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Series: Journey to LCCE Certification – Countdown to the Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator Exam

September 25th, 2014 by avatar

By Cara Terreri, BA, Community Manager for Lamaze International’s Giving Birth With Confidence blog

Cara Terreri has been documenting her path to become a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator since taking her workshop in August of 2012, in our series: Journey to LCCE Certification. Today ,we have another update as she prepares to sit for the exam next month.  The LCCE credentials are the gold standard for childbirth educators and Cara, along with many other men and women worldwide, are seeing the culmination of learning and preparation coming to a close with an exam date scheduled for late October.  Get an update on Cara and share your exam tips for Cara and others in our comments section. Interested in becoming an LCCE? Find out more. – Sharon Muza, Community Manager, Science & Sensibility.

© Cara Terreri

© Cara Terreri

Since my last installment, my life has taken a near 180 degree turn. Birth work still remains my professional priority and passion of course, but after a huge move out of state, I will now pursue doula work and childbirth education – as well as take the LCCE exam — in Myrtle Beach, SC. When I would have been preparing to take the exam in April in Atlanta, I was in the thick of selling my house, packing out, and preparing my family to move to the East Coast. Thankfully, Lamaze gives you the option to defer taking the exam.

With one month to go until the exam date, I am spending my afternoons and evenings poring over the pages of the Lamaze Study Guide, in particular, the “review” sections for each core competency. Reviewing key questions help me to understand my weak points (pregnancy complications and prenatal tests) and give me a tighter focal point for studying. To further boost my knowledge, I attended the fantastic Lamaze International/DONA International joint conference (“confluence”) last week – the timing couldn’t have been better! The insightful sessions echoed many of the themes throughout the Study Guide. But perhaps most important, I was able to speak directly with several LCCEs about their experience with the exam. I heard things like “fair,” “read questions closely,” “common sense,” and “you’ll do great!”

In the days to follow, I plan to take the Exam Prep Course from Lamaze, which includes a practice test. I feel fairly confident about my depth of knowledge, but this is like the extra bit of insurance I want before the big day.

Of course, taking the LCCE exam is just the tip of the iceberg for me professionally, since having relocated to a new area. Now that my kids are in school and we’re more settled, my goal is to build relationships with local educators, doulas, and lactation professionals, along with moms and families. Lots of work to do, and I’m so energized by my drive to help women and families, I want to do it all! But I remind myself that the key is to help, not help everyone. This will likely be my life’s work and because it is not my sole source of income currently, I do as much as I can that works into my stage and place in life.

Readers, I would love to hear your thoughts on the Lamaze exam! Any last-minute tips? Suggestions for studying?  How to calm those last minute jitters? And of course, positive thoughts in my (and all the exam test takers) direction would be much appreciated next month on “game day”!  I will update readers after I take the exam.  And of course, will share my results – hopefully a passing grade.

About Cara Terreri

Cara began working with Lamaze two years before she became a mother. Somewhere in the process of poring over marketing copy in a Lamaze brochure and birthing her first child, she became an advocate for childbirth education. Three kids later (and a whole lot more work for Lamaze), Cara is the Site Administrator for Giving Birth with Confidence, the Lamaze blog for and by women and expectant families. Cara continues to have a strong passion for the awesome power and beauty in pregnancy and birth, and for helping women to discover their own power and ability through birth. It is her hope that through the GBWC site, women will have a place to find and offer positive support to other women who are going through the amazing journey to motherhood.

 

2014 Confluence, Childbirth Education, Giving Birth with Confidence, Lamaze International, Series: Journey to LCCE Certification , , , ,

The Science Behind the Lamaze Exam and the Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator Credentials

May 1st, 2014 by avatar

Last week, around the world, candidates for certification sat for the Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator exam.  That test represented the culmination of weeks, months and often years of planning, preparation, studying and hard work.  While the results are still some weeks out, I thought it would be interesting to learn about the science behind the Lamaze exam and what makes it the gold standard of childbirth educator certifications from Judith Lothian, PhD, RN, LCCE, FACCE, the chairperson of the Lamaze Certification Council Governing Body. Today’s families deserve the best, so they can push for their baby, with all the evidence and research that stands behind the LCCE credentials of their childbirth educator. Learn more about attending a Lamaze workshop and explore becoming an LCCE yourself so you can offer families in your community the gold standard of childbirth education. – Sharon Muza, Science & Sensibility Community Manager.
LCCE

Lamaze International is extremely proud of the fact that the Lamaze certification examination is the only examination for childbirth educators that is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).  Achieving and maintaining this accreditation is a rigorous and ongoing process.

Accreditation by NCCA assures you that the exam you take will accurately measure the competencies of a childbirth educator. The seven competencies of a Lamaze Childbirth Educator are supported by job analysis research that is done every 5-7 years. The last job analysis was conducted in 2012. The results of that analysis were published in the latest issue of the Journal of Perinatal Education. Lamaze members may access the full journal online after logging in to the Lamaze website. Basing the exam on the results of a job analysis is an important way to ensure that the exam accurately evaluates the competencies of a childbirth educator. Fairness is a very important issue and to that end NCCA has evaluated our policies, our procedures and the actual exam, including the construction of items and the exam itself as well as the evaluation of its performance. The NCCA stamp of approval is a vote of confidence that experts in the certification field believe that the Lamaze certification policies are fair and that the certificate examination accurately evaluates the competencies of a Lamaze Certified childbirth educator.

Lamaze is the only childbirth educator certification program that has received NCCA accreditation. Professional standards set by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence describe the difference between professional certification and assessment based certificate programs. “Professional or personnel certification is a voluntary process by which individuals’ pre-acquired knowledge, skills, or competencies are evaluated against predetermined standards. The focus is on an assessment that is independent of a specific class, course, or other education/training program. Participants who demonstrate that they meet the standards by successfully completing the assessment process are granted the certification.” The American College of Nurse Midwives and the International Board of Certified Lactation Consultants are examples, like Lamaze, of professional certification.

In contrast, an assessment-based certificate program is a non-degree granting educational program that provides instruction and training to help participants gain specific knowledge and skills and then evaluates achievement of expected learning outcomes and awards a certificate to those who successfully pass the assessment. Childbirth educator certifications, other than Lamaze, are assessment-based certificate programs. Because of this, many educators who have childbirth educator credentials from other organizations  choose to sit for the Lamaze exam.

Why is this important? It assures you that the certification examination has met the rigorous standards of professional certification, that the exam is fair and actually measures what it is should to insure that you indeed have achieved the competencies to practice as a Lamaze childbirth educator.

The certification exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions and the questions reflect the essential information a childbirth educator should know (the competencies of a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator). An inside look at the process of item writing and exam construction and evaluation will give you a taste for how rigorous, and interesting, the process actually is.

The exams are put together by a test development committee that meets twice a year for 4-5 days. The committee includes expert childbirth educators, a public member who is not a childbirth educator, and, often a novice childbirth educator (a high scorer on a recent exam). Using the test blueprint (based on the latest job analysis) the committee writes questions and then a smaller group “constructs” individual exams from the item bank of questions.

nccaDraft items are written in small groups, usually 2 or 3 educators. It is actually very, very difficult to develop a fair question that measures knowledge and skills that are important for the childbirth educator to know. It is tedious work and challenges all of us without exception! Once a small group has developed an item they think has potential it is, often with great trepidation, presented to the entire committee for discussion. Leon Gross, PhD, the psychometrician (a testing specialist) is at the meetings and at this stage he will often point out potential psychometric issues related to the items, including things like “it’s too long”, “there is extraneous information,” “could there be 2 answers?” In developing and evaluating each item we ask ourselves: Is it clear? Is there only one right answer? Do we know the right answer (if we don’t then we most definitely do not use it)? Is there any overlap in the answers? We edit each draft item for content and language, keeping in mind, that the distracters (the wrong answers) should be “plausable”. It is an extremely honest and often raucous process! We all have to be prepared to have our questions torn apart! It helps to have a sense of humor and remind ourselves of the importance of the process. Then the committee decides to either put the questions in the permanent item bank or not. The entire process is done with expert psychometric support.

Our philosophy, in the writing of the items, in the evaluation of the items, and then ultimately choosing the items that will be on each exam, is that we only test what is really important to know. There are no intentional “trick” questions. It’s important to know that if the committee struggles with identifying the correct answer it is automatically not used. And, the questions are written in order to evaluate the competencies of what we constantly refer to as the ‘just good enough candidate.’ So, this is most definitely not an exam where you have to be an “expert” to pass. In order to pass this exam you need to be “just good enough”. This exam is intended to measure competencies of a beginning childbirth educator.

When the committee decides to put a question in the item bank we then establish the level of difficulty for the question. We look at each correct answer and then we look at distractors, the wrong answers. We discuss the distracters related to how plausible this distracter would be to a candidate who is just able to pass the exam. This is an example of the process:

What is the capital of Maryland?
1. Baltimore
2. Chevy Chase
3. Annapolis
4. Fredricksburg

There is one correct answer and three distracters. If you know the capital of Maryland, this is a very easy question. It’s straight recall. If you, however, don’t know what the capital of Maryland is, then you will be tempted to go for a plausible but wrong answer. The correct answer is Annapolis, but Baltimore is a plausible answer because it’s the largest city in Maryland and, of these four choices, it is the most well-known city. For someone who does not know for sure that Annapolis is the capital of Maryland they would be tempted to think it was Baltimore. Therefore, we would label Annapolis the correct answer and Baltimore a “sophisticated distracter”. We aim to have at least 50% of the exam questions with “sophisticated distracters”. The more questions with sophisticated distracters the higher the level of difficulty of the exam. It’s important to know this to understand how the passing score is determined for each test administration.

This exam is criterion referenced which means that the passing score is determined before the test is given based on the level of difficulty of the questions on the exam. Candidates who sit for the exam are never compared to each other and the passing scored is determined by how difficult the questions are, not a predetermined passing score. Candidates are evaluated against a standard not against the scores of the other candidates sitting for the exam. The more items on the exam that have sophisticated distracters, the higher the level of difficulty, the lower the score you need to pass. The fewer items with sophisticated distracters, the higher the score is that you need to pass the exam. The pass score, the cut score, for passing the Lamaze certification exam has over the last years ranged 70 to about 75.

After the exam is given, the exam is scored and reviewed by the psychometrician. A detailed statistical analysis is done. There is an analysis of each item on the exam. How many testing participants got the answer right? What distracters did those who got it wrong go for? The item analysis also identifies what percentage of the high scorers got the question correct and what percentage of the low scores got the question correct. A “good” question statistically is one that discriminates between the high scorers and low scorers. This means that you would expect a high percentage of the people that did well overall on the exam to get a question correct and those that did not perform as well on the overall exam to get the question wrong. If we find that there is an item that most of the low scores got correct and only a few of the high scorers got that question correct, we would wonder why.

After the psychometrician reviews the overall exam and each item, he will flag the questions that may look like they may not be “performing” well. The small group that constructed the exam meets by conference call to discuss both the flagged items and the comments the candidates have made related to the exam. Every comment is reviewed. Whether or not we keep an item, or don’t keep the item, is the decision of the committee. We also look at the performance of the exams that are translated into other languages and look at how individual questions performed for instance in Spanish compared to in English. We try to determine if there are cultural differences or whether there are translation problems. At times a question may be deleted from scoring in a language other than English and not in the English exam. Once we determine if there are items we will drop then the psychometrician will re-score the exam and determine, based now on the questions that remain on the exam (and their level of difficulty), a final cut score. It takes about 6 weeks to get exam results. During that time the certification team is working hard to make sure your exam is fairly evaluated.

The rigor of developing the exam, including the job analysis, and then the scoring of the exam are only one part of the requirements for NCCA accreditation. In addition, our policies and procedures related to everything from exam eligibility and grievance procedures, as well as confidentiality issues and the qualifications of both the staff and volunteers involved in the certification process, are rigorously evaluated. The end result, we hope, is a valid, reliable, fair certification exam that protects the value of the LCCE credential, and, most importantly, assures women and their families that the Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator is competent. NCCA accreditation is a vote of confidence that we are indeed doing what we intend.

Are you an LCCE?  Can you share why you chose Lamaze International and your journey?  Are you considering becoming a childbirth educator?  Have you explored Lamaze as an option?  I invite you to consider certifying with Lamaze International and achieving the gold standard for childbirth educators. – SM

About Judith Lothian

@ Judith Lothian

@ Judith Lothian

Judith Lothian, PhD, RN, LCCE, FACCE is a nurse and childbirth educator. She is an Associate Professor at the College of Nursing, Seton Hall University and the current Chairperson of the Lamaze Certification Council Governing Body. Judith is also the Associate Editor of the Journal of Perinatal Education and writes a regular column for the journal. Judith is the co-author of The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth with Confidence. Her research focus is planned home birth and her most recent publication is Being Safe: Making the Decision to Have a Planned Home Birth in the US published in the Journal of Clinical Ethics (Fall 2013).

Childbirth Education, Evidence Based Medicine, Guest Posts, Journal of Perinatal Education, Lamaze International, Lamaze Official Guide Book, Push for Your Baby, Research, Series: Journey to LCCE Certification , , , , , , ,

Series: Journey Towards LCCE Certification – Update: Preparing for the Exam

March 11th, 2014 by avatar

By Cara Terreri, BA, Community Manager for Lamaze International’s Giving Birth With Confidence blog

Many of you may be busy preparing to sit for the exam that, will, upon passing, bestow the credentials; Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE) after your name.  The exam will be held during the 23-25th of April, 2014.  For some of you, this has been a long time coming and you have been working steadily working towards your goal.  For others, it has been a whirlwind of workshops and prep and observed teaching.  Regardless, now the exam date is nearing.  We have been following Cara Terreri, the community manager for Lamaze International’s parent blog, Giving Birth with Confidence, on her journey to become Lamaze certified in a regular series on this blog.  Read all of the posts to get the back story on Cara’s childbirth educator journey. Today, Cara updates us as she is counting down the days to the exam.  If you were considering taking the exam, but thought you missed the deadline, please be aware that the registration deadline has been extended until March 17th!  There is still time for you to register!  Contact the Lamaze International Certification Associate for questions and information about the process or to register for the April exam. -Sharon Muza, Science & Sensibility Community Manager

good luck signAs the April Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator exam date draws closer, I finding myself knee deep in studying. Of course, this is on top of finishing certification requirements for DONA, serving existing doula clients, teaching private childbirth classes, blog writing and management at Giving Birth with Confidence, and of course, my personal life. But who doesn’t have a full plate these days?

There are times when I question my choice to take on this path at a time when my children are young, my days are full, my patience is worn, and my energy wanes. And then, I wrap up teaching a class to first-time parents, and the dad turns to me and says enthusiastically, “Wow, I feel like I learned so much in a short amount of time – this was awesome!” There’s nothing like instant positive feedback to feel a renewed sense of purpose. I never thought I would enjoy the experience of teaching as much as I actually do – I love helping families build their own path to birth and discover confidence that previously didn’t exist. It is because of this desire that I feel an even stronger imperative to complete my Lamaze certification. It’s important to demonstrate to families that what I teach is evidence based and proven.  This is the foundation of today’s Lamaze.

So here I am, committed to my path, and working to fit it all in. I spend my evenings and mornings huddled over the Lamaze Study Guide, with a notebook at my side, jotting down important items – in particular, anything that is unfamiliar or not yet a solid part of my knowledge bank. The Study Guide has been most helpful in identifying several new (to me) reading materials (as well as many that are familiar, including resources from Science & Sensibility!  It’s designed in such a way that reading resources are either hyperlinked directly from the PDF so you can easily click through to the source, or they are included at the end each module. Each module also contains in-depth review questions to that serve as a quiz on the material just covered.

Perhaps most valuable to my confidence in preparing for the exam is the 20+ hours I’ve spent already teaching couples (not to mention the countless hours I’ve spent preparing and researching my curriculum and setting up my business). I feel confident that a good portion of the exam will be testing information that I know, live, and breathe on a daily basis. Of course, there is always more to learn, but I do feel more prepared than if I had not been teaching.

As this is my last update until after I sit for the exam, I would appreciate any words of encouragement – or better yet, study tips! Thanks for taking interest in my journey and supporting me along the way.

Cara- I wish you good luck on the upcoming exam.  I know you are well prepared and understand the material.  My tip for you is to know that you have done your best to prepare, you are ready, and I hope that you feel confident when you test.  Just like labor and birth – one question/contraction at a time!  To all of you who are also preparing at the same time, I wish you well and much success on this next big step.  I invite readers to share their best tip and well wishes for Cara and all the others registered for the exam,  in our comments section below.- SM

About Cara Terreri

Cara began working with Lamaze two years before she became a mother. Somewhere in the process of poring over marketing copy in a Lamaze brochure and birthing her first child, she became an advocate for childbirth education. Three kids later (and a whole lot more work for Lamaze), Cara is the Site Administrator for Giving Birth with Confidence, the Lamaze blog for and by women and expectant families. Cara continues to have a strong passion for the awesome power and beauty in pregnancy and birth, and for helping women to discover their own power and ability through birth. It is her hope that through the GBWC site, women will have a place to find and offer positive support to other women who are going through the amazing journey to motherhood.

 

 

Childbirth Education, Guest Posts, Lamaze International, Series: Journey to LCCE Certification , , , , , , , ,

Series: Journey Towards LCCE Certification Update: I Attended A Birth!

December 4th, 2012 by avatar

By Cara Terreri, BA, Community Manager for Lamaze International’s Giving Birth With Confidence blog

Today is the second post in an occasional series on Science & Sensibility, “Journey to LCCE Certification.”   We are following Cara Terreri as she progresses on the path to become a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator.  Her journey started with her Childbirth Education Seminar and in this post we learn about her experience as an observer at a birth.  In the future, we will continue as she develops her own curriculum, teaches her first classes and sits for the exam.  I invite you to cheer her on and offer your support, suggestions and encouragement based on your own experiences on a similar journey. – Sharon Muza, Community Manager

http://www.flickr.com/photos/d_k/11289947/

Since my last post that talked about beginning my path toward LCCE certification and attending a Lamaze Childbirth Educator Seminar, I have not progressed very far. My day job and family life have taken precedence. That being said, I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to attend a birth! A friend of a friend was due with her second baby and was open to the idea of an almost-complete stranger (me!) attending her birth. I treated the experience as if I were a doula-in-very-early-training and talked at length with the mom about her first birth, her expectations and feelings about her upcoming birth, and my proposed role during her labor and birth. I was upfront in letting her know that while I knew quite a bit about birth, I was not certified as either an educator or doula, and that I was very early in my stages of training for both.

While I was so excited about the upcoming experience, I was also very anxious. Would I know what to do? Would I be able to step up and help mom when she needed it and how she needed it? By nature, I tend to be more of an introvert – initiating conversation with someone new or speaking up in an unfamiliar situation can sometimes take me out of my comfort zone. I did my best to ready myself for the situation by talking often with mom and taking a crash self-study course in labor support. I re-read specific sections of all of my favorite birth books and rehearsed possible scenarios in my head.

When it came time for birth, I was able to arrive within minutes of mom and dad at the hospital. I helped support mom – who had asked immediately for an epidural – while waiting for the epidural by massage, touch, verbal encouragement, and having water ready after she vomited. In our conversations prior to birth, mom talked fondly about the epidural during her first birth, which she said rescued her from the pain of laboring with Pitocin. But she also talked about leaving it “up in the air” for her second birth.

The experience and environment came very naturally to me. I felt comfortable jumping in and doing what I could, suggesting positions, using touch, etc. Of course, there were moments when I wished I knew more – how to respond more with verbal encouragement, how to encourage more movement while keeping fetal monitors in place for the requisite 20 minutes, and how best to calm a very panicked mom, who was still waiting for an epidural when she entered transition and pushing (note: the epidural never came).

Attending a birth was an amazing teaching tool for me, both in preparation for a future career as a doula as well as a childbirth educator. Having never attended any births but my own, it was so enlightening to attend a birth as an observer/support person. One unexpected part of my role was the support I provided in helping to encourage communication/conversation between staff and the parents. I also learned the importance of not projecting my own feelings about birth onto others, as it doesn’t always apply. As baby was kept in the warmer for an extended period of time for suctioning (there was meconium and baby had significant amounts of fluid), I ached for mom to be able to have skin-to-skin with her baby. But, when we had a quiet moment, mom told me, “I wasn’t ready to hold him; I was still recovering from the shock of the fast birth – it was overwhelming.” It just goes to show that everyone deals with and feels differently about their birth experience.

flickr.com/photos/54828642@N06/6086795509/

In my unfamiliar role as birth observer, I also earned new respect for the experience of a loved one in the labor room. As mom panicked at the onset of transition, she cried out in fear and pain, “Help me, help me!” I of course, recognized what was happening and knew she would be ok and that this was just the next natural phase. Dad, however, did not necessarily share the same knowledge! I could only have imagined what it was like for him to witness his wife panicked, in pain, and very scared.

Preparing dad/partner is just one way that childbirth education can have a real impact on a birth experience. Another is preparing and knowing about pain relief options. Even if a mom knows she will get an epidural, there are MANY cases where it doesn’t come in time or does not “work.” Knowing about and preparing for natural pain relief can go a long way, especially for parents who do not have a doula.

Next steps in my journey include preparing to teach for observation early next year, attending more births, attending a local childbirth class for observation, and burning the midnight oil with the Study Guide to prep for the exam in April.

I would love to hear input from other educators and doulas – what kinds of things did you discover in the first few births you attended? How does attending births help you as an educator?  When you were starting out, did attending births change how how you had considered teaching certain topics or clarify information that you absolutely want to stress in your own childbirth classes?  Please share those first birth on your own personal journey to becoming a birth professional.

About Cara Terreri

Cara began working with Lamaze two years before she became a mother. Somewhere in the process of poring over marketing copy in a Lamaze brochure and birthing her first child, she became an advocate for childbirth education. Three kids later (and a whole lot more work for Lamaze), Cara is the Site Administrator for Giving Birth with Confidence, the Lamaze blog for and by women and expectant families. Cara continues to have a strong passion for the awesome power and beauty in pregnancy and birth, and for helping women to discover their own power and ability through birth. It is her hope that through the GBWC site, women will have a place to find and offer positive support to other women who are going through the amazing journey to motherhood.

 

Childbirth Education, Doula Care, Giving Birth with Confidence, Guest Posts, Lamaze International, Series: Journey to LCCE Certification, Uncategorized , , , , , ,

Series: Journey to LCCE Certification: Taking A Lamaze Childbirth Education Seminar

August 23rd, 2012 by avatar

By Cara Terreri, BA, Community Manager for Lamaze International’s Giving Birth With Confidence blog

Today, an occasional series starts on Science & Sensibility, “Journey to LCCE Certification.”   We will follow Cara Terreri as she progresses on the path to become a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator.  Her journey starts with her Childbirth Education Seminar and will continue as she develops her own curriculum, teaches her first classes and sits for the exam.  I invite you to cheer her on and offer your support, suggestions and encouragement based on your own experiences on a similar journey.- SM

After having worked for the Lamaze International headquarters office for seven years now (marketing, writing, managing the Giving Birth with Confidence blog), it’s safe to say that I’ve drank the Kool-Aid. Slowly but surely, the words I pored over while editing became part of my own beliefs – even before I began my own birth journey. And until my last birth, I was happy to remain in my role of reaching women through writing. But my most recent, and most amazing birth (first unmedicated and truly empowering experience), ignited my desire to be more directly involved either as a doula or educator. But how? I already have a part-time job in marketing and writing (for clients in addition to Lamaze) on top of three children, a husband, and a dog – when would I find more time to devote to a budding career in birth?

While I still haven’t answered that last question, in the meantime, I attended the Passion for Birth Lamaze Childbirth Educator Seminar as the first step on the path to being a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator.  There was going to a workshop in my hometown, and the timing worked with my other obligations.  This workshop was going to be taught by Passion for Birth founder, Teri Shilling and  co-taught by Ann Tumblin.

At the end of day one, I was blown away. Walking into class, the first thing I noticed was how the tables and each seat were meticulously set up with loads of colorful, playful – and questionable (like, balloons and a ping pong ball?) – class materials. It was like walking into an art class! When class began, I was immediately engaged by the teaching techniques. Nearly every activity and exercise was meant to double as something that could be replicated in your own Lamaze class, including some techniques that should not be used. For example, class kicked off with the dreaded PowerPoint slide. Ann reviewed the slide, turned off the projector and asked everyone to write down the six bullet points reviewed. No one could. Why? Because PowerPoint is a horribly ineffective teaching tool! This was just one of countless “aha” moments for me over the next three days.

In spite of a nine-hour day, the instructors excelled at keeping me engaged and involved, and allowing me to learn – and successfully retain – the material. Beyond the teaching, I really enjoyed the community aspect of class. Participants (27 of them!) came from all walks of the maternal-child health arena, which allowed for interesting dialogue with differing but respectful perspectives.

The Lamaze Childbirth Educator Seminar was, in a word, inspiring. I truly believe that if I could mirror my classes using the Passion for Birth techniques I observed and learned, I would be one fantastic educator! Because Teri still actively teaches childbirth classes in her community, I also felt confident knowing that the information in her workshop is not only effective, but relevant to today’s families.

I believe that my biggest hurdles in completing certification and developing a birth business are making the time, given my other professional commitments; and overcoming my dislike of networking. In class, we discussed the need for aspiring educators to develop face-to-face relationships with individuals, groups, organizations, and businesses in the community. While I don’t think of myself as a wallflower, I’m also not a social butterfly and I’ve never liked being in a “sales-y” role. I’d love to hear from other educators who feel the same way – what did you do to overcome your aversion to marketing and promoting yourself and be able to successfully network with peers and potential students?

So what next? As a new/inexperienced educator on the pathway to certification, the next official step is to be observed in teaching. But before I can do that, I need to create my curriculum and develop a plan for connecting with my local prenatal community. After a group curriculum-building exercise on day one, I gained new respect for the work that educators put into writing, preparing, and refining a class curriculum. That being said, my strongest skills are in writing, researching, and organizing. And with the multitude of tools I acquired through the workshop, I now have the resources create a comprehensive curriculum. Stay tuned for my next update, when I share how that is going.

If you are interested in becoming a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and taking a seminar, please refer to Lamaze International for more information on seminars and the pathways to certification.

________________

I would like to ask experienced LCCEs and Doulas;

  • How did you get started on this path?  
  • What led you to become a childbirth educator?  
  • What things did you find useful?  
  • How do you enjoy what you do?  
  • What are some of the challenges?  
  • Why did you choose Lamaze as the organization to certify with?
  • Can you share your tips from the trenches with Cara and other people who are interested in working as a childbirth educator or other birth professional?

In the next installment of the Journey to LCCE Certification Series, Cara will share how things are going as she works to develop her own curriculum.  Look for that post in the next few months. In the meantime, share your own experiences so that Cara and others on the same path can benefit – SM

Addendum

In the interest of full disclosure, I want to share that I am a trainer for the PfB organization that presented the workshop Cara attended.  I want to take a moment to share that Lamaze International has many vibrant, creative and well established programs that offer workshops all around the country, and internationally as well,  for men and women interested in becoming childbirth educators.  I encourage each individual to reach out and explore the different programs, talk to the program representatives and select the program that meets their professional needs.  Links to all the programs can be found on the Lamaze International Childbirth Education Training page -SM

About Cara Terreri

Cara began working with Lamaze two years before she became a mother. Somewhere in the process of poring over marketing copy in a Lamaze brochure and birthing her first child, she became an advocate for childbirth education. Three kids later (and a whole lot more work for Lamaze), Cara is the Site Administrator for Giving Birth with Confidence, the Lamaze blog for and by women and expectant families. Cara continues to have a strong passion for the awesome power and beauty in pregnancy and birth, and for helping women to discover their own power and ability through birth. It is her hope that through the GBWC site, women will have a place to find and offer positive support to other women who are going through the amazing journey to motherhood.

 

 

 

 

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