Rendon validating culturally diverse students

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Students who have frequent contact with faculty members in and out of class during their college years are more satisfied with their educational experiences, are less likely to drop out, and perceive themselves to have learned more than students who have less faculty contact. Patricia Cross, 1998)Students do not begin a college course with the intention of dropping out before the end of the term, yet many do.

Who have been told “you are not smart enough.” Who haven’t done very well in school, who went to low-income schools with not the very best teachers. While agreeing that student support systems are necessary and beneficial, she believes the real work needs to be done in the classroom. Another thing that faculty need to know about these students has to do with this whole notion that regardless of whether the student grows up in poverty, regardless of whether the student is first in the family to go to college, these students have assets. This is a study that I did with my colleagues at UT–San Antonio, where we identified some of these strengths that these students have.

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.

Hosted this March by Naropa’s Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education, the conference included a number of keynote addresses.

Laura I Rendón examined how contemplative education serves culturally diverse students, especially those from low-income backgrounds. How do we help students to really attend to both their intellectual capacities as well as their inner lives?

This study demonstrated that nontraditional students, no matter how fragile, can be transformed into full members of the college academic and social community. She is currently an associate professor in the Division of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Arizona State University.

The importance of this finding cannot be over stated, for it points to real hope for students who do not see themselves as “college material” or who feel that college life has little or nothing to do with the realities from which they come. The challenge is how to harness that strength, and how to unleash the creativity and exuberance for learning that is present in all students who feel free to learn, free to be who they are, and validated for what they know and believe. She studies instructional and institutional issues related to the success of minority students, particularly Hispanic students and two-year colleges.Tintos theory, first published in 1975, focused on 4-year institutions, but his findings are also applicable to community colleges.According to Tinto, individuals possess attributes (such as family background, skills, abilities, and prior education) that influence their choices of goals and commitments. Cummings)All students are members of one or more cultural groups.Rendón is best known for her work with “validation theory,” which refers to positive affirmation of students both in- and out-of-class to validate students as valuable members of their college community and to foster their personal and social development.She cited studies that have shown that students from disadvantaged backgrounds or were first-generation college students found more success with applied learning and the guidance of a faculty or staff member who took the time to help them.And second, we need to understand and to work with contemplative practices, and not just any contemplative practices, but those that are aligned with a culture of these students.

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