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A case for educational qualifications for academics teaching accounting

Pat Addison
Curtin University of Technology
Recently the Federal Minister for Education, Dr Nelson, argued that university academics should have educational qualifications. Vice Chancellors did not agree.

However, such a strategy is supported by eminent educators of the ilk of Bruner, Whitehead, Ramsden, Glaser, and a host of highly regarded educators, so it seems that Dr Nelson is right.

Accounting academics were criticised in the late 1980s for being too dominant in the classroom, for using textbooks, for focusing on techniques, and for ignoring literacy skills inter alia. The Mathews Report (1990) even commented that lack of research indicated that many Australian academics lacked intellectual curiosity and recommended that teaching and assessment methods be changed to improve student learning.

The educational environment has changed since then. First, the system is now a mass system; second, the level of student achievement is now much broader; and third, the environment has been internationalised. This has made change more difficult for academics. The continued use of lectures has not helped.

Nonetheless, eminent accounting educators want a greater focus on foundational questions in accounting, because the accounting core, the superstructure, provides a bridge to other disciplines like economics, mathematics, psychology, to name a few, which enrich accounting and are enriched by it.

The reason I favour some educational training for accounting academics is that students cannot begin to debate foundational issues unless they are exposed to a constructive environment where they learn and teachers facilitate. It is particularly important that students learn how to ask and defend questions. That is why they must have opportunities to speak out. It will also demonstrate that academics are 'curious' by using research in teaching.

Training is necessary to change the way we teach.

Please cite as: Addison, P. (2003). A case for educational qualifications for academics teaching accounting. In Partners in Learning. Proceedings of the 12th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 11-12 February 2003. Perth: Edith Cowan University. http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/addison1-abs.html

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Last revision: 13 Jan 2003. This URL: http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/addison1-abs.html