An update

My how time flies!

9yrs and one adopted child later, I am into celebrating Vietnam big time in these last few months before repatriating back home to Australia!

This year marks my 20th year of full time Music teaching and 18yrs in International Schools in Asia.

I am both excited and nervous to be repatriating. Hopefully I’ll be making improvements to keep this personal blog more current.

Stay tuned for interesting posts!


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‘Words’ The Real Group

As we begin our PYP IB Exhibition, here’s an interesting a cappella song on ‘Words’. In particular it appealed to me as it has a unique song structure and conveys an interesting message. Have a looks Grade Five Students! Ms Sally Ox

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Orff Schulwerk Music Education

Orff Schulwerk approach to Music Education

You may recognize an amazing piece of music for Symphony Orchestra and Mass Choir called ‘Oh Fortuna’ from the Cantata ‘Carmina Burana’. It is often heard on TV advertisements as a dramatic persuasion for you to buy products. It is indeed a fantastic musical work representing the composer Carl Orff in all his glory, which premiered in 1937.

Carl Orff was a German composer who not only wrote music, but had a passion for believing in all children and their imaginative creativity. Along with a devoted and outstanding music student, Gunild Keetman, the two educators began a Bavarian radio program based on their music education teaching philosophies, engaging children throughout Germany.

The ‘Orff teaching philosophy’ is based on building from children’s elemental music knowledge of singing, chanting, dance, movement, drama and playing of percussion instruments (both tuned and untuned). Orff’s approach is an inclusivity of music education for everyone, believing that each human being has within them music skills and creativity. This matches my own personal music teaching philosophy borrowed from another Hungarian composer and Music Educator, Zoltan Kodaly; ‘all children can sing’. Not only that but I believe everyone needs to have the chance to be exposed to the Orff approach and have fun learning music and how to create.

Through Orff and Keetman’s Bavarian radio program and the work of Orff and Keetman in the 1950s, resources were gathered in the form of what is now known as the ‘Orff Brown Books’: Orff-Schulwerk: Musik fur Kinder (Music for Children).

In 1949, Schulwerk teacher training began at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. In 1961, the Orff Institute was established as a center for teacher training and classes for children (a dedicated building opened in 1963). The Orff Institute also serves as an information center for practitioners worldwide who subscribe to Orff and Keetman’s views of elemental music and movement education. Currently there are Orff Schulwerk associations in 29 countries, with international interest and activity continuing to grow and profoundly influence pedagogical practice in music and movement.

We have been very fortunate to have some of the great Orff Music Educators Doug Goodkin (USA) and Richard Gill (Australia) visit UNIS Hanoi and work with our students in this music education approach within the last ten years. I have also been supported by UNIS to successfully complete Orff level 1 and will continue my journey in Orff music education with Orff level 2 in the summer holidays.

Please feel free to contact me via email if you have the desire to learn music and create. As the old Chinese proverb from Confucius says: “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” Now’s the time, just do it!

Happy practicing!

Sally Oxenberry                                      

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Mallorca, Spain, Summer 2013

Yes it is true that it’s taken me far too long to write about my final class and graduation in Mallorca last July summer holidays! So here it is…..

I booked a lovely two bedroom apartment in Mallorca, just two minutes walk from my school and 5 minutes walk to Cala Mayor; one of Mallorca’s lovely beaches. Here on the balcony, I spent 12 days studying; watching the cruise ships arrive and depart while writing my final papers and cramming for the final four hour exam.

As in previous visits to Bangkok, I flew in a day before the class and out the day after class finished. I discovered unexpected beauty in Mallorca on the island within the scenery, food, people and our class of course! I would advise others who take this summer study masters program to stay a few extra days at least to explore and discover the rest of Mallorca as well as recover from the study.

View from balcony

View from balcony

My last course ‘Leadership and Group Dynamics’ was a great cohort with challenging discussions and experiences with fellow students whom I’d spent three/four years studying. We knew each other quite well and enjoyed debating, encouraging, supporting and heckling each other! A great way to finish!

The final four exam was rather intense yet a great sense of accomplishment once the results are in and the entire Masters achieved. It was a wonderful way to celebrate graduation over a jug of sangria at one of the many beautiful beaches, feeling relieved and proud of our achievements.

Cala Major beach

Cala Major beach

Next journeys in our career paths – some friends from our cohort are already Principals at International Schools, some are school leaders, some wonderful teachers with high ambition. For myself, I’m not sure where I’m headed, but feel a sense of achievement still and am putting to good use skills developed over the four years in my leadership roles at UNIS Hanoi.

Currently I am Team Leader for ES Arts and run weekly teacher workshops for a group of 12 Vietnamese Instrumental Music Teachers; leading our Instrumental Program. A dear colleague/friend and I will present our findings and activities at our school on Peer Coaching for Team Leaders at the next EARCOS Teachers Conference in Bangkok this coming March. I am also actively wanting to get more involved with Orff Schulwerk Music Teaching pedagogy in Vietnam and Asia having recently returned from a very successful Orff Levels course in Canberra, Australia.

Education  is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the  world.
Nelson  Mandela

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Running and Boot Camp

Yes, I’ve become a bit of a fitness freak! The Bee Active bootcamp and runners in Hanoi have gotten to me and I’ve been training for almost three years now in Hanoi. I love running around the lakes, particularly West Lake which can vary from anywhere between a 10k to 15k run. A group of us have been encouraging and supporting each other with these runs on Sunday mornings.

Just before our winter holiday break a group of us travelled to Siem Reap for the weekend to participate in the Angkor Wat half marathon last Dec 2nd. A fantastic event for a great cause. We all achieved great results and returned to Hanoi for another week of teaching and another round of running at the Song Hong half marathon on the following weekend!

Amazing efforts from everyone who ran!

I love our supportive community here in Hanoi. I couldn’t feel more proud as I completed my second half, running across the finish line exhausted yet hearing only words of encouragement from fellow teachers, administrators, colleagues, friends and my students!


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TCNJ Round 3

Ed Admin Advanced and School Finance – who knew it could be so fascinating with such a great Prof and class!



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Cultural Foundations, School Law and Supervision

Had to get us doing a ‘jazz hands’. Fun class, great discussion.

Great people, a memorable class.

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TCNJ Round 2

Here I am back at Ruamrudee International School for my second session of summer study in the Masters in Ed Leadership course run by the Global Program in Bangkok from The College of New Jersey. I’ve started off with a bang in the Cultural Foundations in Education class. So far it’s been interesting discussing various forms of multiculturalism and relating that to our wonderful international classrooms. There are heavy readings and quite a load of work, but good fun reuniting with old classmates from last summer (and of course missing those who graduated) and realising how connected we all are in the international school circuit, especially here in Asia, where I would argue are the best international schools!!

So, back to hitting the books, or laptop and study study study for a while!!

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RAKs and PYP Action

RAKs and PYP Action.

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Sallys radio 7

Sallys radio 7.

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