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Didáctica Especializada

STRUCTURAL APPROACH

Method refers the way of teaching a language and approach refers the theories
of language learning. Types of Approach are Structural Approach and
Communicative Approach.
According to Cambridge international Dictionary:
Method means a particular way of doing something and Approach refers to
different theories about the nature and acquisitions of language or how
languages are learned.
Structural approach is a scientific study of the fundamental structures of English
language, their analysis and logical arrangement. (Brewington)
The SA is based on the
belief that in the learning
of a foreign language mastery of structures is more
important than acquisition vocabulary”.
The structural approach means the arrangement of
words in such a way as to form a suitable pattern of
sentence. The mastery of sentence structure in
considered to be mare with than the acquisition of
vocabulary.
In structural, content words are also taught. The
selection of content words is directed by their
usefulness, simplicity and teachability. An appropriate
situation should be created to practice the structure
and to relate its meaning to it and to build up a
vocabulary of content words even structure is
separately taught. The term is predated in an
appropriate situation by the teaching.
Structural approach is based on the theory of
behaviourist. To teach language through this approach
we have to understand the pattern and structure of the
language. Each and every Language has its own
structure. Every language differs structurally. There
are structural differences between Spanish and
English.

In Spanish the verb is placed at the beginning, at the end of the sentence or after the subject, for example:
Iremos al paseo mañana.
Al paseo iremos mañana.
Mañana, al paseo iremos.

But in English the verb is placed after subject and after the object or adverb according to sentence. The
learners have to practice this pattern thoroughly for naturalizing habits. C. C. Fires says:
Only after much practice of the same “Pattern” with diverse content do the pattern themselves become
productively automatic.

PRINCIPLES:
1. The important of a speech as the necessary means of fixing firmly all the ground works.
2. The important of forming language habits particularly the habit of arranging words in English sentence
patterns to replace the sentence patterns of the learners own language.
3. The pupils’ own activities rather than the activity of the teacher. Based in these principles, we can
resume this four aspects:
The structure approach just lays emphasis on drills. Since language is primarily speak, learning a
language means ability to speak the language. The structures, therefore, are drilled orally first before
the learner can read or write them. Moreover, since language learning is a matter of habit formation, it

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Didáctica Especializada
requires repetition so that the language habits
that are cultivated during the learning process
may be retained.
4. Usefulness: while selecting and grading
structures we should adopt frequency and utility.
The structures, which are more frequent in use,
should be introduced first.
5. Productivity: Some structures are productive;
other structures can be built on them. For
instance, we have two sentence patterns:
(i) Mr. John is here
(ii) Here is Mr. John.
Nita is there.
Is Nita there?
There Nita is.
There is Nita.
The former pattern is productive because we
can frame many sentence on the same pattern
like: ‘He is there’, or ‘She is there’, etc. We can
frame many such sentences from the latter
pattern.
6. Simplicity: The simplicity of structure depends on the form and meaning. The structure ‘I am playing
cricket’ is far simpler in form and meaning than ‘The patient had died before the doctor came’. The
simpler structure should be preferred to the complicated one.
7. Teach-ability: Some structures can be taught more easily than others. For example, the structure ‘I am
writing’ can be taught easily because the action, which it denotes can be demonstrated in a realistic
situation. To teach this structure the teacher will say:
(i) I played at 4 yesterday.
(ii) I played at 4 the day before yesterday.
(iii) I will play at 4 tomorrow.
(iv) I play at 4 everyday.

- Traditional grammar is relevant.


- Substitution tables demand practice.
- Syntax is considered all the time.
HE IS A PLAYFUL BOY.
ALL MEN ARE MORTAL.
(POSITION OF ADJECTIVES)
HE EXPLAINED HIS WORDS CLEARLY.
YOUR SON WILL SOON RETURN. ADVERBS
THE BOY IS CLEVER. SIMPLE SENTENCE
THEY ARE BOTH SMART AND INTELLIGENT. Join adjectives
THEY ARE SMART
THEY ARE INTELLIGENT
- Sentence structures are essential.
THE BOY WHO IS TEN YEARS OLD IS MY NEPHEW. COMPLEX SENTENCE
THE BOY IS MY NEPHEW. S+V+P MAIN CLAUSE
WHO IS TEN YEARS OLD. SUBORDINATING CLAUSE

GRADATION OF STRUCTURE
Structures are to be graded in the order of difficulty. Simple structures should precede the more difficult
ones. The following are some of the patterns that should be taught at early stages:
1. Two-part patterns She / gave / me / a book.
He / goes. 4. Patterns beginning with ‘there’
2. Three-part patterns There are twenty students in this class.
He / plays / cricket. 5. Patterns beginning with ‘a question verb’.
3. Four-part patterns Is she coming?

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Didáctica Especializada
Will he go? What does he do?
Has he brought the book? 7. Patterns of Command and Request
6. Patterns beginning with ‘wh’ type question Sit down
How are you? Please come here, etc.

ADVANTAGE:
- After learning five or six items can be categorized.
- This method help student to learn very fast because the subject matter is presented in form of
structure. Students understand it easily.
- Students first listen to the teacher and they repeat it. Thus they learn to speak first and then read
and write.
- When students learn the structure of the language, they automatically learn grammar. Words order,
use of the word and sentence pattern.
- This approach promotes the use of everyday English.
- This approach enables student to speak first which is very important and then read and write.
- Proper stress on oral learning.
- Both the teacher and the student are active.
- This method can be adopted for all the students of language learning.

DISADVANTAGE:
- This method prefers the selection and gradation of the structure which does not solve the problem of
teaching English.
- This approach doesn’t advise the teacher how should he present the structure of the language or
teaching material?
- This approach does not advise the teacher about the teaching material for written exercise.
- The technique of gradation is good in theory but it is not good in practice work
- Structural approach is not suitable for higher classes.
- Drilling makes the atmosphere of the class dull and boring.
- Only well selected sentence pattern can be taught.
- Predsed text book can not be taught.
- More teaching aids are needed.
- If the structure syllabus is followed strictly, it is difficult to complete the syllabus.

Reference
Patel, M.F & Praveen M. Jain. (2008). English language teaching: Methods, tools & techniques. Vaishali
Nagar: Sunrise Publishers & Distributors.