Purpose – This qualitative study seeks to gather rich, narrative data from police officers on the social environment of law enforcement classrooms and the classroom experiences valued most by law enforcement officers. Design/methodology/approach – The study used interview data from a focus group, as well as individual interviews. Findings – Data revealed one predominant theme, students' preference for adult education practices, and four distinct subthemes: engagement, practicality, affiliation, and efficiency. That is, officers valued courses that were interesting and engaging, were applicable to their everyday duties and responsibilities, provided opportunities for social interaction, and were presented efficiently. These subthemes or classroom preferences support the primary study finding that the students preferred adult education practices in their classrooms. The interviews revealed, however, that actual law enforcement classrooms do not always accommodate these preferences or foster the preferred classroom environment. Practical implications – Such findings, which should be supplemented with additional qualitative studies as well as quantitative surveys, may be informative for classroom design and instructional planning in the law enforcement setting. Originality/value – There is a dearth of research on officers' opinions about adult education in the law enforcement arena.
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 1, 2010
Keywords: Police; Law enforcement; Education; Learning
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