Across social media, parents-to-be discuss childbirth classes with each other. They often ask if taking a class is a good idea or ask for suggestions for which type of class to take. One common reply from other parents is they “didn’t learn anything from their class” and don’t recommend others take the same type of class.
Why do some parents make this claim?
We did some investigating and found a few common reasons:
- Class was too technical, intimidating, scary, etc.
- Too many crafts and games
- Class was boring with too much lecturing
- No connection between the information given and how to use it during labor
- Information was all a review
Essentially, parents were not connecting with the information and teaching style, or they were already well-educated and didn't gleam anything new in class.
Overcoming this Perception
Maybe you have received similar comments from some of your class attendees. While it is easy to feel discouraged with less than glowing feedback, it is possible to use that feedback in a way that helps you “level up” in your teaching skills. Here are some strategies that can boost engagement and learning in your classes:
- Survey parents before class to identify their top interests and key “need to know” questions.
- Do a quiz at the start of class to gauge comprehension.
- Explain why the information matters and how they will use it.
- Tell stories to explain topics (maintain privacy of story subjects).
- Provide an outline for each class.
- Follow up with additional resources, including optional learning for those who want to go more in depth.
- Role play so parents can practice how to ask questions and make decisions. This is more practical than attempting to teach everything about every subject.
Support Learning Beyond the Class
Assigning homework, sending follow up information and using professional print resources are great ways to add value and promote additional learning in your classes. Your emails to students can be overlooked and single handouts often find their way into the nearest trashcan, but workbooks and packets are beautiful supplements that most parents appreciate. Why is that?
- Parents can keep up with a workbook or booklet more easily than single pieces of paper.
- Print resources allow for notetaking alongside the content. Parents may have their own “aha!” moments or additional questions and comments for a later time.
- Workbooks and booklets contain illustrations that solidify your teaching content.
- High-quality resources incorporate image diversity that allow parents to see themselves and make connections with the material.
As an educator, you know how important it is to keep your content interesting, fresh, current, and evidence based. Integrating new teaching strategies, including professional print resources, can help take your education classes to the next level and leave your students confident and ready for their upcoming birth experience.
Sherri Wilkerson CD(DONA), LCCE
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