Accounting Heutagogy?

In considering the second prompt, my immediate concern related to self-assessment and heutagogy is the student who is purely there for an A and nothing more.  (I think these students are becoming more and more common as grade inflation continues to rear its ugly head.)  If I’m teaching a introduction to financial accounting class, there’s three types of students in the class: those who definitely want to continue with accounting, those who are on the fence, and those who are there because they have to be.  Heutagogy would seem to work with the first two groups, but the third are probably the most likely to take the easy way out and set low goals for themselves.  I would even imagine that the students who self-select into accounting might be overly concerned with objective measures of performance.

I think that classes later in the curriculum might benefit more from heutagogy.  In particular, the topic of auditing is much more subjective in its content and application.  (Auditing, for those who don’t know, is the third-party verification of financial information so that outside parties, such as stockholders, can rely on the information.)  There are so many cases where the correct or incorrect decision is not clear, and as such, the self-set goals of the classes could be much more focused on the students’ involvement in the learning process as opposed to the standard “did you get the right answer” goal.

A particular example would be case-based learning, where students are put in a real situation and asked what they would do in the situation and why.  Afterwards, we would cover what actually happened and why.  This would allow the students to not only self-assess their progress, but even potentially explain why they might still stick with (or change) their decision, even given the known outcome.

In summary. it seems that the more subjective a class’s content is, the more suited it would appear to be for self-evaluation and heutagogy.  But I’d be happy to be wrong about this!

7 thoughts on “Accounting Heutagogy?

  1. Hi Bob,
    I resonated with your post about accounting students, because I teach nursing students (both undergraduate and graduate) and your characterization of categories of students definitely have similarities with mine. Students want to become nurses, and then advanced practice nurses, for lots of reasons. Some want a stable and reasonably well paying job that is portable. Others are much more passionate about not only the content of nursing, but also the identity of nursing, and want to become change agents and make health care better. Others are a somewhere in between. It has been argued that Heudagogical techniques are really for the more mature end of the spectrum of learners, and thus, as you suggest, better for the final part of a curriculum. What I find so challenging is when any given class holds all these categories of students, and to try and make a course work well for all of them. The thing about self-determined learners is they are fantastic to share in a learning community, but they can de facto intimidate others. In some way they raise the level of expectation, but the other students can be left in the dust. I welcome any suggestions you have.

    1. Your insights into teaching nursing students resonate with my experience in accounting education. It’s indeed a challenge when a class comprises diverse motivations and learning styles. Regarding your concern about self-determined learners, integrating daily horoscope insights into the curriculum could foster a sense of community, providing a unique perspective that appeals to a broad range of students. This might help bridge the gap and create a more inclusive learning environment, encouraging collaboration among students with varying levels of enthusiasm and commitment

  2. My first thought is to agree with you on this. However, I hope to be wrong about it as well. Coming from an ESL perspective, all of our courses tend to be skill specific rather than content driven, yet we also hold the charge of giving the students enough tools to survive beyond their ESL class and continue to learn. I am working on this very problem because the attitude towards English learning has changed. In the beginning, it is was seen as this great opportunity and something one should do. Now students see it as a barrier to their goal. Something they have to do before they get to do what they want. I feel it is a bit of a crisis. How do you get someone to be self motivated when they have these feelings? Sorry, I just realized I did not have any suggestions for you, but I can say I understand. I am excited to see what other people think.

  3. Wow! I agree that heutagogy is the best method for intrinsically motivated learners and I also like your suggestion about using it later in the curriculum, after students have already learned a few things. However, I think what heutagogy offers is an opportunity for students to share more about what they want to learn with the instructor. I think even people who are in nursing programs just to get jobs, are still fascinated or interested in particular aspects of nursing. Allowing them to learn a bit more about what they want to learn might be the “hook” that really catches them and takes them from disinterested learners to intrinsically motivated and engaged learners.

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