Gagné’s 9 Events of Instruction for English Language Lessons
Note: Gagné’s instructional events have been widely adopted for instructional design purposes in multiple disciplines. For example, K-12 school systems utilize his instructional events as a framework for lesson planning and evaluation. See my blog post on Gagné to learn more.
Teacher Preparation: Review the lesson and consider content that requires scaffolding (support) to English speakers of other languages (ESOL) such as bringing in realia or images of uncommon words, prepping review of grammar or pronunciation rules, or considering practice activities and resources. Gagné’s (1985) nine events are iterative meaning you can jump around. For example, you might need to gain attention or provide feedback at different moments in a lesson. Also, ongoing assessment should occur for formative assessment checks in addition to summative assessment (test of everything they learned) at the conclusion.
- Gain Attention: (Simple strategies) Show images or items you plan to discuss in the lesson. Practice pronouncing them. Ask if they are familiar with them. (Complex strategy) Role-play activity with ESOL teachers to demonstrate the situation.
- State Objective: Write the objectives on the board and check them off as you cover them. This helps the learner know what has been covered. Simplify the language of the objectives, so students will understand them. Use drawings for beginning levels. See the list of verbs for language objectives below.*
- Stimulate recall of prior learning: Have you ever_____? Share experience. Tell me about ____. Use brainstorming to illustrate information on whiteboard. This will tap into their prior knowledge and ready their brain to receive related information for enhanced storage and retrieval.
- Present content: Direct instruction of lesson. Provide examples and nonexamples.
- Provide learner guidance: Accommodate learners as needed. Answer questions (consider ‘wait time’ across cultures may from a few seconds to minutes before a response). Guidance can be as simple as a head nod for the accuracy or other total physical responses such as going up on your toes when a syllable is emphasized in a word.
- Elicit performance: Participants do the task individually, pairs, or whole group. Use gaming activities to make learning interactive (e.g., Hangman, Spelling Race, Mime for Guessing Game).
- Provide Feedback: Answer questions and assist participants one-on-one. Provide clarification verbally and in writing. Check workbook. Provide answer key and let them check their own answers in pairs.
- Assessment: Ask some basic recall and application questions. Ask higher order questions for analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Assessment can be as simple as raising hands for polling questions. Alternative assessments include performance or production of artifact (drawing, essay, pamphlet).
- Enhance retention and transfer: 1) In one word, how can you use what you learned today in your life/work? 2) Use language strategies to practice what you learned today. Which strategies will you use? Recommend appropriate strategies listed in my blog post. 3) Review newly learned material at the start of next class for retention.
I prepared this instructional sequence for novice ESOL teachers to prepare their lessons. I’ll definitely be adding to it. I’d love feedback/input from my ESOL/EFL peers!
The following verbs can be utilized to write learning objectives that focus on language functions: (Excerpted from Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2012)
- Listening – tell, role play, identify, review, label, describe, define, name, match listen, recognize, pint, show, follow;
- Speaking – name, discuss, rephrase, summarize, explain, tell, use;
- Reading – preview, read aloud, find compose, construct, create, design, elaborate, specific information, identify, skim, test, infer, predict, hypothesize, invent, design explore Evaluation – choose, decide, recommend, select;
- Writing – list, summarize, ask and justify, defend, support answer questions, create sentences, state and justify opinions, write, contrast, classify, record; and
- Vocabulary Development – define isolated words, define words in context, find words and construct meaning.
Echevarria, J., Vogt. M., & Short, D. J. (2012) Making Content Comprehensible for English Language Learners: The SIOP® Model. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Gagné, R. M. (1985). The conditions of learning. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.
Sandra Annette Rogers, Ph.D.