My Teaching Philosophy
The years that I spent developing training materials and teaching courses for an international CPA firm taught me to be very sensitive to the needs of the adult learner. I refer to this as “teaching the pros from Dover” (a take-off on a line from “Mash”). What I learned from this experience is that you do not really teach adult learners. Rather, with the aid of well-designed course materials, you guide them through a learning process. Adult learners take responsibility for their own learning.
As a teacher, I see myself as a guide. To know where I am going, I look through the eyes of the learner that I am attempting to guide. Doing this enables me to see things as the learner sees them. Once I understand the learner's vision, I develop course materials and create learning processes that will guide the learner to a desired learning outcome.
I see my students as adult learners, as stakeholders in their learning process. I have responsibilities in the learning process, just as they do. I assume that my students are in class because they want to be.
I do not know all of the answers. Neither do my students. Together we explore, discover, and relate what we learn now to what we learned from past experiences.
I am a teacher, a professional accountant, and an active member of my profession. As I guide students, I share my professional experiences and my vision of what I believe a professional accountant should be and what the profession expects from all of us.
I am a counselor and advisor. My experience in training and development gave me a unique perspective on how accounting professionals grow and mature throughout their careers. When students ask for help with career planning, I am most willing to talk about the many career options that are available.
I set high performance standards and encourage students to reach them. While setting high performance expectations, I believe that the evaluation process should be fair.
I expect ethical behavior. Honesty in all things is of paramount importance.
Accountants must be critical thinkers, effective communicators, and sensitive to the needs of clients and peers. I emphasize these characteristics in all aspects of my course design and teaching.
When I entered public accounting 40+ years ago, the pencil, paper, ruler, eraser, scissors, glue, and the adding machine were the “tools of the trade.” While these tools are still used, emphasis has changed toward technology.
Accordingly, technology plays a key role in my course design. I challenge students to learn how to use technology so that it becomes second nature to them. While doing this, sensitivity is key to success. Some students handle technology more readily than others.
I recognize my obligations to students, colleagues, the accounting profession, and to myself. Everything that I do is done with these obligations clearly in mind.
The accounting profession has been very good to me. Everyday, I do my best to pass this kindness on to others.
Dr. Rick Lillie