Validating Culturally Diverse Students: Toward a New Model of Learning and Student Development.Report as inadecuate

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This study examined minority and nontraditional college students and how new approaches to learning and student development may validate culturally diverse students and thus improve their achievement. The project interviewed 132 first-year students at four different types of institutional settings. Students were selected from diverse cultural and academic backgrounds. Students were interviewed in focus groups of 3-6 individuals for about 90 minutes using an open-ended interview protocol. A key finding was that when external agents took the initiative to validate students, academically or interpersonally, students began to believe they could be successful. Analysis explored how students who arrived expecting to fail were transformed to confident, successful students and found that: (1) traditional students had few doubts about their ability to succeed while nontraditional students and minority students did express doubts about their ability to succeed; (2) many nontraditional students needed active intervention from significant others to help them negotiate institutional life; (3) success during the first year may be contingent on whether students become involved in institutional life or whether external agents can validate students; (4) even the most vulnerable students can become powerful learners through in- and out-of-class validation; and (5) college involvement is not easy for nontraditional students. (JB)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Academic Persistence, College Students, Cultural Differences, Ethnic Groups, Higher Education, Interpersonal Communication, Minority Groups, Nontraditional Students, School Holding Power, Self Concept, Student Attitudes, Student College Relationship, Student Development

Author: Rendon, Laura I.


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