The Reflective Accountant: Changing Student Perceptions of Traditional Accounting through Reflective Educational Practice

By Nicholas McGuigan and Thomas Kern.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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, this paper describes the introduction of a reflective journaling exercise within a business information course in order to increase student engagement with course related material. The paper commences with a review of literature relating to reflective practice in education followed by an analysis on the use of learning journals, clearly depicting the advantages and disadvantages associated with this teaching technique. The paper then describes the context in which the research takes place, including the nature of the course, its learning objectives and its educational philosophy. Extracts taken from individual reflection journals and essays maintained by students are utilised to provide an evaluation of the perceived usefulness of the teaching method. The findings of the study are then discussed and analysed, with the conclusion and suggestions for further research presented in the final section.

Keywords: Accounting Education, Reflection, Experiential Learning, Learning Goals, Student Perceptions

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 9, pp.49-68. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.319MB).

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.


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