Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Education, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

E. Paulette Isaac-Savage, EdD.


Jim Berger, Ph.D.

Henry S. Merrill, Ed.D.

Gwendolyn Y. Turner, Ed. D.


Abstract The research activity was designed to explore the idea of a predominance of one of two teaching styles, defined as teacher-centered or learner-centered, among adult basic education and adult secondary education teachers in Missouri. The Principles of Adult Learning Scale (Conti, 1985), consisting of 44 questions, was employed to identify the teaching style of respondents. The scores on the survey were compared to the educational outcome measure provided by the Department of Education and State of Missouri with the intention that conclusions as to the efficacy of one of the two styles would be revealed. The survey was distributed to the 36 adult education programs in Missouri Three total attempts to obtain responses were made during the survey period. Of the 756 full- and part-time teachers in the Missouri system, 89 surveys were returned but due to improperly identified or unidentified numbers, only 34 of the survey responses were deemed usable. Requiring a minimum sample of approximately 250 upon which to draw inferential conclusions, no generalizations could be drawn about the larger population of Missouri adult basic education and adult secondary education teachers. Descriptive statistics relative to the 34 participants revealed that most of the teachers were female and the highest education level was the doctorate, but most teachers held masters. The sample group average age was above 40 with 42 % older than 60. As to tenure in adult education 62 % of responding teachers had taught adult education for more than five years and 42% greater than 10 years. The 34 teachers favored teacher-centered instructional methods versus student-centered instructional methods.

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