Author

Jane Fraser

Publication Date

2006

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

First Advisor

Cunningham, Phyllis M.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Department

Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education

LCSH

Voluntarism--Ontario||Older people--Ontario--Psychology

Abstract

Older adult learners participated in a volunteerism study to examine the learning and social purposes of urban and rural citizens enrolled in urban and rural adult education classes. The older adults were subjects of their own study, rather than objects studied by researchers. Their data revealed knowledge of the mesostructure of society in the family role and volunteerism. Fourteen phenomenological interviews were conducted and analyzed utilizing the constant comparative method. Researcher reflections were included in the qualitative analysis. Emergent themes included the meaning of volunteerism for the individual with subthemes of continuity of the individual self and affiliation with a volunteer community. Subthemes of generativity included passing talents and skills to the next generation, volunteering in the family role, and preserving the quality of life for future generations. Subthemes for older adult lifelong learning included learning-oriented personalities, learning as living, purpose-oriented learning, learning focused on local communities, heterogeneity of older adult learners, application of learning to volunteerism, and description of volunteering as learning. Survey data were collected from 60 urban volunteers, 30 urban administrators, 30 rural volunteers, and 30 rural administrators. Survey respondents reported numerous similarities, such as motivation, commitment, and the benefit of acquiring a good feeling from volunteerism. They also felt that they were giving back to society. Urban and rural volunteers demonstrated informal volunteerism in their family roles. Rural older volunteers reported a mutual return from their volunteer surveys. Implications for adult education included the transfer of adult education pedagogical skills to older adult education, recognition of age-specific learning needs, extension of time for acquiring new knowledge and skills, and development of age-segregated programs. Further research utilizing the phenomenology method and focusing on the family, workplace, and volunteer site will improve policy for older adult community-based education and volunteerism.

Comments

Includes bibliographical references (pages [163]-166).

Extent

xxiii, 177 pages

Language

eng

Publisher

Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type

Text

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