21st Century Orff Schulwerk: Developing a Social Justice/Anti-Bias Approach to Culturally Responsive Teaching


Fall MECA Online Courses
All Fall MECA online courses
are generally held from
Sept. 20 through Dec. 12, 2021,
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21st Century Orff Schulwerk:
Developing a Social Justice/
Anti-Bias Approach
to Culturally Responsive Teaching

September 20-December 12, 2021

In an era of heightened awareness of systemic inequities while navigating the implications of teaching in a pandemic, Orff Schulwerk teachers are faced with the challenge of building, repairing and maintaining positive learning partnerships that are key to culturally responsive teaching. As educators, we are tasked to examine ourselves and the resultant impact of our well-intentioned yet perhaps not fully informed instructional practices on our students and community.

This course examines the playful process of Orff pedagogy through the lens of the culturally responsive practitioner. The Orff Schulwerk process that is child-centered yet purposeful in curricular objectives can be adapted to integrate social justice standards of the Anti-Bias Teaching Tolerance Framework. Social emotional learning; developing healthy habits of mind; and developing strategies for cognitive demand tasks that will ensure that each student feels affirmed, safe, joyful, motivated and successful are key elements of this course as teachers examine their own practice with the aim of becoming a culturally responsive practitioner.

Participants will design a curriculum that critically curates repertoire, draws inspiration from relevant multicultural pieces and uses pieces from the Music for Children volumes and supplementals like Rhythmische Übung, Spielbuch for Xylophon and more. Lesson activities and assessments templates designed within the Anti-Bias Teaching Tolerance Framework will be provided with tools and strategies for delivering instruction and creating meaningful interactive content.

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.
21st Century Orff Schulwerk:
Developing a Social Justice /
Anti-Bias Approach to
Culturally Responsive Teaching

Course Code TBD

Manju Durairaj

3 Graduate Credits

$1,065, due in full with registration

Chat Sessions


Required Text(s)

Software/Hardware Requirements
Internet access is required.

MECA Online
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Schoology is a learning management system that allows you to interact directly with your instructors, fellow students, and members of the greater VanderCook community.

Fall 2021 MECA courses officially begin on Monday, Sept. 20. Soon after you register, be on the lookout for an email from Schoology with log-in instructions. Once you receive credentials, visit to login. On the morning of Sept. 20, you'll have access to your classroom and course material.

Some courses have specific online chat meeting times (please see course descriptions), while others have a flexible meeting schedule. You can expect all courses to meet together in a live online chat. If a live meeting time doesn’t work, you can work with your instructor to make other arrangements.

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