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Make connections to prior learning and experience

When embarking on learning in accounting, many students believe they will be dealing with new concepts. By linking accountancy to students’ everyday experiences, teachers can make them aware that accounting is part of everybody’s day-to-day life.

Teachers can help students make connections to prior learning and experiences by using a variety of strategies to surface and check prior knowledge.

  • Diagnostic testing could involve class brainstorms for the recognition of accounting terminology, for example:
    • Have your parents ever called something a “real liability”? When have you been “given credit” for something in your life? How much are you “worth”?
  • Gather information from the previous year’s learning, for example, discussing with previous teachers students’ proficiency in using the inquiry model. Access records of learning from the school’s student management system.
  • Give students a checklist of learning outcomes and prerequisite skills for a topic so that they can pre-assess their knowledge and identify gaps.
  • Encourage students to develop models or concept maps that link their existing knowledge and new learning, for example, “asset” is likely to be a broadly familiar concept. But assets in accountancy divide into current and non-current; non-current assets divide into investments, property, plant and equipment, and intangible assets, and so on.

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Teachers can use a variety of strategies to surface and recognise students experiences and learning styles.

  • Use on-line surveys (Survey Monkey) or postbox activities to identify personal experiences, for example: What sorts of bank accounts do students have? What jobs have they had? Will you get a tax rebate this year? What is the largest asset that you own and how did you fund the purchase?
  • Use a kinaesthetic activity such as creating an artifact box of items linked to the topic and adding to it throughout the unit. For example, for a unit on financial decision making, the artifact box could include: a bank statement, a travel brochure for a dream holiday destination, sunscreen, a matchbox toy car, food items, a CD of a band performing at Rhythm and Vines, pounamu representing trip to the Māori Speech Competition, a red pen symbolising debt, and so on.

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Last updated August 20, 2019