Special Issue 5 (2) 2013 – Article
Orff-Schulwerk in Special Education: A Case Study
Maria Filianou & Andriani Stamatopoulou
In the school year 2012-2013 a cross-curricular programme was designed by a class teacher and a music teacher in a school for children with special needs in Athens, Greece. The programme was based on the Carl Orff approach. The purpose of this article is to show the advantages and the effectiveness of the elemental music and movement approach when applied in a group of students with special educational needs in a public school for special education.
The motivation of the cooperating teachers in selecting this specific group stemmed from the particular challenges that they were facing. The first challenge was the lack of homogeneity among the students. There were children with mental deficiencies, pervasive developmental disorders (autism) and rare syndromes. The second challenge was that the programme focused on only one specific topic that sought to acquaint children with their body and how to relate to it through space and time. The final challenge was the use of music and movement as the main means of achieving the goals of this programme. The goals were both musical and non-musical. The outcomes of the programme were thought to be positive by both teachers. The students worked in a group and their cooperation increased progressively during the programme. They showed progress not only cognitively but also psychokinetically and socially. At the end of the school year, their progress was marked by their participation in the school festival, in a performance of music and movement, which was the result of their efforts all year.
Orff approach; music; movement; autism; mental deficiency; body
Filianou Maria works as a music teacher for children with learning disabilities and pervasive developmental disorders. She has a master’s degree in special education. She has been working since 1984 with hearing impaired children. She holds a classical guitar degree and attended a two-year postgraduate course of Music and Movement Education C. Orff. She has a degree from the Faculty of Philosophy, Pedagogy and Psychology of the University of Athens and teaches on the three-year postgraduate course of Music and Movement Education C. Orff in Athens, Greece. She is Vice President of the Hellenic Association of Music and Movement Education C. Orff.
Andriani Stamatopoulou studied teaching at the Department of Primary Education, University of Athens. She then got a master’s degree from the postgraduate Special Education programme, at the Department of Primary Education, University of Athens. In her professional career she has worked for fifteen years at schools in Greece and abroad, with children with and without disabilities. In special education she has worked with children with blindness, cerebral palsy, mental deficits and autism.