International Science Index


Post Earthquake Volunteer Learning That Build Up Caring Learning Communities


From a perspective of moral education, this study has examined the experiences of a group of college students who volunteered in disaster areas after the magnitude 9.0 Earthquake, which struck the Northeastern region of Japan in March, 2011. The research, utilizing the method of grounded theory, has uncovered that most of the students have gone through positive changes in their development of moral and social characters, such as attaining deeper sense of empathy and caring personalities. The study expresses, in identifying the nature of those transformations, that the importance of volunteer work should strongly be recognized by the colleges and universities in Japan, in fulfilling their public responsibility of creating and building learning communities that are responsible and caring.

[1] Michel Quinn Patton, Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods. Thousand Oaks, California, Sage Publications, Inc., 2002, pp.124-127.
[2] Patton. p.235.
[3] Ibid., p.342.
[4] Ibid., pp.555–566.
[5] David Gerard,“What Makes a Volunteer?”New Society 8, 1985, pp. 236–38., Penner, Louis A. and Marcia A. Finkelstein. “Dispositional and Structural Determinants of Volunteerism.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 74-2, 1998, p.525–37.
[6] Thoits, Peggy A. and Hewitt, Lyndi N.,“Volunteer Work and Well-Being” Journal of Health and Social Behavior. vol. 42, June, 2001, pp.115–31.
[7] Lewis R. Rambo and Charles E. Farhadian,“Converting: Stages of Religious Change,” in Religious Conversion, Christopher Lamb & M. Darrol Bryant, Religious Conversion: Contemporary Practices and Controversies, London, Cassell, 1999, p.25.
[8] Ibid., p.26.
[9] James W. Fowler, Stages of Faith.San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1981.
[10] Ibid.
[11] John Rietschlin, “Voluntary Association Membership and Psychological Distress.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 39, 1998, pp. 348–55.
[12] Van Willigen, Marieke. 1998. “Doing Good, Feeling Better: The Effect of Voluntary Association Membership on Individual Well-Being.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, August, San Francisco, CA.
[13] Thoits, Peggy A. and Hewitt, Lyndi N.,“Volunteer Work and Well-Being” Journal of Health and Social Behavior. vol 42, June, 2001, p.118.