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Context-based approaches, including place

A context is the setting or vehicle for learning. It enables new skills and knowledge to be introduced and explored.

The New Zealand Curriculum does not prescribe specific content or contexts for study. Teachers and students have the freedom to explore the big ideas in accounting and accounting practices in ways that will maximise learning.

Students will develop understanding of practices and issues regarding financial management by focusing on contexts that are interesting and relevant to their personal circumstances.

Approach units by choosing a selection of contexts that illustrate the content in sufficient breadth and depth to meet the learning needs and capabilities of the students. Choose a selection of contexts that illustrate the content in sufficient breadth and depth and that engage with students’ interests.

Consider their interests, prior knowledge, family background, thinking and learning styles, gender, the community they live in, their demographic status, ethnicity, and specific learning needs.

Sample context: Managing personal finances (level 6)

Why is this learning important?

Relevance to students’ current and future lives

New Zealand households currently spend more than they earn. In the last 20 years, the outstanding total household debt has increased more than six times in dollar terms.

A whole generation of New Zealanders (generation Y born between 1978 and 1994) are defined by their tendency to live on credit, spending well beyond their needs.

The growing national debt needs to be addressed, starting with individuals developing fiscal responsibility.

Students who learn to manage their finances, become fiscally responsible, and make wise choices will have a better quality of life and contribute meaningfully to society.

Links to previous or future learning

Introduce the vocabulary and basic accounting skills that will be used in subsequent units. (Refer to the appropriate sections in Pedagogy for ideas on reinforcing students’ literacy and numeracy skills, in the context of accounting.)

Who are the learners I am working with?

To introduce the topic, and discover more about your students, you could:

  • use Google Docs to create an online questionnaire for students that will give an overview of their current financial status and aspirations. Questions could focus on:
    • ways of gaining money (jobs, pocket money, gifts, selling possessions and so on)
    • any bad buys or other financial mistakes they have made in the past
    • the next planned major purchase (a good or a service)
    • what bank accounts and payment facilities they use.

You could also give a 'Flying in Five' (five-minute quiz) to start the lesson/unit to ascertain prior knowledge about source documents. For example:

True or false

  • When returning an item of clothing, an EFTPOS receipt is sufficient proof of purchase.
  • Another name for a bill is an invoice.
  • People are legally required to keep bank statements for seven years.
  • A voucher from a shop is the equivalent of cash.
  • An online bank statement is a source document.
  • A mobile top-up voucher is a receipt.

What content could we explore?

The choice of content will depend on the interests and prior knowledge of the students. It is informed by curriculum learning objective 6-1.

Possible content could include:

  • income, for example: wages, salaries, commission, interest, fees, rent, dividends
  • expenses, for example: insurance, rent, food, interest, entertainment, extended warranty
  • taxes, including: PAYE, ACC
  • borrowing, for example: hire purchase, credit card, student loan, mortgage – floating versus fixed, revolving credit
  • saving, for example: Kiwisaver, term deposits, call accounts
  • spending, for example: cash, EFTPOS, layby, keeping up to date with bank balance
  • source documents, for example: pay-slips, Eftpos receipts (guarantees, warranties), invoices, online bank statement, filing
  • financial decision-making using financial and non-financial information, for example, buying an expensive item
  • cash budgets
  • statement of assets and liabilities.

How will I teach this material?

Example 1: Borrowing

This activity involves investigating different finance options to purchase a good. It is an opportunity for students to make sense of borrowing information and previous spending experiences to arrive at a financial decision (the key competency thinking).

Students work in groups, each member of the group selecting a high-value item, for example, an i-phone, scooter or house, which they will need finance to buy. They investigate the cost of these items and the available finance options for obtaining them.

The depth of this task will depend on the students’ prior knowledge and interest and the resources available. (The teacher could provide a bank of resources or students could research the borrowing information.)

As part of the activity, tasks could be developed that require different levels of understanding, as defined in Bloom’s Taxonomy:

  • Knowledge recall: Define the finance options that could be used to make expensive purchases.
  • Comprehension: Use PMI (plus, minus, interesting) to rate different kinds of finance options and justify your decisions.
  • Application: Decide on the finance option most appropriate for each of the goods identified by the group.
  • Analysis: Explain and justify the finance option chosen for each of the goods.

Learn more:

Example 2: Preparing and using a cash budget

This class simulation involves students learning to plan and manage income, spending, and saving by preparing a cash budget based on hypothetical incomes and expenses involved in attending class. It provides a coherent experience that helps students make connections to real life.

The task will differentiate the learning as students self select the level of depth they wish to go to in terms of the types of incomes and expenses. There could be opportunities for feedback through students auditing their peers’ work.

Students draw up a cash budget based on incomes and expenses given by the teacher. They earn income by attending class (fixed income), completing homework (variable income), and can get teacher-selected rewards.

Expenses are incurred by using a desk (fixed expense), being late to class and buying free time (variable expenses), and other teacher-selected expenses.

Students record their income and expenses on a daily basis and, at the end of a specified time (possibly two weeks), compare their actual results to their budget.

Teachers could reward savers, for example, by holding an auction at the end of the unit to sell small items that students or the teacher could donate and then bid for.

The activity can be adapted to last as long as the teacher thinks appropriate for the class and to any level of depth, for example, the teacher could alter the cost of free time.

Example 3: Taxation

Students prepare a presentation about banking and tax matters relevant to themselves.

Ensure that the activity is engaging and motivating.

Encourages the students to use information and communication technology (ICT) effectively.

Help the students to develop the key competencies of thinking, using language, and relating to others.

Individually or in groups, students research the IRD and banking websites for information such as:

  • how to apply for an IRD number
  • the benefits of having an IRD number, for example, RWT on interest
  • tax forms that need to be completed to ensure any tax rebates are claimed
  • the best options for bank accounts, for example, low or no fees
  • available banking services.

Possible methods of presentation could include a poster, datashow presentation, brochure, mobile, or web page.

Links to assessment

A unit based around personal finances could contribute to achievement against these level 1 accounting achievement standards:

  • AS90981 Accounting 1.6 Make a financial decision for an individual or group
  • AS90982 Accounting 1.7 Demonstrate understanding of cash management for a small entity

Place-based approaches

At a practical level, place-based education sets out to answer two questions:

  • What is this place?
  • What is our relationship to it?

Part or all of the learning in your learning programme could be place-based, with direct links to the local community.

Place-based learning enables students to connect to accounting by understanding how it works within their current lives, in their local community.

The students are likely to have knowledge of how a community organisation operates. They will have associations with organisations personally or through their friends and whānau. Use their connections to identify suitable contexts.

Establish with your students what local organisations, including community organisations and associated small businesses, could be used as a focus for the learning.

Choose organisations of interest to the learners in the class that support the key accounting concepts, including both big ideas and accounting practices.

Visits to the selected community organisation(s) and associated local small business(es) could form part of the learning. Other contexts can be used in class but the main overall focus is the organisations within the local community.

Sample 1: Sticks Hockey Club

This community organisation is registered for GST on the payments basis with a trading aspect or annual fundraising activity, for example, they have a bar or they run a quiz evening. They collect subscriptions on an age basis, for example, mini, junior, senior, and family subscriptions.

Example 2: Flash Electricals

Katie operates as a sole trader and is registered for GST on the payments basis. She mainly services her local community, including the hockey club at “mates rates”.

Examples 1 and 2 could be taught concurrently by having a unit on each that relate the community organisation and the sole proprietor aspects. For example, financial statements for a community organisation would be taught, followed directly by the sole proprietor aspects.

What content could be explored?

Topics that could be covered include:

  • legal issues, including: incorporation, health and safety, employment contracts, membership rules, GST legislation
  • purpose of the community organisation, for example, as expressed in their mission statement
  • PAYE and GST returns
  • roles and responsibilities of committee members, for example, bar manager, functions organiser, and so on
  • financial documents
  • cash transactions through to final reports
  • bank reconciliation
  • cash management incorporating a cash budget
  • financial viability, for example, if the club/business has excess expenditure over income, how long can this be sustained? (Look at accumulated funds/equity.)
  • capital and revenue expenditure
  • treasurer’s report
  • liquidity, for example, current ratio
  • profitability of the trading aspect, for example, a bar needs to be self funding and a business needs to be profitable in the long run
  • equity of a sole proprietor
  • classifications of expenses in the income statement
  • profit and loss
  • balance day adjustments
  • sole proprietor analysis and interpretation
  • accounting software or Excel
  • reporting to committee meetings
  • online banking and authorisation
  • auditing practices
  • local media profiles
  • issues faced, for example, funding, fraud, collecting overdue subscriptions
  • links with other community organisations/local businesses
  • affiliations, for example, regional and national bodies
  • waste disposal
  • suppliers.

Links to assessment

Formative assessment can be use throughout the learning to assess understanding, misconceptions, and areas for further study. Students may want to adopt their own organisation to explore the different content being taught and to assess their comprehension of the different concepts being learned. Read more about assessment in the assessment section of this guide.

Using place-based examples could contribute to achievement in the following level 1 accounting achievement standards:

  • AS90976 Accounting 1.1 Demonstrate understanding of accounting concepts for small entities
  • AS90977 Accounting 1.2 Process financial transactions for a small entity
  • AS90978 Accounting 1.3 Prepare financial statements for sole proprietors
  • AS90979 Accounting 1.4 Prepare financial information for a community organisation’s annual general meeting
  • AS90980 Accounting 1.5 Interpret accounting information for sole proprietors
  • AS90981 Accounting 1.6 Make a financial decision for an individual or group
  • AS90982 Accounting 1.7 Demonstrate understanding of cash management for a small entity

Last updated October 3, 2012