Wizard of Oz side-note
One of the most common approaches to hybrid teaching and learning is referred to as “The Wizard of Oz” approach. This is where the teacher is in a different location from the students and is typically projected onto a screen. The students are all in person together. This particular approach is not recommended for the following reasons:
- The facilitator is not able to ensure a safe or trauma informed environment because they cannot hear or respond to student comments that other students can both hear and respond to.
- The teaching approach is almost always didactic rather than activity based because the facilitator cannot interact with the students.
- Technical glitches are rife for a range of reasons. Among other things, it is rare for schools to be equipped with sufficient microphones for all students in a classroom to be heard by the teacher on the other end of the video call.
The most effective response to the proposal to run a learning series via a Wizard of Oz approach is to suggest that the local schoolteacher is trained to do the sex education instead of the organization staff member or volunteer. When this is just not possible for whatever reason, there are workarounds for some of these problems, However, they are imperfect and still primarily rest on training for the school staff who will be in the room.
It is not possible to safely facilitate an in-person space via a video call. When a teacher with specific CSE knowledge is required to do this, the adults who are actually in the room must be trained to maintain a safe space. Here are a few recommendations to include in that training:
- The on-site adult should know what to listen for that would indicate an unsafe space. This includes, but is not limited to, hurtful or bigoted language, calling someone names, identifying or sharing someone else’s sexual experiences (whether that person is present or not), and providing inaccurate information.
- The on-side adult should have open communication with the teacher. This includes knowing how to interrupt the teacher should something from the classroom need to be addressed because it is harmful or inaccurate.
- The on-site adult should know how to troubleshoot if the technology fails.