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Ideas for creative physical education

Bettina Frommann knows how to loosen up sports lessons in a playful way to increase motivation. The lecturer at the Institute of Sports Science publishes books and CDs with exercises and practical tips for students and teachers.

Woman in a bathing suit by the pool.
© pur.pur

Bettina Frommann ensures fun in sports lessons - whether in the gymnasium or in the swimming pool.

Ten of spades, jack of clubs, ace of hearts, nine of diamonds - 20 students of the bachelor's degree in sports science swim one lane after the other in the university swimming pool to find cards of their suit from the face-down pile of cards. When Bettina Frommann wants to train her students in terms of fitness at the end of a practical exercise lesson, she sometimes uses creative games with unusual materials.

"If I would simply ask the students to swim 30 lanes, I would reap long faces. But if dice, bingo sheets, clothes pegs or a deck of cards are used, motivation and willingness to work hard increases considerably," says Frommann.

The Kiel native already knows from her time in the teaching profession that a well-founded sports lesson should take the emotional side of learning into account and that the joy of exercise motivates more to lifelong sporting activity. For 14 years, the sports and French teacher taught all ages and levels at an all-day school, gathering valuable experience and ideas for playful exercises for sports lessons.

For more than 20 years she has been presenting these methodical-didactic instructions to teachers at congresses, advanced training courses and sports teachers' days. Frommann benefited from the wealth of experience she gained in teaching and further training when she moved to the Institute for Sports Science at the University of Kiel in 1999, where she initially took on the didactic training with half a job. Since 2001 she has been working full-time in the sports of swimming and badminton.

Because the lecturer was repeatedly asked by students and trainee teachers for written teaching material, Frommann began to systematise and restructure her collection of ideas in her free time. At the same time, a colleague's contact with Hofmann-Sportbuchverlag gave her the opportunity to participate in their book series "Praxisideen" (practical ideas).

This resulted in the books "Wilde Spiele" (Wild Games), a collection of exercises for sports teachers and trainers to fight in a playful way, as well as the "Wilde Spiele im Wasser" (Wild Games in Water), which deal with getting used to and coping with water on a playful basis. The tug-of-war in the water or the mutual chasing of clothes pegs, which works just as well in the hall as in shallow water, are just two of the numerous examples in the book, which provide for fun, but at the same time also for positive body experiences and can thus increase self-confidence.

In addition, four sports CDs with station and work cards have been produced, which are aimed directly at the pupils and support their independent sporting activities. They deal with wrestling and brawling, technical exercises or tactically clever badminton games. "In this way, the sports hall is used as a gym or coordination is improved in setback games," says Frommann, who has already launched her next book. A volume with ten lessons on "wrestling, scuffling, defending" will be published this summer. With this, Frommann wants to help the teachers in their preparations for physical education lessons.

All the books and CDs are intended to convey the emotional side of learning to students and teachers and to promote the sometimes playful approach to training with creative use of materials. Nevertheless, and this is important for Frommann, her sports courses at the university are not primarily about playing. The students deal with sports science such as training or movement science, medicine and pedagogy in the courses. But they also learn how to convey sporting content.

"Suitable didactic material for the hands of the teachers or the students supports the lessons," says Frommann, "and if my ideas can help young teachers get started in professional life or give older colleagues new ideas, the positive feedback is a nice reward."

Author: Jennifer Ruske