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AMEP Research Centre

Language of Childbirth

Language of Childbirth
By Fran Weston
Published by NSW AMES, 2006

The Language of Childbirth book and CD provide a much needed update to the original Language of Childbirth course which was published in 1984. The pictures and information in the new resource reflect current practice in the management of pregnancy and childbirth.

The book is divided into five units each of which contains fact Sheets and student worksheets for listening activities. There are line drawings to support the meaning in the listening texts. The tape script for the dialogues is at the back of the book.

The units cover pregnancy, preparation for birth, labour, giving birth and the post birth period. While the material is based on the procedures in a metropolitan Sydney hospital, the information is general enough to be of use to students in all states. There are one or two small differences in procedure or approach. A local midwife commented that the fact sheet information on epidurals emphasised the numbness from breastbone to toes but anaesthetists do try to adjust the dose so that women can move about to some degree.

I have trialled the material with a language of childbirth class conducted in partnership with the parent education section of a Perth hospital. My class were primarily well-educated students with CSWE English levels either at upper Certificate Two or Certificate Three level. They access to dictionaries. The material was very suitable for this type of class.

Students found the models useful and enjoyed the listening activities. I would have preferred the tape script of the dialogues to have been located within their units as my students were visual learners who preferred to listen and read. Having to turn to the back for the written script was sometimes cumbersome. As a large portion of the written text was student worksheets designed to be used in conjunction with the listening activities, the book would be expendable if students wrote in the book. In subsequent editions, some small adjustments could save either wastage of books or unnecessary photocopying. There are many examples of tick boxes which could be replaced by a number or a letter with the student choosing the correct number. Occasionally the listening activity format fails to provide the best learning outcome, for example, the pictures accompanying the relaxation exercise would have been more useful in the correct order rather than presented out of order as a sorting activity.

These are small quibbles. On the whole, this is a rich and useful resource which I would highly recommend to other teachers.

Reviewed by Vicki Dixon, AMES West Coast TAFE