Investigating factors relevant to a multicultural HIV/AIDS Curriculum for Assemblies of God

Johns, Emily M. Busiek (2009-03)

Thesis (PhD (Curriculum Studies))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.


The HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa has reached pandemic levels, with over 1 000 deaths per day. The church in South Africa represents a largely untapped resource for addressing this problem. One of the largest Evangelical church groups in South Africa is the Assemblies of God (AOG/SA). This church group consists of three culturally distinct fraternals: The Group (white), The Association (coloured), and The Movement (black). Although they function under one executive committee, these fraternals have remained organizationally distinct even after the dismantling of apartheid laws in 1991. On the issue of HIV/AIDS, all three fraternals have remained largely quiet and uninvolved. They have made no attempt to strategize on a unified response to the pandemic, nor have they attempted to promote culturally relevant curricula capable of empowering their pastors and theological students to respond effectively to this crisis. The research consisted of two phases, following Rothman and Thomas's Intervention Research model (1994), with special emphasis on the design and development component. The first phase identified and assessed educational, cultural, and religious factors relevant to the development and delivery of a clergy-focused multicultural curriculum intervention addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic in South Africa. Data-gathering strategy for the first phase consisted of semi-structured interviews with ethnographic notions. The target groups for the first phase of the research included 15 credentialed AOG/SA pastors and the three fraternal leaders. The leaders and fraternal members participated in semistructured interviews designed to establish cultural and religious points of divergence pertaining to topics surrounding the AIDS pandemic (e.g. sickness, death, sexuality and gender roles). The second phase of the research consisted of the development and delivery of a curriculum intervention. Integrating the cultural and religious factors identified in the first phase of the research, the nine-day curriculum intervention was presented to 34 tertiary-level theological students in two culturally distinct venues. The content of the curriculum primarily emphasized aspects of gender, tradition, and culture as they relate to HIV/AIDS and surrounding issues. The intervention utilized three curriculum theories that were deemed relevant to the educational context of South Africa: humanistic curriculum theory, social reconstructionist curriculum theory and dialogue curriculum theory. Data-gathering strategies for the second phase of the research utilized both quantitative and qualitative instruments with ethnographic notions. The quantitative instruments included the Scale of Basic HIV/AIDS Knowledge (SHAK), Personal Reflections of Men with HIV/AIDS (PRM) and Personal Reflections of Women with HIV/AIDS (PRW). Reflective journaling was used to acquire qualitative data from student participants. Scores significantly improved on the SHAK in both venues. Scores on the PRW improved in both venues, significantly so in one. Unexpectedly, scores on the PRM declined at both venues, although not significantly so. Males with HIV/AIDS were viewed more negatively by both genders at the end of the intervention in both venues. Reflective journal entries indicated that students at both venues clearly perceived a need for the church to be involved in the pandemic; many proposed that sex education should be taking place within the context of church youth ministry. Affective responses were markedly positive for those suffering with AIDS, particularly females. The data clearly indicated that the curriculum was effective in two culturally distinct venues.

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