The NPTAI course in fertility awareness leading to a certificate to teach the symptom-thermal double check method of natural family planning

1. Outline of the NFPTAI course to train teachers of natural family planning:

The NFPTAI Course in Fertility Awareness leading to a Certificate to teach Natural Family Planning – symptothermal multiple index /double-check method, is held over 10 months divided into a theoretical part and practical part.

The theoretical part takes place over 6 months with lectures held one weekend per month. Classes are held on Saturday and Sunday and cover the medical and scientific knowledge of fertility awareness.

The practical part (apprenticeship) takes place over 3-4 months and allows trainees the opportunity to teach the symptom-thermal double check method of family planning to 3 couples under the supervision of a tutor.

During the course trainees are also required to research and write a dissertation on a topic of their choice relating to natural family planning.

The exam is in 2 parts. Part one is a written exam and is held on the 3rd weekend of classes and covers the theory of fertility awareness in normal circumstances. Part two is an oral exam and is held 4 months following the 6th weekend of classes and covers natural family planning in the special circumstances. During the part two oral exam the candidate will also discuss a book of special circumstance charts and the charts of 3 couples they have instructed.

The aims of the Course are to provide the participants with a clear understanding of the scientific basis and the practical applications of natural family planning and fertility awarenessTo enable trainees develop the skills required to teach and support couples practicing natural family planning. To develop in the trainees respect and appreciation of human sexuality and fertility awareness as means to plan or avoid pregnancy.

Attendance at all lectures is required to sit the examination and intending participants should ensure in so far as practicable that they are available to attend all lecture dates.

Course Format:

Theoretical course overview:

The theoretical course is in two parts, and lectures are conducted over 6 week-ends over 6 months.

Theoretical Part 1 of the Course is held over week-ends 1, 2 and 3 and covers normal anatomy and physiology in the male and female fertility and charting in normal circumstances.

Theoretical Part 2 of the Course is held over weekends 4, 5 and 6; with one weekend dedicated to the theory and practice of teaching and learning and 2 weekends to fertility awareness in the special circumstances of post-partum, post- pill and pre-menopause.

2.2    Theoretical Course Schedule Part 1:

Weekend 1:

Saturday 9.30 am – 5.00 pm

  • Introduction to the Teachers’ Training Course Manual
  • History and Ideology of natural family planning
  • Scientific basis of fertility
  • Fertility Indicators
  • Methodology of NFP
  • Introduction to charting

Sunday: 9.30am – 4.00pm

  • Chart interpretation and exercises
  • Progress Monitors (homework assignment)

Weekend 2:

Saturday: 9.30am – 5.00pm

  • Correction of progress monitors
  • All methods of natural family planning
  • Efficacy of natural family planning
  • Introduction to unusual charts
  • Interpretation of unusual charts.

Sunday: 9.30am – 4.00pm

  • All methods of family planning
  • Vaginal discharges and related conditions
  • Premenstrual Syndrome and other menstrual disorders
  • Chart interpretation exercises
  • Progress Monitors (homework assignment)

Weekend 3:

Saturday: 9.30am – 5.00pm

  • Correction of Progress Monitors;
  • interpretation of charts in groups of 4
  • Applications of Rules of NFP: interpretation of charts in groups of 4
  • Charting exercises

Sunday: 9.30am – 4.00pm

  • Revision of theory of NFP;
  • Revision of chart interpretation;
  • Part one exam paper 1 and 2

2.3    Theoretical Course Schedule: Part 2:

Weekend 4:

Saturday 9.30am – 5.00pm

  • The principles of pedagogy
  • Learning and teaching styles
  • Teaching natural family planning

Sunday: 9.30am – 4.00pm

  • Group discussions and presentations
  • Role play
  • Management of client’s first three cycles
  • Progress monitors

Weekend 5:

Saturday 9.30am – 5.00pm

  • Correction of progress monitors
  • Review of the Part 1 exam.
  • Charting during the postpartum period
  • LAM (Lactational Amenorrhea) and breast feeding

Sunday: 9.30am – 4.00pm

  • Pre-menopause
  • Charting during pre-menopause
  • pre-menopause continued
  • Returning fertility in the post pill period
  • Charting during the post pill period
  • New technology (ovulation monitors)
  • Progress monitors

Weekend 6:

Saturday: 9.30am – 5.00pm

  • Correction of progress monitors
  • Pre-menopause: (symptoms, STRAW Report, ovarian reserve, irregular uterine bleeding, hormone changes)
  • Puberty
  • Achieving pregnancy
  • Infertility and assisted reproductive techniques
  • Natural methods of treating infertility

Sunday: 9.30am – 4.00pm

  • Revision of rules and charts in the special circumstances
  • Anthropology and human sexuality
  • Psychology of fertility control
  • Ethical and moral issues
  • Research methodology
  • Preparation for Part 2 Exam
  • Book of special charts for interpretation prior to Part 2 Exam

2.4 Practical part of the course / apprenticeship:

From the end of the 4th theoretical weekend trainees may begin the apprenticeship part of the course. Under the supervision of a tutor the trainee NFP teacher instructs three clients for three cycles how to chart and interpret their cycle in normal circumstances.

During the practical part of the course the trainee also writes a dissertation (over 5,000 words) on a topic of their choice relating to natural family planning. The dissertation may take the form of a literature review or a piece of original research and should be submitted one month before the Part 2 exam.

Exam structure:

Overview of exam:

Part 1 Examination is a written exam and is held on the Sunday of the 3rd week-end of classes. Part 2 Examination is an oral exam and is held 4 months after the 6th week-end of classes; at the end of the course. Continuous assessment takes place during the course with marks given for progress monitors/homework assignment and for performance during the teaching practice role play on the 4th weekend. Marks are also given for the dissertation, which must be submitted one month before the part 2 exam for discussion.

3.2 Part 1 Exam:

Part 1 Exam on the Theory of NFP and on Chart Interpretation in normal circumstances takes place on the 3rd weekend of the theory course and consists of:

Paper 1: multiple choice examination paper (written 1.5 hours) on the Theory of NFP from 11.30pm – 1.00pm

Paper 2: is a book of 8 charts for interpretation: written paper (2 hours) from 2.00pm – 4.00pm

NOTE: A candidate cannot proceed to the practical part of the course if he/she fails Part 1 Examination. Both parts of Part 1 Examination, 1. Theory – multiple Choice Paper, and 2. Chart Interpretation, must be passed by the participant before proceeding to Part 2 of the course.

3.2 Part 2 Exam:

The Part 2 Examination is held at the end of the course 4 months following the theory course and consists of an oral examination in which the candidate (or a teaching couple) is examined by two examiners on the following:

The candidate discusses the charts of 3 clients whom she (or they if a teaching couple) has taught over 3 cycles.

A book of special circumstances’ charts distributed at the 6th weekend of classes is interpreted and annotated at home by the candidate and is discussed with the examiners.

The candidate demonstrates the teaching materials he/she/they have put together as their own aids to teaching. This book should set out the teaching plan for each visit of the client, and include information which should answer any expected queries from the client.

The candidate will discuss their dissertation submitted one month prior to the oral exam.

Continuous Assessment:

Candidate’s progress in developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to confidently teach and support couples using natural family planning is continually assessed during the course by means of assignments called progress monitors, teaching practice role play and by feedback from their apprenticeship tutor.

Awarding of certificate

The Certificate to Teach the Sympto-Thermal Double Check Method of Natural Family Planning is awarded by the examination committee of The Natural Family Planning Association of Ireland. Candidates are notified of their result by post and invited to attend the NFPTAI AGM to receive the award in person.

The NFPTAI course is accredited by the European Institute for Family Life Education (IEEF).

Participation in continuous learning to keep up to date with current scientific evidence and developments in NFP is necessary to maintain registration as a trainer with the NFPTAI.

The NFPTAI is compliant with section 65 (4) (a) of the Qualifications and Quality and Assurance (Education and Training) act 2013: Protection of Enrolled Learners.

Please contact us for information on the next available course dates, or if you would like to sign up to be kept informed about upcoming courses.