Transforming teaching practice in a linguistic and culturally diverse higher education setting

Jen Tindale, Elaine Evans, Dawn Cable

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution

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Abstract

The Language for Professional Communication in Accounting (LPCA) project is transforming teaching practice in a linguistically and culturally diverse postgraduate accounting program at Macquarie University. The Master of Accounting degree is the largest postgraduate accounting course in Australia and allows students to combine a professional qualification from CPA Australia with a postgraduate qualification. Although the LPCA project was initiated partly in response to the needs of non-English background students and the demands of the accounting profession in Australia, the project‟s learning activities are designed to address the professional communication needs of all students in the degree. This paper provides an overview of a project where student diversity is regarded as an asset or resource to be valued rather than a liability or problem to be addressed. It reports on the way in which interdisciplinary collaboration is supporting the integration of academic and professional communication skills with discipline content within the Master of Accounting program. In the development of these skills, the paper discusses how accounting lecturers provide disciplinary expertise and language teachers from the National Centre for English Language Teaching and Research (NCELTR) focus on specific academic and professional skills linked to assessment tasks. It also outlines the ways in which students and teachers are benefiting from this ongoing transformation of teaching practice. In particular, the paper demonstrates how lecturers can move away from accounting „content download‟ and make a greater contribution to the development of students‟ professional communication skills. While designed to meet the needs of a specific group of students within a professionally oriented postgraduate program, the elements of transformation have relevance beyond the project. Among other educational goals, many professionally oriented university programs now face the challenges of preparing linguistically and culturally diverse groups of students to participate in workplaces that are equally diverse, and where new language demands are being created by organisational and technological change. The activities of the project described here may be of interest to practitioners in other institutions who are likewise considering ways to move beyond a deficit approach to maximize the opportunities presented by diversity, in order to provide a high quality educational service in return for the investment made by international students in their education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 33rd Improving University Teaching International Conference
Subtitle of host publicationtransforming higher education teaching and learning in the 21st century
Place of PublicationGlasgow, UK
PublisherImproving University Teaching Conference
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventImproving University Teaching International Conference (33rd : 2008) - Glasgow, UK
Duration: 29 Jul 20081 Aug 2008

Conference

ConferenceImproving University Teaching International Conference (33rd : 2008)
CityGlasgow, UK
Period29/07/081/08/08

Keywords

  • accounting education
  • collaborative teaching
  • student diversity
  • professional communication skills

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