Although the current public education system's vision of college and career readiness is creating a substantial space for career technical education (CTE) in schools, little has been done regarding researching the current state of career educational education and adult learners. As colleges become further impacted by fiscal constraints, adding additional years for the completion of any post-secondary degree, a need exists to reassess the state's adult school CTE programs as an essential partner in post-secondary education. This study aimed to elucidate instructional best practices of CTE instructors within a public school setting as a foundation for further research in this area. Limited extant research is available on instructional practices of post-secondary CTE instructors. Therefore, a variety of data was collected by the principal and assistant researcher. Using two observational tools, fifteen post-secondary CTE instructors were observed twice during instruction. Following the observations, participants were interviewed to obtain an accurate narrative of the observations and their instructional practices. All potential instructors agreed to participate, sharing a collective enthusiasm for the acknowledgment of their contribution of post-secondary education. Because the research was exploratory in its design, research questions were developed to create a baseline for future research in instructional practices of post-secondary CTE instructors. Coding and statistical analysis were performed for all data sources, with a triangulation of data conducted for one of the observational tools with strong trends reported. The principal theme comprises the classroom's orientation for learning. The most frequently observed instructional behavior from the observational checklist was from the classroom environment category. Observational notes aligned to Malcolm Knolwles's Adult Learning Theory showed the strongest principle of Orientation to Learn during observations. Finally, all participants shared in their interviews their best instructional practices, which involved hands-on modeling and learning in an environment modeled after current industry standards/ Recommendations derived from the study's findings include maintaining collaboration with local educational agencies for funding of equipment and facilities, further research into Adult Learning Theory regarding post-secondary CTE and providing continuous professional development for instructors in both andragogy and their professional industry to maintain relevance.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational leadership, administration, and policy; Vocational education -- United States; Vocational teachers -- United States -- Case studies; Adult education -- Evaluation

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Hiatt-Michael, Diana B.;