Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Shelby-Caffey, Crystal

Second Advisor

McIntyre, Christina


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to understand children’s school experiences during the 2018 Nicaraguan uprising. The main participants were 10 children from first through sixth grade (one per grade) who participated in phases one, two, and three, along with their parents and teachers. The research questions inquired into how the sociopolitical crisis impacted students’ experiences, their parents’ and teachers’ viewpoints and perceptions of the events in terms of their children’s school experiences, and the strategies the adults used to manage the children’s stress caused by the events. The study is based on a theoretical framework of justice and democracy developed by John Dewey (1963), Lev Vygotsky (1978), Paulo Freire (1974), and Urie Bronfenbrenner (1979). The study also examined the importance of cognitive development of children, as posited by Jean Piaget (1963), and its relationship with their school experiences during the 2018 uprising. The data were collected in a period of ten weeks from mid-June to mid-August 2019. Students drew images, took photographs (photovoice), and answered questions during three interviews to share their stories about the event. The data were analyzed using Johnny Saldaña’s (2011) coding process.The study found that the children had built up a positive relationship with their teachers and parents and had developed a negative relationship with the police. The findings also revealed that 18 months later, the children still did remember the socio-political crisis and that talking about it triggered sadness, fear, and nervousness. In contrast, their parents and teachers believed that the children’s learning experiences were not affected by the 2018 uprising. They blamed a faulty education system for the children’s reduced learning. Because of the findings, the study recommends including a dialog approach among students that encourage students’ self-reflection and critical thinking, reading and writing strategies that encourage students to write about stressful situations and contracting with counselors to provide a series of workshops to educate teachers and parents about students’ emotions.

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