یادگیری تجربی در آموزش حسابداری: ملاقات زندان
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|10377||2013||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||9280 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The British Accounting Review, Volume 45, Issue 1, March 2013, Pages 24–36
Traditional pedagogic methods in accounting education have been the subject of some criticism with potential solutions referring to out of classroom experiences. This paper relies on the concepts of situated and experiential learning to assess the effects of a learning opportunity involving visits to prison by students enrolled in the final year of an accounting degree program. Data collected from a self-designed survey suggest that the students were intellectually and emotionally engaged in the experience emanating from the novelty and anticipation of entering closed walls and meeting inmates who were former professional accountants. Students appeared to learn a number of lessons including the nature of conflicts faced by professional accountants, factors contributing to fraudulent conduct, and strategies on how they might deal with such conflicts in their professional careers.
Accounting education has come under increasing scrutiny for its limitations in developing students' generic skills and higher learning outcomes (Adler, Whiting, & Wynn-Williams, 2004; Booth, Luckett, & Mladenovic, 1999; Deppe, Sonderegges, Stice, Clark, & Stueling, 1991). In response to such criticisms, entities such as the Accounting Education Change Commission (AECC) (1990) the Committee on Future Structure Content Scope of Accounting Education (1986) have called for a refocus of accounting education on intellectual, communication, and interpersonal skills within an active learning framework that emphasises self-learning. Following such calls, accounting educators have been repeatedly challenged to promote students' thinking skills in order to develop attributes that meet the expectations of the profession. In spite of changes in business practice and the respective skill sets that have transformed accountants into knowledge workers, there is little empirical evidence that traditional pedagogic methods, that have remained static for many years, can enhance the critical thinking skills of accounting students (Howieson, 2003; Wolcott, Baril, Cunningham, Fordham, & St. Pierre, 2002). Whilst graduates of accounting education are well regarded by the accounting profession as first-class technicians, this same praise also draws its critics. The traditional approach to accounting education has a mechanistic perspective that emphasises technical competence at the expense of a broad-based education. The application of rules and regulations in the practice of accounting leaves students narrowly educated and ill-equipped to solve competently unstructured problems and the complexities of real-world dilemmas (Adler et al., 2004; Blundell & Booth, 1988; Kelly, Davey, & Haigh, 1999; Williams, 1993). This occurred in part because accounting education in its traditional setting represents the acquisition of knowledge that is separated from real-world situations in which such knowledge is learned and used. While graduates of accounting education are generally well prepared with technical knowledge, they are ill-equipped to face the ethical challenges of the profession. Empirical research suggests that accountants are no more ethically aware than their peers in other business disciplines (see, for example: Armstrong, Ketz, & Owsen, 2003; Dellaportas, 2006). As a technical and value-free technology, accounting education could, in fact, be contributing to the moral decline of the profession (McPhail, 2001). A growing body of research suggests that rather than contribute towards students' ethical development, accounting education may actually inhibit students' ethical sensitivity and moral reasoning by emphasising ‘rule-based’ learning and conformance rather than autonomous judgement (Dellaportas, 2006; McPhail, 1999). Proponents of this view claim that accounting students are insensitive to the non-economic impacts on stakeholders, calling for ethics interventions in accounting education to sensitise students to the ethical challenges facing the profession. This is due in part to a profession that relies on neoclassical economic thought to analyse the practice of accounting (Ferguson, Collison, Power, & Stevenson, 2005). A broader approach to understanding the role of accounting is needed if accountants are to appreciate the impacts of the profession on matters such as the global financial crisis (Arnold, 2009). McPhail (2003) argues that the key to developing emotional and ethical sensitivity lies in the individual's empathetic capacity to enter into the experience of others. This paper represents an attempt to engage students in the learning experience by relocating the place of learning with those who have fallen outside of the law. The gravity of the problems facing accounting education was acknowledged by Albrecht and Sack (2000) who identify pedagogy as one of six perceived problems in accounting education. They are critical of pedagogic approaches that deliver content-based syllabi which do not prepare students for the ambiguous world of business. These methods, they argue, lack creativity and contact with real business situations. In their recommendations they emphasise the need to use, where possible, out-of-classroom experiences. Service-learning involving supervised work experience is one example in which students learn and benefit from real-world experiences, which according to Surridge (2009), have a positive and significant influence on the academic performance of accounting students. In addition to service learning, accounting educators have pursued and embraced many forms of experiential learning strategies (such as problem-based learning, role-playing and self-reflection techniques) to increase student participation in the learning process (Smith, 2001). However, such applications of experiential learning are classroom-based experiences that primarily involve business simulations such as case studies, film and role-plays (Bradford & Peck, 1997). Such simulations are advantageous because they save curriculum time and space, and they generate ideas which can be immediately tested (Wynder, 2004). However, such strategies are somewhat removed from the out-of-classroom experiences recommended by Albrecht and Sack (2000). Furthermore, pedagogical strategies that simulate real-world environments can only approximate rather than replicate the environment (Zlotkowski, 1996). Therefore, the likely effects of a simulated out-of-classroom experience are limited unless students are exposed to real-world situations rather than simulated environments. This paper relies on the concepts of experiential and situation learning to understand the lessons learned from an out-of-classroom experience involving a visit to prison. Few studies have been undertaken on prison visits and when they are, they are limited to examining the experience of entering prisons sometimes with notorious reputations (see Castlebury, 2007; Loeb & Ostas, 1997; McPhail, 2002). This paper complements existing studies by extending the experience of a prison visit to examine students' reactions to meeting and liaising with inmates who were former accountants. The aim of this paper is to determine the self-identified learning outcomes of a situation-specific experiential learning exercise that involved a field trip to prison where students engaged with inmates who were former accountants. Unlike traditional approaches to learning, this study does not assert nor assess predetermined learning objectives but explores the benefits of an out-of-classroom experience and the knowledge that students constructed from post-observation reflection. Overall, the findings suggest that meeting inmates with similar professional beginnings established a rapport that engaged the students in the experience, thereby enhancing the experience and crystallising the learning outcomes for future reference. The remainder of this paper is organised as follows. The next section describes the concepts of experiential and situated learning. In section three, we outline the research methodology which relies on the survey method of data collection. Section four analyses and presents the findings in terms of students' affective, cognitive and behavioural response to the prison visit. A discussion of the data along with a conclusion is presented in sections five and six.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The prison visits in this study were organised as part of an optional experiential learning exercise offered to students in the final stage of a three-year accounting degree program at an Australian university. The findings suggest that prison visits were a stimulating experience that highlighted the roles and responsibilities of accountants, ethical decision-making, and the consequences of illegal behaviour. Out-of-classroom experiences in accounting education, such as field trips, are an underused pedagogical technique that have many benefits, of which retention and recall is critically important. However, a prison visit must be more than just attention-grabbing if it is to have a lasting influence. The experience must engage the student in a way that remains in their permanent memory and will be recalled in appropriate circumstances: “I think what they had to say I will never forget” (L3, #13, Female). Whether the field trips will have lasting effects is uncertain, but it did appear to be effective in alerting students to the difficulties that they may one day face in their professional careers: “The experience would definitely help me in my career, as I am bound to come across challenging situations where ethical decisions have to be made” (D1, #13, Female). However, the most powerful message acknowledged by students in attending this field trip is: “Crime does not pay” (L2, #16, Male); a message that is already well understood, but even more importantly: “This is not where I want to end up” (L2, #20, Male). The findings of this study have shown that situation-specific experiential learning can be a powerful learning tool that has the potential to produce long-term learning outcomes. One question raised in this paper is whether the effects of a situated experiential learning exercise can contribute towards the development of students' ethical sensitivity. Proponents of ethics education argue that the ability to recognise, address and resolve ethical issues is enhanced when students are sensitive to ethical issues and possess the skills to analyse and resolve those issues in an appropriate way. The evidence of this study suggests that emotionally engaging experiences such as prison trips have the potential to affect students' ethical sensitivity and decision-making. Further research could investigate how emotions are linked to ethical sensitivity, and how to use emotionally-engaging activities in education, whether it is an out-of-classroom experience or other devices such as case studies, to develop professional and ethical attributes. The motivation to learn is a significant precondition of learning, particularly when facing a challenging situation such as a field trip to a prison. This study has shown that students are motivated to learn when they experience social phenomena through events that cannot be replicated in the classroom. In practice, conventional pedagogic techniques and situated learning could be used together to try to improve accounting education. Further research should consider alternative places in which accounting education could be relocated, such as the workplace, meetings in which key decisions are made, or a court case in which accountants are major players. However, in order to learn from experience, students have to engage with the experience and reflect on what happened, how it happened and why. Without reflection, the experience will merge with all other experiences and the learning is blurred (Kohls, 1996; Sims, 2002). Even though reflection may occur spontaneously, post-experience reflection should be planned and deliberate so that students may analyse personal experiences and make sense of them. Future research should consider the implications of reflective writing, where students can focus on making associations between issues, ideas, and/or experiences (Sims, & Felton, 2006). A study with a data collection focused on reflective practice may better articulate the benefits of such a field trip. The findings in this study, whilst positive, may not be generalisable to the general population of accounting students. The students who participated in this study volunteered their time and effort to participate in a non-assessable learning activity. Consequently, these students may have a predisposition to new experiences which gives rise to the possibility of a self-selection bias. Furthermore, the sample was comprised of students enrolled in the final year of a degree program in which Auditing is a popular course. Learned assumptions on fraud and auditors' responsibilities in relation to fraud could, in turn, influence students' perceptions or reflective observations of the learning experience.