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Create a supportive learning environment

A supportive learning environment is built upon effective learning relationships between teacher and students, where both understand their respective roles in the learning process.

Michael Absolum (2006). Clarity in the Classroom. Auckland: Hodder Moa. See chapter 2-3 Learning focused relationships.

Use contexts relevant to students

Draw on the knowledge of students’ families, whānau, and their local communities because they all have experience of accounting and financial affairs.

Draw on the cultures and linguistic diversity of the wider school and on the backgrounds of your students. This helps students to feel valued and to engage with their learning.

Use contexts relevant to students, for example:

  • The majority of the students’ parents work in the local tourist industry or are involved in dairy farming. These could be used as key learning contexts.
  • The class has a high proportion of students who belong to the local church or the school has an affiliation with the local marae. These could be the community organisations to study in accounting.
  • Many students work part time for their family business. This could provide an ongoing context for learning different accounting concepts.

Facilitate co-operative group work

Collaborative group work can enhance relationships between students and make them more active learners.

Examples of group activities include:

  • Use Kagan's Cooperative learning structures – Rally tables to unpack students’ ideas and ascertain their understanding of a concept such as sustainability.
  • Use expert jigsaw activities with a written or visual text to interpret a company’s financial and non-financial information. For example, individual students in a group are given specific areas to investigate (profitability, liquidity, meeting user needs, cash management, and financial stability) and then report back on to their home group.
  • Use an activity that involves small groups of students working together to decide how to get to their destination on a class trip. They must ensure that any member of their group can explain and justify the group decision. See, for example, Kagan's Cooperative learning structures – Numbered heads together.

Consider cultural aspects and perspectives

Consider cultural perspectives and ethnic and linguistic diversity as you interact with accounting students.

Acknowledge students’ whakapapa (family history), their whānau (family), and iwi (tribe). View Te Kotahitanga interviews:

Provide experiences that draw on customary practices, for example, discussing how a koha (gift) or tithe is reported in the financial statements.

Acknowledge and observe tikanga and other cultural values and practices, for example, showing generosity towards visitors, not sitting on desks, following protocols around eye contact with students, observing personal space.

Respect the languages of the students, for example, by pronouncing names correctly or seeking translations of some of the key concepts into students’ home languages.

Listen to all student responses and value their contributions. For example, provide opportunities for students to share their existing knowledge and experience in a KWL exercise (What I know/What I want to know/What I have learned).

Practice ako or reciprocal learning – teacher as learner and learner as teacher, for example, when students share the latest media release they have found about a NZX company being studied.

Learn more:

The ethnic mosaic of New Zealand’s population is changing, with the Māori, Pacific, and Asian ethnic groups making up a growing proportion of the population. Projections show that New Zealand will have greater ethnic diversity in the future.

Learn more:

Make links to the school community

Liaise with teachers in other departments on how accounting interweaves with their learning areas and identify common approaches and content that can be developed to improve student learning. Examples could include:

  • considering the concept of sustainability from the perspectives of accounting, health, and home economics
  • exploring links with agriculture and horticulture and with business studies, relating to the business side of small enterprises, for example, budgeting as exercised by farms or agricultural contractors or considering the costs of production
  • exploring links with economics, such as considering aspects of cost volume profit analysis
  • exploring links with mathematics, for example, the use of ratios and percentages in particular GST
  • exploring links with technology, for example, considering using application software such as Excel or MYOB
  • exploring links with legal studies, such as the statutory requirements of a company or partnership.

Involve parents, caregivers, and whānau

Involve parents, caregivers, and whānau in what is happening in accounting classrooms by:

  • drawing on parents’ business/household financial management as learning opportunity case-studies
  • having the students teach their parents an aspect of computer-based accounting at a parent evening, for instance, how to use a spreadsheet function to write a cash flow statement
  • arranging with the class to invite parents/whānau and kaumātua to share historical approaches to accounting, for example, the methods used by Māori traders and the challenges that they faced.

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Last updated June 11, 2018