Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Ruth V. Brittin

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Haydon Keithcart

First Committee Member

Rachelle Kisst Hackett


The goal of this research set in a kindergarten in a suburban school in Shanghai, China, was to determine the effect of an Orff-based music curriculum on migrant children’s social emotional competencies.

The quasi-experimental design included students in two kindergarten classes, where one class of 28 students was randomly assigned to receive the treatment while the other class of 28 served as the control group. The intervention was a 16-session Orff music curriculum over a period of eight weeks, aimed at improving children’s social competence. Data were collected from the two classroom teachers who provided ratings of their students’ social emotional competence before and after the intervention by completing the newly translated and validated Chinese version of the teacher form of Social Emotional Assets and Resilience Scales (SEARS-T) (Merrell, 2011).

The results indicated that, after participating in the Orff-based musical program, children in the treatment group were rated significantly higher in responsibility, social competence and self regulation as compared to children in the control group beyond that accounted for by the pretest scores and gender. No statistically significant improvements in children’s empathy was found after participation in this program.

This study provides some of the first empirical data regarding the possible benefits of using an Orff-based musical program to enhance migrant children’s social emotional competence in Chinese suburban schools. In addition, the development and validation of the translated Chinese version of the teacher form of Social Emotional Assets and Resilience Scales (SEARS-T-CH) for use in China adds to the study’s value, allowing for further study of children’s social emotional competencies as observed by teachers of migrant students in China.





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