Orff and the “ivory tower”: Fostering critique as a mode of legitimation

Terry Locke (2009). Orff and the “ivory tower”: Fostering critique as a mode of legitimation. International Journal of Music Education, 27(4), 314-325.


This paper begins by recounting the development and implementation of a unique, mutual agreement between the School of Education at the University of Waikato and Orff New Zealand Aotearoa (ONZA) to develop three Masters-level courses in Orff Music Education: Theory and Practice. The rationale for this project is detailed and related to changing conceptions of post-graduate study and debates about continuing “professional learning” for teachers. It is argued that at the heart of the exercise, is a problematic around theorization. How can an approach to pedagogy such as Orff Schulwerk be incorporated into a programme that demands critical reflexivity? A number of “solutions” to this problematic is provided. A case is made that involving teachers (as practitioners and prospective researchers) in addressing this problematic will have positive consequences for Orff Schulwerk in New Zealand (and beyond) and for debates about classroom pedagogy in general.


Terry Locke has worked at the University of Waikato since 1997 and is Professor of English Language Education. He has written or edited a number of academic and text books, the most recent being Developing writing teachers (Routledge, 2015). He has also published books of poetry, the most recent being Ranging around the zero (Steele Roberts, 2014). His research interests, apart from music education, include the teaching of writing, fostering teacher professionalism, constructions of English as a subject and the teaching of literature.

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