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This study investigated the current state of the U.S. and Chinese urban middle school math teachers' pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) for the topic of functions. A comparative, descriptive case study was employed to capture the PCK of 23 teachers in Arizona and of 28 teachers in Beijing, regarding their instructional knowledge, understanding of student thinking and curricular knowledge--three key components based on Shulman's conceptualization of PCK--related to functions. Cross-case comparisons were used to analyze the PCK of teacher groups across countries and socio-economic statuses (SES), based on the questionnaire, lesson plan, and interview data.
This study finds that despite cultural differences, teachers are likely to share some commonalities with respect to their instructional decisions, understanding of student thinking and curricular knowledge. These similarities may reflect the convergence in teaching practice in the U.S. and China and the dedication the two countries make in improving math education. This study also finds the cross-country differences and cross-SES differences regarding teachers' PCK. On the one hand, the U.S. and Chinese math teachers of this study tend to diverge in valuing different forms of representations, explaining student misconceptions, and relating functions to other math topics. Teachers' own understanding of functions (and mathematics), standards, and high-stakes testing in each country significantly influence their PCK. On the other hand, teachers from the higher SES schools are more likely to show higher expectations for and stronger confidence in their students' mathematical skills compared to their counterparts from the lower SES schools. Teachers' differential beliefs in students' ability levels significantly contribute to their differences between socio-economic statuses.
Minority mental health patients face many health inequities and inequalities that may stem from implicit bias and a lack of cultural awareness from their healthcare providers. I analyzed the current literature evaluating implicit bias among healthcare providers and culturally specific life traumas that Latinos and African Americans face that can impact their mental health. Additionally, I researched a current mental health assessments tool, the Child and Adolescent Trauma Survey (CATS), and evaluated it for the use on Latino and African American patients. Face-to-face interviews with two healthcare providers were also used to analyze the CATS for its’ applicability to Latino and African American patients. Results showed that these assessments were not sufficient in capturing culturally specific life traumas of minority patients. Based on the literature review and analysis of the interviews with healthcare providers, a novel assessment tool, the Culturally Traumatic Events Questionnaire (CTEQ), was created to address the gaps that currently make up other mental health assessment tools used on minority patients.
I conducted a qualitative, comparative study on the nursing education systems in the United Kingdom and the United States, focusing on two universities—Arizona State University in Phoenix, Arizona and Leeds Beckett University in Leeds, England. The goals of my thesis included comparing the educational, economic, and cultural aspects of the countries and how those aspects impact nursing students on both sides of the pond. The educational and economic aspects were compared by utilizing existing literature and open data sources such as the university websites and publications from comparative education journals, while the cultural differences were evaluated by conducting short, one-on-one interviews with students enrolled in the Adult Health courses at both universities. The findings from the interviews were transcribed and coded, and findings from the sites were compared. While there is an extensive amount of research published regarding comparative education, there has not been much published comparing these developed countries. While there is a significant difference in the structure and cost of the nursing programs, there are more similarities than differences in culture between nursing students interviewed in the US and those interviewed in the UK.