Validating Culturally Diverse Students: Toward a New Model of Learning and Student Development

Rendon, 1994 / Innovative Higher Education / October 1994

three happy students studying

As this study progressed, it became clear that how students got involved in college told only part of the story about student learning and growth. Carefully analyzing student responses led to an even more interesting dynamic: how nontraditional students who came to college expecting to fail suddenly began to believe in their innate capacity to learn and to become successful college students. This article focuses on how students who come to the academy consumed with self-doubt or expecting to fail are being transformed into students excited about higher learning. The ground-breaking study of women as learners, Women's Ways of Knowing (Belenkey, Clinchy, Goldberger, & Tarule, 1986), provided the most important perspectives to this analysis. In their study of "ordinary" women, the researchers found that women who had been treated as stupid or incompetent yearned for acceptance and validation.