Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Administration (EdD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


Carleton R. Holt

Committee Member

Kit Kacirek

Second Committee Member

Benny Gooden

Third Committee Member

Tom Smith


Education, Adult educators, Andragogy, Correctional facilities, Educational settings, Setting


Yes as your words

The purpose of this case study was to examine how adult educators apply the six principles of andragogy, by Malcolm Knowles with adult learners in a correctional educational GED program. The following six principles label adult learners as people who: (1) Are self-directed and intrinsically motivated learners; (2) Bridge life experiences with old knowledge with new learning; (3) Are goals-driven learners; (4) Expect experiences to be relevant to them; (5) Are practical learners; and (6) Want respect (Knowles, 1984). The study included qualitative research. There were nine participants involved in this study. Conversational interviews were conducted with the principal and four adult learners. Standardized, open-ended interviews were conducted with four adult educators.

The literature review discussed whether or not adult educators should teach adult learners to their mental abilities or whether they should teach to their ages. The literature review also shared research on behavioral aspects of pedagogy versus andragogy, adult education, adult education teachers, learning tips for effective instructors, characteristics of adult learners, effective adult learning principles, teaching adult learners, prison education, recidivism and instructional leadership.

To ensure the findings were based on credible information, triangulation, member checks, audit trail and peer debriefing were addressed and considered a vital part of the research. To meet triangulation, the researcher used interviews, classroom observations and documents to collect data for this study. Data were open-coded and analyzed to find axial codes, or major themes. The study found that the six principles played a large role in the learning process of adult learners. This study showed that it is equally important to consider the maturity level as well as the physical attributes when educating adult learners. Regardless of their age or appearance, many inmates are not mentally prepared to handle certain types of instruction and must receive a variety of methods to help them open up and want to learn. The six principles of andragogy allowed educators to teach to varying aspects of the adult learner in the correctional educational school. The adult educators used strategies that they thought would facilitate the best possible learning outcomes for their students.