Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Education

Major

Adult & Higher Education

Date of Defense

8-2-2011

Graduate Advisor

E. Paulette Isaac-Savage, EdD

Committee

Dr. John Henschke

Dr. Ron Moseley

Dr. Pi-Chi Han

Abstract

Rabbi Akiva, a second century rabbi, used teaching methods and process elements that exercised his students’ mental and auditory faculties and their imaginations and bodies. This research study offers assistance to practitioners in the field of adult education as the aim of this work is to discover if alignment exist between Rabbi Akiva’s teaching methods and process elements and Knowles’ teaching methods and process elements. The late Malcolm Knowles is known as the father of American andragogy (Cooke, 1994; Henschke, 1998). And like Rabbi Akiva, Dr. Knowles was an adult educator. Both men used teaching methods and processes. For Knowles, he proposes teaching methods that compliment his six assumptions about the adult learner. Knowles also proposes eight process elements when teaching the adult learner. This is a qualitative research study which used historical research as the primary data collection tool. Knowles’ andragogical framework served as the data analysis tool. And the Babylonian Talmud served as the primary source. Several of Akiva’s teaching methods emerged including debate, question-answer, story-telling and chanting. This was strictly an oral teaching and learning environment; so, note-taking, for instance, was not permitted. Akiva’s process elements included intellectual preparation and the creation of an environment conducive for learning. Knowles’ andragogical framework was used as a grid to determine if there was any alignment between Knowles and Akiva. Many of Akiva’s teaching methods did align with those teaching methods suggested by Knowles that complimented his six assumptions about the adult learner. However, only Knowles’ process element of setting the climate aligned with Akiva’s creating a conducive learning environment. This study merely scratches the surface of plumbing the rich depths of Rabbinic Judaism; thus, this area of study affords ample opportunities for future research for both researcher and practioners of adult education. Nevertheless, this study showed that some teaching methods and process elements not only transcend culture but also time.

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