The school and immigration histories of women from the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores region of Portugal: Its impact on their relationship with their children's education within Toronto's elementary school system

Maria Margarida Aguiar
Education, University of Toronto - CANADA, 1994
January, 1994
Master's thesis


In this study, adult immigrant women from a specific cultural group contribute to this process by examining key experiences in their lives from childhood to adulthood.

Through in-depth audio-taped interviews with seven immigrant women originally from the island of Sao Miguel, in the Azores region of Portugal, these women examined three stages in their lives; (1) their early schooling on the island, (2) immigrating to Canada, and (3) having children in Toronto's elementary schools. One of the primary purposes of the study was to understand what impact elementary schooling and immigration experiences had on the lives of these immigrant women and to examine the possible connection to their relationship with their children's education.

With the aid of an interview guide, the women were able to recall and reconstruct a detailed and comprehensive description of the school system they attended on the island over twenty years ago and in some cases longer. They also shared their feelings and perceptions of their personal immigration experience and we begin to understand what it meant for these women to immigrate from a small rural village to a large urban city in a very different country. And finally, as mothers of children attending Toronto's elementary school system, the women discussed their hopes and aspirations for their children's futures and what they expect from their children's schools. It is hoped that as schools gain more understanding of the personal experiences and values of the parents and in some cases, as in this study, of the mothers of their diverse student population, schools and other related services may be better able to assist and support parents of different socio-cultural backgrounds in their role of nurturing and guiding their children throughout their school years. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)