Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Developing Strength as a Childbirth Educator Part 2 - Curriculum Straight Talk

Curriculum (noun). Broadly defined as the totality of student experiences that occur in the educational process; may be tightly standardized or created with learner autonomy in mind.

To begin writing a childbirth education curriculum may seem as if you are staring up at Mount Everest.  However, if you eat the elephant one small bite at a time, you actually can have a dynamic and robust curriculum created in no time.

Step 1  Identify your need. 
Will you be teaching a traditional, all-encompassing childbirth class? Comfort measures class? VBAC class?  Planned cesarean class? Newborn care class?  This will help you to focus on the content that counts for this step.

Step 2 Make a list of topics.
Using a medium that is familiar for you, list all of the possible topics to be covered in a childbirth education class.  Purchase a pack of index cards and begin writing one topic on each card with a marker.  Make the writing large.  To help you, here is a generic list of topics – Click Here.

Step 3 Create Objectives.
Objectives or “behaviorial” objectives are terms that refer to descriptions of observable or measurable student behavior or performance.  Objectives must be measurable (List 3 types of comfort measures) and begin with a measurable behavioral verb.  Generally there is an objective for each topic covered. For more on writing behavioral objectives, Click Here.

Step 4 Write an Outline.
Once you have taken your index cards and placed them in an order that is logical and flowing, you can then write a sentence outline from the cards.  This is where research is necessary to create the outline from which you will be teaching!

Step 5 Identify the teaching strategies that will meet the learners’ needs.
In the 2nd edition of my book, Innovative Teaching Strategies for Birth Professionals, I talk
about the different types of learners that you may have in your childbirth class, their needs, and give you a wide variety of teaching strategies to meet those needs.  You can order the book from Praeclarus Press – Click Here.

Step 6 Putting it all together.
There are four major parts to a curriculum: objectives, content (outline), timing and teaching strategies. Most organization who certify childbirth educators and nursing organizations through which you might eventually seek contact hours require a standard framework of curriculum.  Here is the framework and example of how to put it all together – Click Here.

But what about timing?  Yes, after you’ve put it all together, it is time to see if it all fits into the amount of time you have for the class.  You’ve identified that certain topics will be taught on certain days.  Now you will need to actually do a “run through” and time yourself in order to give yourself an idea of how long it will take to cover a certain topic.

For example, you thought it would take you 20 minutes to adequately cover cesarean births in class. You might find, however, that after teaching all that you have on your outline, answering questions and perhaps showing a video – your total amount of time for covering cesarean births has risen to 45 minutes or even 60 minutes!  Once you have the most accurate timing for each topic or objective, it is time to write that number of minutes in the “Time” area of the framework.

With some presentations, you may be asked to also supply your references.  An excellent resource for learning reference formatting is The Purdue University Online Writing Lab.  To read more, Click Here.

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