What is Structural Approach

By | Februari 23, 2017

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.

1. Structural Approach:

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. A 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 a 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 difference between Gujarati and English.

In Gujarati the verb is placed at the end of the sentence 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 :

• Language is system of structure and signals. Students can learnt very well if the teaching is accords with its structure and signals in scientific way.
• Students’ activity is important rather than the teachers’ activity.
• Importance of speech.
• Importance of the formulation of language habit in arranging words in proper pattern.
• Language learning may be very easy if language is presented into small structure which clears the concept of the language entirely.
• Language learning may be very effective if the structure of the language is presented in the context of the child’s mother tongue.
• The effectiveness of the language learning depends upon the quantity of the subject matter. If there is proper gradation of the subject matter, the teaching may be very effective.
• If the language is learnt as a living system, learning of language may be too effective.


After learning five or six items can be categorized.

• This method help student to learn very fast because the subject matter is present 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 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 that 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.


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

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