Using the Gouin Series in the Foreign Language Classroom

The Gouin Series is an activity that helps to move students from listening to speaking.  It was developed by Francois Gouin in the 19th century. The teacher presents a series of six to eight relatively short statements that describe a logical sequence of actions that takes place in a specific context—buying a gift, cooking a meal, making a cake, making a phone call, writing and sending an email. The statements include concrete action verbs and use the same tense and the same person.  The teacher first presents the statements to the class orally, accompanying them with pantomime of the actions involved.  Props are useful. The class responds first by doing the actions, and then responds by saying the words while still performing the actions. The class speaks first as a group and then as individuals.

Elements of a Gouin Series:

  • An introduction to  set the scene
  • Concrete action verbs
  • One specificcontext
  • One tense
  • One person
  • 7-10 -syllables
  •  6-8 statements
  •  Props or visuals
  • Logical sequence

How to Teach a Gouin (Action) Series:

  1. Teacher presents orally, with pantomime and props
  2. Teacher repeats orally, class pantomimes with teacher
  3.  Teacher repeats orally without pantomime, class pantomimes,
  4. Teacher repeats orally, individuals pantomime
  5. Class repeats orally and pantomimes
  6. Individuals lead the series
  7. Possible reading, writing activities

Example of a Gouin Series:

Going to Class

  • I put my book in my bag.
  • I walk to class.
  • I enter the classroom.
  • I sit down.
  • I take out my book.
  • I put my book on the table.
  • I open book.
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2 responses to “Using the Gouin Series in the Foreign Language Classroom

  1. it seems to me that this gouin series is much similar to TPR??

    Like

  2. Anita: If I remember correct the TPR is done in isolation, commands to do an action one at a time, and separate commands not needing to be related. The Gouin series has a distinct beginning and an end, using chronological order of actions to further the comprehension of the words and concepts.

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