Issues in teaching and learning accounting among students who use English as a second language

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Although accounting is perceived as a numerical discipline, previous research has produced useful insights suggesting that non-proficiency in English language affects accounting education among some Asian students. However, there is a gap in the literature in terms of understanding how exactly accounting lecturers encounter this problem in the classroom. Without a narration of the experiences of accounting lecturers, who are the frontliners in the accounting education process, understanding the issues involved and policy responses would be limited. The present study responds to this challenge by conducting interviews with lecturers who have many years’ experience in teaching accounting among Asian students in Malaysian Universities. Interview data were analyzed using thematic analysis which uncovered three themes and how they affect accounting education. First, these students have limited vocabulary and find it difficult to understand explanations of basic accounting concepts. Second, lack of confidence arises from limited vocabulary and limits students’ productive interactions with their teachers–active learning is thus severely hampered. Third, students shy away from theoretical aspects of accounting and only memorize formulas and steps which they regurgitate during examinations. Implications of these findings and policy recommendations are discussed at the end of the paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-496
Number of pages24
JournalAccounting Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Accounting education
  • English-as-a-second-language students
  • English-deficiency in accounting education
  • lack of confidence
  • limited vocabulary
  • maths-anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Education


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