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.
When these goals and commitments interact with college experiences in ways that dont facilitate students becoming To be nobody-but-yourselfin a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody elsemeans to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting . If students experience a college culture very different from their own, they will have difficulty becoming connected.
This is the situation in which many minority and first-generation students find themselves when embarking on a college experience (Rendn, Jalomo and Nora, 1998).
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.
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And how do we connect contemplative practice to social justice issues in and out of the classroom setting…. There are two kinds of intelligence, one acquired, as a child in school, memorizing facts and concepts from books and from what the teacher says. This knowledge is the fountainhead from within you moving out…. 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.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.In addition, increased knowledge about retention theory will help faculty improve their interactions with students both in and out of the classroom.