Reinvigorating the Bean-Counter: Changing Students’ Perceptions Through Reflective Educational Practice in an Introductory Accounting Course

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The study of introductory accounting is characterised by certain topics that have traditionally proved challenging for students often resulting in the adoption of a negative perception towards the academic discipline (Weil, 1989; Sharma, 1997; Lucas, 2000; Mladenovic, 2000; Lucas, 2001; Lucas and Mladenovic, 2006). Drawing on reflective educational theory (Moon, 2004) this paper describes the introduction of a reflective journaling exercise within a business information course in order to enhance student perceptions of course related material. An initial description of the context in which the research takes place is provided, including the nature of the course, its learning objectives and educational philosophy. The paper reports on prior student perceptions of the introductory course, Acct 102: Accounting and Finance for Business, through a longitudinal study of student cohorts. Using a participant observer approach the paper documents the introduction of the reflective journal, whilst referring to the relevant educational theory. The paper then articulates effective aspects of the teaching innovation and highlights areas which may need further development and support. Informal feedback from students suggests that the redesign has proved beneficial to their learning within the course. The paper concludes with suggestions for further research.


Keywords: Accounting Education, Reflection, Experiential Learning, Learning Goals, Student Perceptions
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Reflective Accountant, The


Nicholas McGuigan

Lecturer, Centre of Accounting, Education and Research, Lincoln University
Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand

Mr. Nicholas McGuigan has taught accountancy at Lincoln University since 2005. His research interests include, accounting education and environmental sustainability. He is currently involved in research looking at the application
of mobile technologies to support traditional learners, active methods of facilitation to re-engage student learners and student perceptions in introductory accounting courses.

Thomas Kern

Lecturer, Department of Accountancy and Information Systems, University of Canterbury
University of Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand

Mr. Thomas Kern has lectured in financial accounting since July 2008 at the University of Canterbury. His research interests include financial accounting for financial institutions, sustainable development and disclosures of financial institutions and accounting education.

Ref: L09P0479