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Accounting and sustainability, encouraging a dialogical apporoach: integrating learning activities, delivery mechanisms and assessment strategies

Coulson, Andrea and Thomson, Ian H. (2006) Accounting and sustainability, encouraging a dialogical apporoach: integrating learning activities, delivery mechanisms and assessment strategies. Accounting Education, 15 (3). pp. 261-273. ISSN 0963-9284

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This paper documents the dialogic design of an honours level undergraduate degree course, Accounting and Sustainability. The course was designed as part of our individual commitment, supported by the wider department, to introduce elements of dialogic education (Freire, 1970, Pedagogy of the Oppressed , London: Penguin) into the accounting curriculum and make praxis an integral part of the students' learning experience (Thomson and Bebbington, 2004, It doesn't matter what you teach? Critical Perspectives on Accounting , 15(4-5), pp. 609-628). The main component of the course was a large group collaborative project to produce a shadow account (see for example Dey, 2003, Corporate 'silent' and 'shadow' social accounting, Social and Environmental Accounting Journal , 23(2), pp. 6-10; Gray, 1997, The silent practice of social accounting and corporate social reporting in companies, in: S. Zadek et al. (Eds) Building Corporate Accountability: Emerging Practices in Social and Ethical Accounting, Auditing and Reporting , London: Earthscan) on a major UK company, Sainsbury plc. The paper details the range of learning activities, delivery mechanisms and assessment processes developed to encourage a more dialogic educative experience in this course. Recounting our experiences and describing student outcomes may prove useful to others in designing courses in this specific subject area or more generally in other accounting courses. With this in mind a number of key issues associated with moving towards a dialogic approach are presented in the concluding section.