Academic journal article e-Journal of Business Education and Scholarship Teaching

Students' Expectations of Teaching: The Business, Accounting and Economics Experience

Academic journal article e-Journal of Business Education and Scholarship Teaching

Students' Expectations of Teaching: The Business, Accounting and Economics Experience

Article excerpt


The study of learners' expectations of various aspects of quality teaching has become prominent in the last two decades (Addison, Best, & Warrington, 2006; Ferreira & Santoso, 2008). As education is a dynamic human activity it is obvious that students, being the end users of the academic community, would be able to provide important insights derived from their experiences in the classroom (Cunningham, 2008). Such feedback can be interpreted at various levels of the scholarship of learning and teaching. These include generic expectations that might feed pedagogies across disciplines, as well as those regarding specific fields of study or particular educational settings.

This paper explores these expectations in the business, accounting and economics disciplines. It also seeks to identify those expectations that differ from the current literature on effective instructional practice. This study reflects on literature about students' expectations and perceptions of what constitutes effective pedagogies in the last two decades in higher education. The findings are aimed towards informing course delivery and enhancing professional development programs, with the ultimate purpose of influencing the retention and success rates in business, accounting and economics faculties.


There are a number of useful reasons for identifying students' perceptions of which attributes contribute to quality teaching. There are practical, pedagogical, psycho-emotional as well as socio-economic motivations for conducting research. Practical reasons for such research include being able to identify their perceptions and needs for the purpose of developing curricula in a way that best engages students and promotes quality teaching (Addison, Best, & Warrington, 2005; Greimal-Fuhrmann & Geyer, 2003). The pedagogical reasons include teachers' reflections on aspects of their teaching for the purpose of improvement, and an inspired shift to student-centred environments from the dominant but quickly eroding transmission-oriented approach to teaching (Nisbet & Warren, 2000). Potential psycho-emotional benefits for characterising students' perceptions of effective teaching include the benefits of providing them with a sense of inclusion and participation in their own learning environment (Entwistle, 2009).

In terms of the socio-economic motivations for the present research in this climate of economic rationalism, where there is increased competition for enrolments and social inclusion dominating higher education in Australia (DEEWR, 2008), it would seem pertinent to ensure that students as consumers of the education system have their opinions taken into account on the basis of good business sense. Use of such feedback would encourage the sector to understand what its audience needs and to assist higher education policy makers in designing and delivering courses that enhance the learning experience and improve retention rates (Lizzio, Wilson, & Simons, 2002). It is noteworthy that students' perceptions about the quality of teaching in the accounting discipline deteriorate over their university time (Geiger & Ogilby, 2000).

Research also shows that student perceptions of effective teaching can be characterised within specific and general instructional settings and are relevant for designing staff academic development programs (Abrami, D'Apollonia, & Rosenfield, 1997; Lizio, Wilson, & Simons, 2002; Sheehan & DuPrey, 1999). Ultimately, their perceptions of the learning and teaching experience affect their attitude towards education and therefore academic performance (Ferreira & Santoso, 2008). Insights drawn from their responses are also very useful because these are issued by adults who have been sitting in schools and university classrooms for at least twelve years. They have been able to observe a great number of teachers, in a broad variety of subjects, and within a large range of learning environments. …

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