Title

The Black Church, an Agency for Learning, Informal Religious Adult Education, and Human Capital Development: A Qualitative Inquiry into Rural African American Primary Caregiving Grandmothers’ Experiences

Publication Date

10-24-2020

Document Type

Article

Department

African-American Studies

Disciplines

African American Studies | Religious Education

Publication Title

New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development

Volume

32

Issue

4

DOI

10.1002/nha3.20295

First Page

37

Last Page

49

Abstract

African American grandmothers have long held the roles of religious leaders and educators among family members and the wider community, though the provision of religious education and informal learning from grandparent caregivers have not been well documented in the literature. Based upon the gaps in the literature, we examined the informal learning and human capital among rural African American grandmothers (N = 10) who were caring for their grandchildren. The research questions were: What informal religious adult education activities do rural African American primary caregiving grandmothers engage in for learning and human capital development? How do rural grandmothers use informal religious education activities to support the learning of the children in their care? For data analysis purposes, we employed Creswell's (2005) six-step method. The emerging themes were the Black church as an agency for learning, religious education in learning communities, and children's development through religious education. The findings seemed to align with Collins's theory of Black female empowerment. Implications aligned with Bandura's social cognitive theory, which places learning in a social context and indicates how and what adults learn can affect motivation, self-efficacy, and confidence. Considerations for future research include studies of grandfathers caring for their grandchildren as well as intergenerational learning experiences (e.g., religious education and technology usage) among caregivers and children.

Keywords

Human capital development, religious education, informal learning, primary caregiving grandmothers, learning communities

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