Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fielding graduate Sonia Maldonado-Torres publishes article in the Journal of Hispanics in Higher Education

Maldonado-Torres, S. E. Differences in Learning Styles of Dominican and Puerto Rican Students: We are Latinos from the Caribbean and speak Spanish as our first language however; our learning preferences are different. Journal of Hispanics in Higher Education, 10(3), 226-236.

Currently, Latinos are the largest minority group in the United States (United States Census Bureau, 2007), with a population of 44.3 million that will soon represent the majority of the student body in some of the largest school districts in the United States (Tapia, 2004; Trueba, 1989, 1987, 1999). As the Latino population continues to grow their academic success should be an important issue for Americans to consider, since the future of this country will rely to some extent on the educational performance of this particular group of students (Trueba, 1987). Statistics on the performance of Latino students have evidenced school dropout rates of about 2 to 3.5 times higher than the rate for White and non-Latino students (National Center for Education Statistics, 2010). Additionally, Latinos are less likely to complete an undergraduate degree when compared with White students (González-Sullivan, 2007).

This study has been designed to explore and identify the learning styles of a group of Latino students in an urban community college in New York City to: 1) develop educational approaches geared to increase their academic attainment, and to: 2) understand the relationship between Latino students learning styles with their country of origin. As Nieto (1999) stated, Latino students learning styles are intrinsically related to their country of origin, the way in which Latino students learn may in effect be due to what is valued in their culture (Nieto, p. 112).

Findings of the study demonstrated differences between the learning preferences of Dominican and Puerto Rican students in the elements of Motivation (t = 2.846, p = .005), Several Ways of Learning (t = 2.351, p = .020), and Tactile (t = 3.469; p = .001).

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