ERIC Number: ED356000
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Feb-19
Reference Count: N/A
Validating Culturally Diverse Students.
Rendon, Laura I.
Today's model of education forces students to assimilate, to compete against each other, to think only in abstract complex ways, and to believe that cultural separation leads to academic power. For many minority and nontraditional students, this traditional model is inappropriate. It results in many first-generation students being told that they are "not college material," and consequent feelings of doubt, fear, and frustration when entering college. Many students feel disappointed because they feel that their life experiences are not valued, and they yearn for acceptance and validation. Faculty and other students have often served as validating agents for those students who do persist, encouraging them not to give up. On a broader scale, colleges as a whole must allow themselves to be changed by new student cultures. Educators must do a better job of understanding, appreciating, and working with culturally diverse students. Many of these students are going through powerful changes, and college educators should make a more determined effort to help students make the connection to college and assist them to become powerful learners. A proactive academic and interpersonal validation is needed to involve passive or doubtful students. Such efforts as calling students by name, calling them at home, stopping to talk to students in the halls can help students feel college is worthwhile. Educators must also find ways to change the linear model of teaching and diversify the curriculum by incorporating both the traditional core curriculum and perspectives that reflect the thinking and contributions of women and minorities. Further they must set high standards and believe their students are capable of learning. Both colleges and their students must change together if minority students are to experience academic success. (MAB)
Descriptors: Community Colleges, Cultural Pluralism, Curriculum Development, Diversity (Student), First Generation College Students, Multicultural Education, Nontraditional Students, Student Alienation, Student Attitudes, Student Motivation, Student Needs, Student Reaction, Teacher Student Relationship, Two Year College Students, Two Year Colleges
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual National Conference of the Community College Chairs (2nd, Phoenix, AZ, February 17-20, 1993).