This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Educational Philosophies and Teaching Styles of Alabama Cooperative Extension System Agents




East, William, Jr.

Type of Degree



Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


This study examines the educational philosophies and teaching styles of Extension agents in the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. The Philosophy of Adult Education Inventory (PAEI) designed by Zinn and the Principles of Adult Learning Scale (PALS) developed by Conti were the instruments used in this study. The PAEI identifies the educator’s personal philosophical orientation toward teaching adults and the PALS identifies the educator’s preferred teaching styles. The relationships were examined between these educational philosophies and teaching styles. Seventy survey instruments were completed by agents in the five program areas of agriculture; forestry, wildlife, and natural resources; family and consumer science; community development; and 4-H. The response rate for this study was 25 percent. The mean scores for the PAEI were highest in the progressive philosophy for all five groups. The second most agreed with philosophy was behavioral. Several of the Extension agents scored high in more than one philosophy which is common. The least agreed with philosophy was radical. Most of the mean scores for the PALS fell below Conti’s established mean score which suggests that most agents have a teacher-centered approach to educating adults rather than a student-centered approach. The family and consumer science group had the highest scores on the PALS survey which meant they were more student-centered than the other groups.