I have assembled 10 key principles of teaching effective childbirth education classes, and am briefly addressing them in this blog. Part 2 in the Series is "Preparation of A Dynamic Course Lesson Plan.Over the course of the next 10 blogs entries, I will address each one of these key principles so that you can enhance your own childbirth education classes!
Developing a childbirth education class curriculum/lesson plan isn’t as easy as some might think! You just can’t say, in class number 3, medications will be covered. One has to dissect the material, get the evidence to back what is said, and estimate the timing of the discussion. Additionally, and perhaps even more importantly, the teaching strategies must be effective and fun!
It is generally accepted that lesson plans include the topic, behavioral objectives, an outline to fit the objectives, timing of the presentation and teaching strategies. When more than one presenter is involved, an extra column could be inserted to prompt when each presenter is teaching. A form would look something like the one below:
Behavioral objectives, learning objectives, instructional objectives, and performance objectives are terms that refer to descriptions of observable student behavior or performance that are used to make judgments about learning. Whether you are a childbirth educator, doula, nurse, lactation educator or trainer, at some point you will be asked to write behavioral objectives.
While some feel that writing behavioral objectives is a waste of time, it is generally felt that using behavioral objectives allows the educator to actually see what will be covered during a specific time period and not to overwhelm the student. Using objectives help to clarify what details to include under what generalized topic area, plus allows for examination of the order in which topics and details will fall. Further, using behavioral objectives promotes creativity with the educator when developing teaching strategies for use with all learner types. For more about writing behavioral objectives for childbirth education, click here.
Included also in the lesson plan are any materials needed by either the presenter or the students. This could be anything from a pencil, to videos to teaching tools. A plan for “homework” to maintain continuity from session to session may be desired as well as an opportunity for review from previous session and an informal evaluation of understanding at the end of each session.
Many childbirth educators also find it helpful to write an overall objective before each class. This will help them stay on topic when writing the lesson plan and also allow for deeper consideration of why a topic needs to be presented during that class. Often, educators find they want to present much more material than there is time for. Historically, childbirth education classes are shorter now than in the late 60’s and 70’s. Less information is being presented and the incidence of fear, interventions and disillusionment with birth is on the rise. I see a correlation.