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Ignite Curiosity with a “Movie Trailer” on Day One

Ignite Curiosity with a “Movie Trailer” on Day One


by Alex Witkowski




At the semester’s start, Professor Ambrosio models his lesson after a movie trailer, building excitement for an often dry subject: tax accounting.


What do Donald Duck, day care, and cable television have to do with tax accounting? It takes only one class with Professor Fabio Ambrosio of Central Washington University to find out.

On the first day of his Tax Accounting course, Ambrosio throws everything but the kitchen sink into his animated lesson plan. Packed into his slide presentation are a little-known Disney video, a cell phone poll, and a game about tax brackets. But it isn’t just the pedagogical tools that are wide and varied; it’s also the content.

“A lot of students don’t really concern themselves with things that actually impact their lives every day,” Ambrosio explains. “I want [their first day in my class] to be a life lesson about how there is a secret world of tax [that is] all around them and they don’t even know it.”

What unfolds within minutes of students entering the room is the course equivalent of a film trailer — an aerial shot of all that students have to look forward to in the semester ahead. The class is treated to a sweeping vista of content, zooming in on the most exciting landmarks that will be visited along the way. And anyone who felt intimidated by the words “tax accounting” is suddenly reaching for the popcorn.


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