Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

Karen Sumner


Adult learning takes place through multiple facets. The understandings of how teachers chose to learn when given autonomy to engage in their own professional learning is a facet of teacher development that has not been widely researched. The research of Bolado (2018) utilized the grounded theory approach to develop themes of adult learning that provide insights to teacher needs when engaging in professional learning. Qualitative methods of research provided detailed perceptions of teacher needs when engaging in professional learning and how these experiences impacted their efficacy. This grounded theory research derived theories based on teacher perceptions of their confidence levels throughout the phenomenal study. Constructs of adult learning theory and social cognitive theory were applied during the course of research to identify their role in teacher-led professional experiences.

This study included 21 teacher participants from a middle school in North Carolina. The participants were of varying levels of experience and subject areas to gain data from an extensive sample which provided vast insights into this grounded theory study. Observations, interviews, and focus groups were conducted to gather rich data, which led to continual coding and categorizing of data to develop emergent theories. Throughout this research, there was a dynamic focus on understanding how teachers engage in professional learning when given autonomy and finding meaning to those avenues for future teacher development.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.