blended approach, as multiple learning styles can be addressed. This is vital for student success, as everyone learns differently. A blended learning approach to my lessons ensures all students feel engaged with the topic, and it addresses all learning styles of my students. Adopting a blended learning approach encourages the students to self-pace their independent studying, and the use of online activities allows the students to remain active learners in their own time (Ryan, 2001). Thus, why I have adopted this approach to my teaching style. The use of online activities I feel are essential for the students, as they provide the opportunity for the students to share ideas, as well as providing a safe environment for debates on topics. Osho (2018) emphases the importance of using a range of teaching methods as it ensures inclusivity and increases participation rates. Each student has different levels experience, and if the activities are too difficult, this may result in the students losing interest. However, it is essential also to ensure students who have little or no experience do not feel engaged with. Thus, when creating lesson activities, I consider formatting the lessons to cater for all experiences. Therefore, when we review case studies in class, I mix up the class arranging each group with a mixture of different experiences.

Reference list:  

Al-Bashir, M., Kabir, R. and Rahman, I. (2016) The value and effectiveness of feedback in improving students learning and professionalizing teaching in higher education. Journal of Education and Practice. 7(16). Pp. 38 – 41

Newey, M. (2018) The impact of a blended learning approach. [online]. London: E-Learning Industry Available from: https://elearningindustry.com/blended-learning-approach-impact

Ryan, S. (2001). Is online learning right for you? New York: American Agent & Broker, 73(6), 54-58.

Osho, Y.,I. (2018) More than just widening participation. [online]. London: Higher Education Academy. Available at:

https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/blog/more-just-widening-participation

My Approach to Student Feedback

Providing student feedback is a vital part of their learning and development. In the first lesson of each module, I spend time discussing the module assessment and begin to address any questions that the student immediately has. This is extremely important, as these questions may fester, and students may become more nervous as time lapses. My role is to provide guidance and information to the students and provide an introductory lesson into the marking scheme. Introductory lessons are vital for students to allow them to understand what is required in their assignments (Rolfe, Fresher, and Jasper, 2001).

Providing feedback is essential; however, the students must engage with the feedback and expand upon it. It is vital that too much feedback is not provided, for example, by commenting on every sentence as it does not allow the students the opportunity to develop their points. Sadler (1989) explains that feedback is the ability for students to re-focus their thoughts on the gaps of their work and aim to redefine these and understand the importance of why these gaps need to be addressed.

I tend to avoid the use of comments such as ‘nice work’ for students, I prefer to state, ‘this is a good start to your assignment, there are additional areas which you could build upon such as…’. This then encourages the students to review the feedback and begin to expand on the areas discussed. The provision of quality feedback encourages the student to focus upon their learning and develop their writing skills rather than fixate on their current task (Gibbs and Simpson, 2004). By providing comments such as ‘nice work,’ ‘you have smashed it,’ does not provide the students will encourage to expand their assignment further. Instead, I feel it limits the students, as they may believe they are not required to add or review their work. Peergrade (2016) argues comments such as ‘nice work’ ensure the student is not in doubt; however, it provides limited constructive feedback.

Bellon, Bellon, and Blank (1991) believe feedback needs to be consistent across all students and focus upon empowering and building student confidence. However, it can be difficult if students provide a limited sample of their work. Therefore, when providing feedback, I break it down into sections to allow the students to understand how they need to develop. I use phrases such as ‘You have explained the …. theory well, to enhance this further you need to provide supportive references’ or ‘That is an excellent point, how would you further expand this?’ prompting the students to review these critical aspects of the assignment. Gibbs and Simpsons (2004) emphasise the importance of quality feedback, as it allows the students to focus on areas that they have missed or needed to further expand upon, which I believe I provide with my suggestive comments.

Rimm-Kaufman and Sandilos (2019) recommend constructive feedback, as it results in a positive relationship with students as students feel they are being empowered by their lecturer to improve themselves. Furthermore, Rimm-Kaufman and Sandilos (2019) state it is vital for lecturers to praise their students rather than criticising their work. Thus, the importance of my approach of the one to two positive, one improvement approach. I use sentences such as “The topic you have selected it very interesting, and you clearly have read around the topic well. To further support your arguments, I would recommend reviewing additional journal articles from the last five years”. Furthermore, providing encouragement rather than criticism. Other comments I have used are, “You have grasped a good understanding of the topic, and can you gain additional marks source further references to argue your point across.”

Reference List:

Bellon, J.J., Bellon, E.C. & Blank, M.A. (1991) Teaching from a Research Knowledge Base: A Development and Renewal Process. Facsimile edition. Prentice Hall, New Jersey, USA.

Gibbs, G. & Simpson, C. (2004) Conditions under which assessment supports students’ learning Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. Available at http://www.glos.ac.uk/shareddata/dms/2B70988BBCD42A03949CB4F3CB78A516.pdf.

Peergrade. (2016) Can negative feedback drive students? Available at: https://medium.com/peergrade-io/can-negative-feedback-drive-students-2d2eea420dee

Rimm-Kaufman, S. and Sandilos, L. (2019) Improving students’ relationship with teachers to provide essential supports for learning. Available at: https://www.apa.org/education/k12/relationships

Rolfe, G., Freshwater, D. and Jasper, M (2001) Critical reflection in nursing and the helping professions: a user’s guide. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Sadler, R. (1989). Formative assessment and the design of instructional systems. Instructional Science. 18. Pp. 119 – 144.

3rd European Conference on Domestic Violence

In 2019, I was invited to present my Master’s research focusing on male domestic abuse victim’s experiences when seeking medical assistance at accident and emergency services in the United Kingdom at the 3rd European Conference on Domestic Violence. I felt honoured to be asked, especially as the majority of those attending had been working within the field for many, many years. As my research had yet to be published, it was incredible that the abstract I provided was selected. The conference took place in Oslo, Norway, which is a stunning city. This trip was not only my first international conference but the first international trip solo. Therefore, I felt the importance of building as many bridges with people from different areas of expertise within the field of domestic abuse/violence and learn from those who have produced numerous research papers. As well as maintain safe. I connected with several attendees and formed a small group of women researchers. The group kept in touch throughout the conference, discussing which sessions we would be going to next, as well as support one another when each of us presented our findings.

My A0 sized poster was on display from 1st to 4th September, with mini A4 versions available to hand out to attendees. I underestimated the level of interest of my research and had printed only 100 A4 copies of my poster. By the end of day two, I only had twenty posters left. Therefore, I handed out my business cards to many more attendees. If you wish to receive an A4 breakdown of the presentation, I am more than happy to provide one.

Not only did I feel honoured to be asked to present, but the feedback I received was very enlightening and allowed me to understand the additional barriers for victims that had not been explored within my research. There was another question regarding the backstories of the participants and the reasons why I focused on male victims attending emergency services. Thus, allowing me to defend the importance of my research and allowed me to explore the reasons behind my research topic.

Daily I present to my students, and I have presented my research at several conferences across the UK. Although I feel very comfortable presenting, even though I still get nervous every day, which I feel benefits my approach. This prep did not assist in me presenting my research to some of the keynote speakers of the event or people I have previously referenced. I had the opportunity to discuss my research project with both Rebecca and Russell Dobash, who’s work I have read and referenced. As well as discussing my research, I had the opportunity to discuss their research, in-particular with Per Isdal, who keynotes on consequences of working with violence highlighted the importance of professionals monitoring and caring for their mental health as he described that there’s a risk of secondary traumatisation, when working within fields such as domestic abuse.

I felt this conference gave me the confidence boost I needed as I have struggled over the last year with personal issues and my research. The overwhelmingly positive comments gave me the push I needed to refocus.

European Conference 2019 – Programme: https://ecdv-oslo.org/files/2019/08/ECDV-Conference2019-WEB.pdf

PhD Research Blog Research Are Male Victims Voices Heard?

Domestic abuse has increasingly become a Public Health concern due to the emotional, physical and financial stress is has upon society. Even though the demand for supportive service is growing yearly, statistics are not a true representation of the issue. Many victims may not report their abuse due to stigma and in-particular male victims struggle with society’s expectation of being robust alpha males. 

Male victims may face immediate barriers to disclosure, in-particular within their family or friend circles. Understanding the main causes of these could improve further development of educational tools. I am interested in assisting in empowering further male victims to report their abuse and educate the nation of how to response to a disclosure. Victims must build their confidence to report, and if their initial disclosure is met with negativity, it can result in them not seeking professional help or reporting their abuse. Reviewing whether male victims feel supported and their voices heard in their initial disclosure, will provide an outlook of how society views domestic abuse. Revisiting their experiences will capture the raw information of the true stories behind the statics and provide an in-depth understanding of the potential failures of society in protecting and supporting male domestic abuse victims. Thus, resulting in my question: Are male domestic abuse victims voices heard when disclosing their abuse?

My Teaching Vision

No student should feel left behind in teaching, and when I am teaching, my ultimate aim is for all my students to feel comfortable to approach me with any problems or queries regardless of whether its course-related or personal. Therefore, creating a strong foundation of trust and respect between the lecturer and student. Students at University should be treated to a warm welcome when joining and feel they have been provided the platform to develop and build strong relationships for their career progression. Student’s learning curve has changed over the last twenty years due to technological advantages, and I feel the need is to ensure this is incorporated into their learning objectives and the learning methods.

Relationship building between students and lecturers is one core element to the development and progression of students. From my own experience, as a student having an open dialogue with a lecturer has inspired me to progress further. Thus, allowing my thirst for my research to develop further. Providing a supportive network for students enables growth, enables their confidence to build, leading to academic success. By building a conversation with students via the preferred methods, emails, or meetings could allow for resolution of any issues the student may feel. As a previous student, it is essential for fellow students to feel they’re a visual presence, to ensure students can notify their lecturer of concerns and know whom to direct queries to.

Teaching aims to provide students will ample opportunities to explore themselves, feel empowered, and continue to have a thirst for knowledge post-education. By developing a blended learning approach, a visible teaching sphere of influence within their subject area will occur, inspiring the next generation of students. Thus, providing students the opportunity to be exposed to relevant information and concepts that could assist them in their future careers.

First Blog

Hello, and welcome to my blog. I am hoping you find my blogging page very interesting as it will be exploring a variety of different topics. The blogs will explore areas of fields I am particularly interested in, including domestic abuse, teaching, sexual violence, and sexual health, to name a few. I will be sharing some of my journeys with my Ph.D. This will include blogs on presentations, negative and positive feedback, and some of the challenges I had to face during this time. I hope you enjoy the blogs, and there is an opportunity to sign up for regular updates of the blog too.