21st Century Orff Schulwerk: A Model for Collaborative Learning & Culturally Responsive Teaching


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All online Summer MECA
courses begin on June 8 and
conclude on July 31, 2020.

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June 5, 2020.

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21st Century Orff Schulwerk:
A Model for Collaborative Learning & Culturally
Responsive Teaching

June 8–July 31, 2020

Michael Kugler, in his introduction to Texts on Theory and Practice of Orff Schulwerk, discusses the Orff Schulwerk instructor as a teacher
of a transmitted body of material, one who is faced with the question
of whether to retain the prevailing conditions or to take on the
challenge of changing them. He prefaces this by saying, “Change and reform come about through the innovative dynamic of a culture.” (Kugler, 2011, p.16).

This course provides teachers with means of using the Orff Schulwerk approach in the context of 21st century educational frameworks that focus on culturally responsive teaching and collaborative learning. The objective is to design and implement a curriculum based on the Orff Schulwerk approach where instruction uses cultural information and processes to scaffold learning, emphasizes communal orientation, and focuses on relationships, cognitive scaffolding, and critical social awareness.

Teachers will design lessons and assessments framed in culturally relevant and responsive teaching; use purposeful inclusion strategies
for collaborative learning; examine criteria for curating folk songs, chants, dances, stories and poetry; design differentiated performance tasks to evoke creativity and higher order thinking skill; create meaningful rubrics that assess learning; and structure feedback for growth and proficiency. Assessments for and of learning will be built into each activity. Teachers may use the Music for Children series and the corresponding supplemental materials to generate lesson ideas.

The curricular framework in the 21st century Orff Schulwerk course is designed from the Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Teaching for Understanding, Understanding by Design, 21st Century Education, and the Teaching Tolerance Anti-Bias Framework frameworks. The
culturally responsive strategies are derived from works including Zaretta Hammond’s Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, and Harvard’s Project Zero routines.

Instructor: Manju Durairaj

Durairaj,_Manju_headshot_2012Manju Durairaj (MMEd ‘03) was born and raised in India. She studied in London, England, and was involved in graduate research projects on comparative pedagogical practices of Indian (carnatic) and Western Music. Durairaj is certified in Orff Schulwerk, having completed her levels training at VanderCook, George Mason University, University of St. Thomas, and at the Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria. She currently teaches PreK-5 general music at the Latin School of Chicago. She is president of the Greater Chicago Orff Chapter, has presented at ISME, AOSA, OAKE, ILMEA, ECMMA, MKMEA and NAfME (formerly MENC), and has been published in the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education.

Course Details

21st Century Orff Schulwerk:
A Model for Collaborative
Learning & Culturally
Responsive Teaching

Course Code 7490

Manju Durairaj

3 Graduate Credits

$1,050, due in full with registration

Online Chat Sessions


Required Text(s)

Software/Hardware Requirements
Internet access is required.

MECA Online Course Details
VanderCook Online is powered by Schoology ( Through this learning management system, you'll be able to interact directly with your instructor, students in your classes, and members of the greater VanderCook Online community.

Summer 2020 MECA courses officially begin on Monday, June 8. Soon after you register, you'll be added as a new Schoology user. Be on the lookout for an email from Schoology with log-in instructions. Once you are given credentials, visit to login. On the morning of June 8, you'll have access to your classroom and course material.

Some courses have specific online chat meeting times while others have a flexible meeting schedule; please check individual course descriptions and details. You can expect all courses to meet together in a live online chat. If you are unable to attend the scheduled live meeting time, please consult your instructor to make alternative arrangements.

You'll have the opportunity to work at your own pace each week while completing assignments and posting responses to discussion questions. You'll constantly be interacting with your instructor and classmates online, and working through new material each week. We know how crazy school schedules can get, so our instructors try to make everything as flexible as possible!

Transcript requests can be made online using the Transcript Request Form. Any inquiries regarding transcripts should be directed to the Registrar’s Office at 312.788.1151. If you are in need a quick turn around time for your transcript please submit the request to the registrar prior to the end of your course(s).


VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

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