AGO lesson plan

4. AGO lesson plan

AGO: Aims, Goals, Objectives


In some situations, it is more appropriate to speak of aims, in other circumstances of goals, and in yet others of objectives. The main point of the lesson is to introduce and emphasize the idea of purpose. No attempt should be made to bring out the philosophical differences between these since this usually confuses students.

This notion of purpose broadens the perception of a situation. The AGO is a device to get students to focus directly and deliberately on the intention behind actions. What is the actor aiming for? What is trying to be achieved? What does the actor want to bring about? What are the actor's objectives? What are the actor's goals? 

Being able to define objectives helps the student's thinking in such areas as decision, planning, and action of any kind which has a purpose. 

It is enough for the teacher to say that in some cases the word aim is more appropriate and in other cases goals or objectives. If pressed, teachers can make the distinction as follows: 

• aim is the general direction

• goal is an ultimate destination

• objective is a recognizable point of achievement along the way.

Teachers are strongly advised to concentrate on the general idea of "purpose" and not to make the distinction. Without a sense of purpose, all actions are either reactions to a situation or matters of habit or imitation. The intention of the lesson is to focus attention directly on purpose as distinct from reaction.

PRACTICE ITEM 1. Only 2 minutes are allowed for this practice item and then the teacher asks the groups in turn to give a possible explanation. When a number of explanations have been given the teacher should distinguish between the "because" explanations and the "in order" explanations.


  • Because the girl had been stealing money.

  • Because he was sorry he had been angry with her.

  • In order to show her that he could still love her and be angry at the same time.

  • In order to have her go to the movies more often and avoid any domestic tension.

  • In order to give him something to take away when he was angry again.

PRACTICE ITEM 2. Time allowed is 3 minutes. One group is designated to give its output and then the other groups can add points or comments. The emphasis here should be on trying to condense the different objectives into major categories; for instance: having fun, helping others, saving, investing, buying equipment to make money as with tools, paying for education.

PRACTICE ITEM 3. Each group is given one of the types to do an AGO for. If there are more than six groups the process is repeated and if there are fewer some types are left out. At the end of 3 minutes one group for each type gives its output and the others can comment or add to it.


  • Homemaker - to buy enough food within it,; budget.

  • Cook-to find the right quality food and variety.

  • Shopkeepers - to satisfy their customers and to make enough money to live on.

  • Manufacturer - to sell as much as possible and make as much profit as possible.

  •  Farmers - to get a proper return for their work and a stable market.

  • Government - to ensure food supplies and keep prices down.


Open discussion with the class as a whole, acting as individuals rather than in groups. 

  • Is it necessary to know your objectives exactly, always?

  • When is it most useful to know the objectives?

  • What happens if you do not have objectives?

  • How important are other people's objectives?

Learning points

The groups look at the list of learning points given in the student workcards. They are asked to pick out the principle they think is most important. The groups can also be asked to criticize any one of the principles or to make up a principle of their own. 

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