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A Critical Theory and Postmodernist approach to the teaching of accounting theory

by Kieran James
Critical Perspectives on Accounting ()

Abstract

This paper outlines my teaching philosophy for the Accounting Theory subject. A Critical Theory and Postmodernist approach is recommended, which makes full use of non-accounting "tangential" material [Boyce G. Critical accounting education: teaching and learning outside the circle. Critical Perspectives on Accounting 2004;15(4/5):565-86] and material from popular culture [Kell P. A teacher's tool kit: an introduction to social theory. In: Allen J, editor. Sociology of education: possibilities and practices. 3rd ed. Southbank, Melbourne: Social Science Press; 2004. p. 29-51 [chapter 2]; Nilan P. 'Reality TV'? School students and popular culture. In: Allen J, editor. Sociology of education: possibilities and practices. 3rd ed. Southbank, Melbourne: Social Science Press; 2004. p. 306-21 [chapter 14]]. The paper discusses some classroom interactive activities, as well as interview results from interviews conducted with 11 international students and one Australian student at Charles Sturt University. The teaching approach proposed in this paper is to conduct classroom interactive activities which study theories and research results from a range of disciplines in order to illustrate key points that apply equally as much to accounting theories and the accounting research process, e.g. the Positive/Normative dichotomy. Classroom interactive activities are discussed in class using the "dialogical approach" to education recommended by Freire [Freire P. Pedagogy of the oppressed. London: Pelican; 1996], Kaidonis [Kaidonis MA. Teaching and learning critical accounting using media texts as reflexive devices: conditions for transformative action or reinforcing the status quo? Critical Perspectives on Accounting 2004;15(4/5):667-73], Boyce [Boyce G. Critical accounting education: teaching and learning outside the circle. Critical Perspectives on Accounting 2004;15(4/5):565-86], and Thomson [Thomson I, Bebbington J. It doesn't matter what you teach? Critical Perspectives on Accounting 2004;15(4/5):609-28]. Once students gain experience in studying material from outside accounting, the interview results suggest that they are then better motivated [Wynder M. Creative management accountants: short case studies to promote creativity in the classroom. In: Paper presented at the Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand annual conference; 2006] and better equipped to study and evaluate accounting theories. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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