Category Archives: Education

Pragmatic postmodernism and engagement through the culture of continuous creativity

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2018). Pragmatic postmodernism and engagement through the culture of continuous creativity. Accounting Education. doi:10.1080/09639284.2018.1471727

Abstract:  In order to engage students who have difficulty with the dominant world-view presented by accounting, or who have negative views of accounting, a different approach to teaching is required. We developed the concept of pragmatic postmodernism in the teaching of accounting to merge a postmodern teaching philosophy with the constraints and realities of teaching accounting. It represents an attempt to synthesise the individual learning needs of contemporary students who have difficulty accepting the dominant world-view of accounting with the constraints inherent in the resourcing, architecture and systems surrounding the teaching of accounting. The purpose of this research is to describe the thinking behind a pragmatic postmodern approach to the teaching of accounting. We provide examples of teaching approaches consistent with pragmatic postmodernism, that we have used successfully in our teaching to engage students who might otherwise be disengaged in their learning because of their rejection of the dominant world-view of accounting. In keeping with the philosophical underpinnings of postmodernism, we do not offer a magical panacea but an approach to thinking about teaching that seeks to prioritise the individual learning experience while remaining cognisant of the many constraints on the teaching of accounting.


Farewell my lovely: Can we resurrect accounting education research?

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2018). Farewell my lovely: Can we resurrect accounting education research? Paper presented at the British Accounting and Finance Association Accounting Education Special Interest Group Conference, Brighton, UK.

Abstract:   We examine the quality of published accounting education research and compare to the quality of the research in published general higher education journals.  We find that accounting education research compares poorly with general education research.  The reasons for this poor performance are associated with failures to address methodology (not method), to problematize the issues and to theorise the cases.  We propose modifying accounting education research to emulate research in general education.  We recognise that this is a difficult task due to the historically constructed power relationships with accounting education research, the cultural capital inherent in the dominant style of accounting education research and the habitus it has created.  We argue that the nature of accounting education research needs to change to end the symbolic violence inflicted on researchers and, through them, accounting students.

Believing the impossible: the use of visual metaphor to surprise accounting students

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2017). Believing the impossible: the use of visual metaphor to surprise accounting students. Paper presented at the BAFA Accounting Education SIG Annual Conference 2017, Cardiff.

Abstract:  To explain the concept of faithful representation in accounting, four works of art were presented to students.  By using the works of art as visual metaphors for different artistic approaches to faithful representation, students were able to construct shared meaning that helped them understand the application of faithful representation in an accounting context.  In this research, we explore the responses of the students to the works of art, how the art-works created dialogue that helped students to construct meaning in accounting, and student responses to the use of visual metaphor as a teaching technique in accounting.

Full paper is available from ResearchGate

Making accounting interesting: Achieving the impossible through storytelling?

Lenses of LearningMiley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2013). Making accounting interesting: Achieving the impossible through storytelling? In Flood, A. & Coleman, K. S. (Eds.), Disciplines: The Lenses of Learning (pp. 111-122). Champaign, Illinois: Common Ground Publishing LLC.


This research examines the use of creative student-led story presentations to overcome negative perceptions about accounting. It compares two groups of students: one group is enrolled in an accounting degree and the other group is studying a single course of accounting in a non-accounting degree program. While the non-accounting students responded positively and their perception of accounting was enhanced, there was little change in the attitude to accounting of the group enrolled in an accounting degree. Reflections on the results, the different responses of the two groups and the potential of creative storytelling approaches in university teaching conclude this chapter.

Link to publisher

Usng stories in teaching

Using Stories coverMiley, F. M., Cram, B., Griffin, A. L., Kennelly, R., McCormack, C., & Read, A. F. (2012). Using stories in teaching. Sydney: Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia.


Everyone loves a good story. We all recall our favourite stories. Storytelling techniques can provide a powerful aid to enhance student learning. Using Stories in Teaching is a scholarly and practical guide to assist teachers in higher education use or develop storytelling techniques. The authors outline the benefits of storytelling, locating the technique within the broader category of narrative.

The Guide covers practical aspects of using stories in teaching, including where to find stories, how to incorporate storytelling into teaching and which types of stories might be suitable for different teaching purposes. The process of finding, culling, incorporating, using and refining stories is viewed as a cycle with key questions and examples provided for each part of the process. The vast range of story types is outlined with links to appropriate repositories of stories. A range of delivery mechanisms are suggested, with assistance on choosing appropriate mechanisms for different circumstances. Throughout the Guide, references allow practitioners to move beyond the text to explore further this approach to teaching. There is guidance on whether stories should be told by the teacher or the students, how to assess the learning benefits of storytelling techniques and creative approaches to using stories in the classroom. The risks and challenges faced by teachers and students in using stories are covered, with suggestions for dealing with them. The Guide provides advice on ensuring that all voices are heard and respected and how to handle sensitive stories and difficult students. Creating a safe space in the classroom or in a learning management system is important, and this is especially so where personal experiences might form the basis of a story used in teaching.

Throughout the Guide, the authors draw on their own experiences and the experiences of their colleagues to provide real examples of storytelling as it is currently being used in Australian universities across a wide range of disciplines. These quotes provide examples of successes and lessons learnt from failures. Whether you are new to using stories in teaching, would like to develop existing storytelling practices or want to experiment with innovative approaches to a time-honoured technique, this Guide is designed to provide readily accessible ideas and suggestions from authors who have extensive experience in successfully incorporating storytelling techniques across a range of disciplines and learning environments.

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Using word clouds to empower students to become workplace learners

JoSoTL logo

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2011). Using word clouds to empower students to become workplace learners. Journal of the Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 11(2), 91-110.


This article examines student responses to a technique for summarizing electronically available information based on word frequency. Students used this technique to create word clouds, using those word clouds to enhance personal and small group study. This is a qualitative study. Small focus groups were used to obtain student feedback. Feedback indicated that students adapted their use of word clouds in ways consistent with their learning style preferences. Kolb’s learning styles inventory was used. Student response also indicated that word clouds have potential in the workplace.

Link to journal

Peer teaching for life-long learning skills

Miley, F. M. (2004). Peer teaching for life-long learning skills. Academic Exchange Quarterly, 8(2), 254-259.


The use of peer teaching has been incorporated into the teaching of accounting at the Australian Defence Force Academy.  This has created an environment where students take more responsibility for their own learning and become self-regulated learners, which is critical to the development of life-long learning skills.

Link to journal

Modern warfare techniques come to business education: Net centric learning as a targeted graduate attribute

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2010). Modern warfare techniques come to business education: net centric learning as a targeted graduate attribute. Paper presented at the 2nd International Conference on Business and Management Education, Bangkok, Thailand.


Net centric warfare is a modern approach to military engagements whereby information flows are more efficiently and effectively managed to neutralise military targets. This research shows how the principles of net centric warfare were adapted to develop a concept of net centric learning, which was used as an approach to group work with post-graduate business and management students. The approach was developed in response to a student survey that identified a need for targeted graduate attributes that developed team bonding skills, workplace communication and the ability to work in teams. Through the application of net centric principles to group work, the need to develop the graduate attribute of being able to work under pressure was also identified. The development and application of net centric principles to group work and student response to this innovative approach are also discussed.

Link to full paper

Reducing poverty one story at a time: An old technique enhances business education

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2011). Reducing poverty one story at a time: an old technique enhances business education. Paper presented at the 3rd International Conference on Business and Management Education, Bangkok.


In recent years, the importance of tertiary education has been recognised as a means of alleviating poverty.  This research focuses on business education.  Using a case study to show the success of an Australian undergraduate accounting course based around storytelling techniques, it is contended that storytelling provides an inexpensive yet effective means of business education that would be readily transferable to impoverished countries unable to provide the infrastructure and teaching resources associated with business education in developed countries.  Storytelling has particular appeal as a technique in impoverished countries because it is a form of knowledge transfer that comes from pre-literate societies and continues to flourish in societies where literacy is low.

Link to full paper

Link to 3rd International Conference on Business and Management Education