Structural Approach This method encourages a learner to master the structures of English. A structure is an arrangement of phrases in a sentence.
This approach presupposes English comprises ‘structures’ and they can be taught by systematic selection and gradation of the structures and vocabulary.
Grammatical structures are learnt by language drills and repetitions in the early stages. Learners have to attain mastery in using 275 graded structures and 3000 root words.
This method uses the following for teaching English:
1. Word order: Word order or sentence structure can change the meaning
2. Function words: Function words modify the meaning of a sentence.
3. Inflections: an affix (prefix or suffix) can change the base form of a word.
Principles of Structural Approach :-
Prof. F.G. French has put forth the following principles:
- Learners have to fix up habits of the English language patterns
- Learners’ activities are more important than those of the teacher
- Oral work is the base for the other language skills are built up
- The structures of English are mastered – they are to be picked up, practised and fixed in mind;
- Meaningful situations are created by dramatization to teach language skills
- The teacher teaches one language item at a time.
Merits of Structural Approach :-
- The controlled practice of structures leads to improvement of accuracy over a period of time;
- Structures are taught based on the principles of selection, gradation, patterns of sentences
- and types of sentences. Hence, a lot of time is saved;
- English is taught in meaningful contexts; and
- Speech is given importance.
Demerits of Structural Approach :-
a. Learners’ LI is not utilized in teaching and learning
b. Language use is a matter of creativity. Teaching a limited number of structures may restrict learner’s potential to use the language; and
c. Language drills and repetitions are mechanical.
d. In order to teach English using structural approach, teachers should be well-versed with linguistics, especially syntax.
e. Oral work is overstressed.