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Evolution of the soul: the transformative connection between cultural consciousness, spirituality, and self-empowerment for African American community college adult learners

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ramona D. Cox (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Advisor
Camille Cooper

Abstract: This study examines the educational experiences of African American adult learners who have described their journey through higher education as transformative; particularly, learners who have attended or are attending community college. This study looks at how transformation helps move minority learners towards academic achievement and personal empowerment. The research attempted to answer the following three questions: 1) How do adult African American learners who are attending or have attended community college define their transformation within the context of transformative learning?, 2) What are the sociocultural, spiritual, and empowerment dimensions of transformative learning for this population?, and 3) What factors within this transformative experience contributed to what African American adult learners define as personal growth and achievement/success? As part of this phenomenological narrative study, data was collected primarily through one-on-one, semi-structured interviews with five, adult, African American learners, including three females and two males. Each participant described experiencing: a life change through a major event or crisis, an increase in cultural consciousness, an increase in spiritual evolution, and a stronger sense of purpose in life due to their community college learning. A conceptual framework that incorporates transformative learning, critical race and spirituality theories was used to analyze the learners’ narratives. Data show that participants developed an overwhelming sense of empowerment while going through their educational journey that helped them develop into academically, socially, and emotionally prepared individuals ready to face an unjust society. This study suggests that understanding the journey of African American adult learners can help educational leaders improve the transfer, retention, and graduation rates of this student population. These learners’ journeys can also help educators and researchers better appreciate the social, spiritual, and cultural dimensions of transformative learning at the community college level.

Additional Information

Publication
Dissertation
Language: English
Date: 2009
Keywords
Adult Education, Community College, Transformative Learning Theory
Subjects
Transformative learning.
African American college students.
Community college students $x Attitudes.
Adult education.
Academic achievement.