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Studying Cambridge Global Perspectives™ opened up a range of topics for Mason Arnold – from immigration to Artificial Intelligence – as well as bolstering his research skills, helping him in his school subjects and preparing him for university.
‘Global Perspectives is a very good research class. In this class the teacher is not necessarily a teacher, they're more of a guide. They're not supposed to hold your hand, but they open you up to the subjects.
‘It definitely helped me in my English courses, because it enhanced my methodology in writing, and for history it has taught me how to be a better researcher and how to use sources more effectively in a paper.
‘It teaches you how to make sources have a conversation between each other. Before when I wrote, it could be choppy and just be a list of different things, but after Global Perspectives I was able to weave together what the sources were saying, and where they agree or disagree with each other.
‘When we go on to university we need to be better at independent research, and Global Perspectives definitely helps with that.’
Mason also appreciated the freedom Global Perspectives offers to choose your own topics. Students do both independent and group work, researching their own choice of subject. They are encouraged not only to find out the subject and explain what they discover, but reflect on how they approached the research, what methods to use and how effective they are, and the reliability of information.
‘Last year I did a paper on the ethics of Artificial Intelligence, and looked at how it is used in war. At the Pentagon they are developing more and more advanced autonomous robots and drones, improving what they can do. If you give them a programme or tell them to execute a certain protocol they will do it without hesitation.
‘That fascinated and scared me a decent amount, because if humans have a weapon or if a non-thinking machine has a weapon they are very different things, and there is the question of the morality and conscience of it.’
‘I also looked at immigration, and if immigrants are economically beneficial to the United States. It definitely changed my mind on things. I’d had vague assumptions but doing the research helped me understand the nitty gritty of the subject, and see that people on both sides overstep what they are claiming and miss certain aspects.
‘It has definitely helped me mature as a student and that is going to be super beneficial to me going forward.
‘I’m doing all this infinite research and actually formulating it myself, and not having too much outside guidance, but just the support on the basics.
‘Global Perspectives is a very interesting opportunity to learn about something that you wouldn't normally learn about in school. You become the teacher yourself, you are making the curricula, and you are making the lesson plan.'
Mason Arnold studied Cambridge International AS & A Level Global Perspectives at John Overton High School, in Nashville, Tennessee in the United States. The school has around 2000 students, and offers some Cambridge IGCSE courses as well as the Cambridge AICE Diploma.