Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Gary Cameron

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Dr. Steve Sider

Advisor Role

Internal/External Member

Third Advisor

Dr. Carol Stalker

Advisor Role

Internal Member



For more than a decade, researchers have concluded that immigrant parents face several barriers to becoming involved in their children’s education. All studies agree that language and cultural differences are the most significant barriers to immigrants’ involvement in their children’s education, yet we know little about what these cultural differences are and how these cultural differences influence the school involvement of immigrant parents. This study integrates theories of cultural differences, acculturation, and culture shock and the corresponding literature to investigate the lesser involvement of immigrant parents in school-related activities.

A focused ethnographic design was employed and a thematic analysis was conducted on data resulting from interviews comprised of hypothetical scenarios and open-ended questions given to twenty Egyptian immigrants and ten school personnel of the Waterloo Region District School Board. In addition, several close-ended questions were asked of Egyptian participants for the purpose of collecting demographic and language information.

The findings of this study were categorized under four major themes of home-school relationship, cultural differences, acculturation journey, and resilience. Parent participants of this study had both positive and negative experiences with the Ontario educational system, were mainly involved in home-related activities and less involved in school-related activities, and had faced several barriers to their parental involvement in their children’s education.

Unlike previous studies, this study found that cultural differences have both positive and negative influences on Egyptian immigrant parental involvement in their children’s education. The three identified cultural differences in this study are the consequences of the determined four cultural dimensions (high power distance, collectivism, high uncertainty avoidance, and high context); the differences between Ontario’s educational system and the educational system in participants’ home country; and the differences between the ways in which participants and school personnel expressed their concerns. In addition, the findings of this study provide an understanding of the conditions, processes, and outcomes of the acculturation journey that influence parent participants’ involvement in their children’s education. This study concludes by providing a comprehensive model to understand Egyptian parental involvement in their children’s education.

The implications of this study are of special interest to school personnel, social workers, settlement workers, educators, researchers, and any stakeholders who work with immigrants in order to provide immigrants with the services that best meet their needs.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season