September 10, 2012
The Peer Training Program is creating positive change in schools. Built on the knowledge that the most important influences on young people are the attitudes and behaviors of their peers, the Peer Training Program prepares young people to use the positive power of peer influence to promote respect and civility in their schools and beyond. From its birth during the Crown Heights riots, the Peer Training Program has grown into an international program linking students across the U.S. to 15 countries abroad. This program teaches Peer Trainers to take action against prejudice by leading workshops and discussions with peers about the issues that impact their school. Their efforts play a key role in creating environments where differences are valued and respected.
Peer Training Program Works
Researchers at Yale University and Princeton University published a 2011 peer-reviewed journal article about the Peer Training Program model and concluded that the Peer Trainers “were significantly more likely to talk about and stand up against bias” and “serve as models of tolerance in their school” (Paluck, 2011). Through the unique combination of instructional and peer influence strategies the program helps students combat name-calling, bullying and harassment, thus creating safer and more inclusive school communities.
As A World of Difference® Institute Peer Trainers, young people assume leadership roles in efforts to create respectful and inclusive schools and communities. An underlying principle of the A World of Difference Institute is that learning about social justice issues is a life-long process. By engaging in this process, Peer Trainers learn how to effectively respond when they hear racial slurs, name-calling, and put-downs in the hallways, lunchrooms and classrooms of their schools. They also develop the skills to lead interactive discussions and workshops for their peers and younger students. The A World of Difference Institute Peer Training Program provides Peer Trainers with the training and resources to design and lead interactive programs that promote an environment that is respectful and civil.
Young people assume leadership roles in efforts to create respectful and inclusive schools and communities.
Training is interactive, hands-on, and designed to address the specific issues being faced by peer leaders in their schools.
The Educational Process
In order to be effective peer trainers, youth need opportunities to learn about social justice issues and to develop and refine their leadership skills. This process begins with ant-bias training for peer trainers and program coordinators. Facilitated by ADL training specialists, this 2-3 day initial training is interactive, hands-on, and designed to address the specific issues being faced by peer leaders in their schools and communities.
Following this initial training, peer trainers meet weekly as a group to continue to develop leadership and facilitation skills and to provide peer trainers with an understanding of their roles in making justice and equity realities in the world around them.
After training and facilitation development, Peer Trainers plan and deliver anti-bias workshops for their peers, using A World of Difference Institute training activities.
Peer Trainers have developed the knowledge, skills and motivation to effectively challenge the name-calling, put-downs, and insensitive remarks that are all-too-common occurrences in the halls of their schools. And because students have a powerful impact on one another's attitudes and behaviors, the climate of the school and community begins to change.
Peer Trainers have opportunities to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to facilitate discussions about prejudice and discrimination with their peers. Using interactive World of Difference Institute training activities, Peer Trainers plan and deliver anti-bias workshops for their peers and younger students that provide a forum for students to discuss these important topics.
Peer Trainers “were significantly more likely to talk about and stand up against bias” and “serve as models of tolerance in their school.”
- Researchers at Princeton University and Yale University