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Cogent Education

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I investigated U.S. elementary teacher candidates’ global perspectives before and after completing a student teaching experience in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The samples, four elementary teacher candidates (TCs), purposely selected for the present study, completed student teaching in a Primary School in Xian, PRC, because they all come from Midwestern-culture family, complete teacher preparation course work, and are ready to do student teaching. I employed math lessons in this exploration of TCs’ global perceptions, looking for modifications; my primary interest was in potential changes from provincial to more refined perspec- tives. It is worth noting that the questions may have may have communicated expectations that such changes would occur. Interviews and class observations were collected from the four candidates and analyzed by means of an axial coding process across the four candidates. Results demonstrated that pre-service teachers change from what I termed a “local” (or what might be termed “parochial)” perspective to more “global” views of schooling and culture. The four teacher candidates evinced this new sophisticated understanding along three axes, (1) the global cognitive development, (2) the social strategies change under different physical environments, and (3) noticing and appreciating cultural divergence. An evolving sense of justice appeared to connect the three concepts. A tangentially connected issue that came up, as might be expected, was the vulnerability of candidates’ foreign communication skills. TCs’ effectively developed their global perspectives in teaching math lessons and suggest that math or STEM may be better for acquiring global perspectives than are either social studies or language arts.


Originally published in Cogent Education in March 2023. The article can be found at


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