Key Elements of MVP Strategies Trainings
MVP trainings are renowned for their participatory spirit, creativity, and innovative exercises.
They feature a dynamic blend of:
- highly interactive, facilitated dialogues (not lectures)
- bystander scenarios
- experiential exercises
- basic media literacy education
- leadership training
The chief curricular innovation of MVP is a training tool called the MVP Playbook. The Playbook transports participants into scenarios as witnesses to actual or potential abuse, or as members of peer cultures where this might be occurring.
The scenarios help people think through their responsibilities to others and to themselves. The scenarios explore possible options for intervention before, during, or after an incident. Rather than coming up with the “right” way to intervene, the goal is to help people think though their decision-making processes and hear the kinds of ethical choices their peers have made or would make. The process helps clarify what participants value both as individuals and as a group.
MVP also employs a range of classic exercises that highlight the power of gender norms to shape behaviors, such as the Act Like a Man/Woman Box, and Sexual Assault in the Daily Routine, which examines the steps most women (but very few men) take on a daily basis to avoid sexual violence.
MVP is an educational initiative that works with men and women, boys and girls. But one of the key features of MVP trainings is the single-sex breakout. The single-sex format facilitates more in-depth and revealing conversations, which regularly feature more candid commentary than is common in mixed-gender groups.
Additionally, MVP trainings include modules that utilize some of the most powerful media literacy resources available today. MVP trainers facilitate exercises using film clips and music lyrics, as well as segments of educational videos from the Media Education Foundation, such as Jackson Katz’s Tough Guise, MVP alum Byron Hurt’s Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, Dreamworlds, The Bro Code, The Price of Pleasure, and Jean Kilbourne’s Killing Us Softly. MVP curricular materials also include bystander scenarios in which media play a central role.
Types of Trainings
Awareness-raising sessions. MVP Strategies training teams conduct two to four days of workshops and presentations with members throughout an organization. On college campuses, this might include the entire athletic department or the Greek system. The 90-minute awareness-raising sessions include descriptions of the range of abuses under the heading of “gender violence”;discussion of some of the root causes of this behavior; the relationship between certain gender norms and the acceptance or perpetration of abuses; and a hands-on immersion in the bystander approach, with interactive dialogue about options for intervention in several common real-life scenarios.
Student leadership training. MVP trainers provide intensive one-day trainings for selected groups of student leaders or key influencers. On college campuses, these include team captains and other student-athlete leaders; student government members; Greek life officers; and resident assistants. The trainings deepen young leaders’ understanding about sexual assault and relationship abuse; provide them with information about how to recognize warning signs of abuse; help them develop skills for intervention; and assist them in developing contacts and connections with various professionals on and off campus with whom they can consult or provide to students as referrals. These trainings are designed to support the development of opinion leaders on the prevention side in varied educational settings, athletic subcultures, organizational workplaces, and beyond.
Leadership Training for Professionals. Because substantial and sustainable gender violence prevention requires institutional transformation at all levels, MVP has long worked with those in key leadership positions. Highly experienced, professional MVP trainers offer one- and two-day trainings with administrative and operational leaders in higher education, human services, the military, corporations and other professional organizations.
On college campuses, this training can include senior administrators, athletic department officials, housing directors, faculty, and others:
Trainings of Trainers. MVP trainers come to the campus or organization to conduct intensive two-or three-day trainings for a maximum of 30 professional staff, students, and faculty. After the training, participants are qualified to lead interactive MVP sessions with peers or other organizational members, following a basic structured agenda and utilizing the MVP playbook, trainers guides, and other curricular materials.
In a high school setting, the adult professionals are typically trained in order to allow them to subsequently train student “mentors.” The idea is for the student mentors to lead MVP discussions with their peers and slightly younger students. The person best positioned to lead MVP sessions with young people is not an expert or authority figure. Rather, it is often someone who is slightly older than the target population.
For example, high school juniors and seniors are trained to lead interactive dialogues and introduce basic concepts to 9th graders. College juniors and seniors are trained to facilitate workshops with incoming first-year students. The MVP mentors—who often have an older brother or sister relationship to the target audience—also serve as a referral resource and have knowledge about services available for victims, perpetrators, and other members of the collective community.