Nicole Akin



Document Type



In the latter half of the 20th century, the country of Nicaragua experienced major political upheaval, which not only affected political, social and economic policies, but education as a whole. Education has been a constant struggle in Nicaragua – this country is the second poorest in Latin America and has the highest dropout rate in Latin America with 52% of individuals leaving school before finishing their primary school education. The Sandinista movement rallied the country together and as a result helped to foster a rich culture and history of Nicaragua, which can be found in primary school social studies classes. This qualitative and naturalistic study investigated the social studies and history curriculum present in Nicaraguan schools as well as which strategies and methods were utilized in instruction. Multiple data collection methods were employed, including participant observations in primary classrooms, field notes, administrator and teacher interviews, and student and teacher artifacts. The findings of this study revealed that social studies is directly taught in the classroom primarily by rote memorization as well as informal instruction by cultural influences prevalent throughout the country. Students in this city were surrounded by buildings covered with political signs, references to political figures and their colors. Findings also showed an expanding communities model of learning social studies and history in this particular public school and the frequent integration of social studies into other subjects such as language and literature and the natural sciences. Furthermore, this research suggests that these educators strive for success and overcome any obstacles that may be presented, such as limited time allotted to social studies instruction as well as insufficient resources.


Elementary Education

Thesis Comittee

Jennifer Manak (Thesis Director)

Ryan LaBrozzi

Patricia Emmons

Copyright and Permissions

Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.