“Thank you so much for the great experience at last week’s MVP training. I have never attended any workshop or class that provided me with such usable hands-on material, as well as the provisions for various style approaches. It is a great program. The co-facilitators did a phenomenal job presenting.” MVP attendee
Un-initiated observers to an MVP training session are often confused by what they see. Participants who entered the room “kicking and screaming” are engaged in a spirited discussion, challenging one another on a thought or idea. They may be out of their seats and spread around the room, taking a stand on whether they agree, disagree, or are unsure about a particular statement that MVP trainers have posed. This is what generally happens when the educational philosophy matches the target audience and is delivered by the appropriate messengers.
How does this happen? The first thing to understand is that MVP training sessions are facilitated discussions, not lectures, and they are highly interactive. Research shows that retention levels for participants in active learning groups follow a positive retention trajectory, while participants in passive learning groups follow a negative retention trajectory. This proves what educators intuitively know–the more interested and engaged someone is, the more they will learn.
Most of the activities relay realistic social scenarios. The student-athletes discuss them and then brainstorm strategies to confront or interrupt abusive behavior involving teammates or friends. Trainers utilize a Socratic method, which encompasses the belief that the answers are in the room if we just ask the right questions. This is an adjustment for many student-athletes–they generally start the training being relatively quiet but quickly realize that their thoughts matter and begin to engage.
Multiple learning approaches are used. For example, during the above activity, the athletes tell each other what they know about the law regarding alcohol and sexual consent. The trainer will write their responses on a chalkboard or flipchart. This provides both verbal and written experiences.
The overall idea is to create a healthy tension, which challenges participants to understand and embrace the necessity of their actions as leaders and proactive bystanders when faced with these issues. The energy generated through an activity like this is hard to describe, but is often referred to as the switch that turns the light on in trainings. Student-athletes experience a paradigm shift in attitude about sexual violence, which empowers them.
The training opens dialogue regarding participant leadership around many different issues. MVP focuses on: the social construction of masculinity as it relates to unhealthy behavior, sexual objectification of women, sexual harassment, battering, and sexual assault.
Peer teaching strategies have also been successful, and these can be formal or informal. A formal strategy is having student-athletes participate in a “train the trainer” program and empowering them to become a mentor among their peers. Informally, this works by discussing with student-athletes their perspectives on issues during a short training period. It may be as simple as asking a student-athlete if he agrees with something problematic that one of his teammates has said. This gives that student-athlete an opportunity to show leadership by offering a different point of view.
Interested in hosting an MVP program at your organization?
Options include (for up to thirty participants):
Awareness Raising Session: This gender violence prevention training provides participants with a basic understanding of cultural competency. One and a half hours. 25 participant maximum.
Train-the-Trainer Institutes: The MVP Institutes are three-day interactive training at your organization, designed for adults and adult educators who would like to become certified in gender violence prevention and anti-bullying curriculum. 25 participant maximum.
Customized Training: These options can be tailored for program and participant needs. One and a half hours to three days.
Individual registration for our quarterly three-day institutes on Northeastern’s campus will posted under our Events page a few months prior to the institute. If you have any questions or want to request more information, contact Jarrod Chin at 617.373.8420 or firstname.lastname@example.org.