How does it work

We use the CLIL method (Content and Language integrated Learning) to teach children German

Handball is a popular and reputable Olympic sport that is still relatively unknown in New Zealand. The fact that it is unknown helps us awaken the children's curiosity. When we explore the world of Handball, we can discover many interesting cultural, historical and geographic facts about Germany, and we can also explain the game and the logistics, that all contribute towards making Handball great.

In theory this would be possible with any sport, or activity, but we find Handball works particularly well, because it is such a popular European sport, and it can involve an entire class of students at once. There is a position on-court, or off-court, for everyone!

And because Handball isn't well known, the entire class will pay attention to how it works. If we tried the same method with other more popular sports, such as Football or Basketball, we would find the class quickly divides into those that excel at the game, and those that don't.

But this Handball project is certainly not just about sport, it is more about 'learning by doing'. Learning a language by doing activities. It involves reading and writing, and learning to plan and communicate instructions, and understand and remember words and phrases all because they are related to the Handball context. The children will feel they are part of team and that their creative and physical output all contribute towards that team's common goal, to play Handball!

An example of learning German by playing Handball

This short video was produced showing how easily children engage with handball and German. In this case, in the space of just a couple of hours, these children learned some german, and some handball, all whilst having a pretty good time.

The optimal format

Whilst the video above shows the key elements of the approach, it's important that your lessons are regular and progressive, not just a one-off experience. We would recommend between 3 x 1 hour sessions and 6 x 1 hour sessions. Alternatively some teachers may choose to use the methodology for an entire term, setting aside 1 hour per week.

We provide modules which explain examples of the methodology, but we also strongly encourage you to invite our 'German speaking Handball motivators' into your school to help deliver the lessons.

Your teaching plan could look like this:

Short Version

Week 1 - Introduction and team chants

Week 2 - Team warm up and training

Week 3 - Actual games and quiz

Standard length

Week 1 - Introduction and discussion

Week 2 - Writing and performing chants

Week 3 - Team warm up and ball practice

Week 4 - Positions, strategy and rules

Week 5 - Warm up games and quiz

Week 6 - Actual game and reflection

Whole Term

Week 1 - Introduction and discussion

Week 2 - Team warm up and planning

Week 3 - Writing and performing chants

Week 4 - Positions, strategy and rules

Week 5 - Team warm up and ball practice

Week 6 - Warm up games and exercises

Week 7 - Quiz

Week 8 - Team warm up and exercises

Week 9 - Team/goalkeeper exercises

Week 10 - Game

Note: The ratio of indoor vs outdoor activities, and also the amount of actual physical exercises can be varied to suit the class dynamic. In theory it would be possible to present the entire program inside the classroom, but we encourage you to do at least some of the sessions in open space, ideally the schools netball court or in the school hall or gym. This is because there are so many obvious benefits, once the learning can be connected to the some sort of physical movements and activities.

To explore our suggested Handball modules, please click here.