Structural Approach | Concepts | Merits and Demerits

Structural approach concepts:

Structural approach of teaching English simply means teaching the basic structures of English to the students. It is an approach and not a method , approach is used in between the method to fulfill some strategy.

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Structural approach came into existence at the university of London, in the institute of education and certain other university in USA. This approach is based on the assumption that the mastery of different structures are more important than the enlargement of vocabulary. The basic things needed in this approach is structure. In fact, structures are based on the assumption that solitary words have no importance it is only by combination that they assume importance.

The words are arranged in certain order according to the needs and importance of the situation. Structure may be complete utterance or form a part of a large pattern.

  • She is a doctor.
  • They have been playing since morning. Etc

In this above sentence we have seen that some words have been arranged to signify a complete sentence. Structure is nothing but the sentence pattern. Hence, the teacher has to teach the students the structures. i.e. “He wrote a letter” (subject+ verb+ objectives)

According to Horn Bill

Structure are the devices that we use to make signal to convey meaning and to indicate a relationship. In English the arrangement of word in the sentence is more important than the grammatical form.

The structural approach made a foundation of English by establishing through drill and repetition to enable the children to attain mastery over the structure.


Structural approach has the following merits of teaching of English.

  1. Active participation of the students:
  • In this approach students are active learners because they learn English through various activities. Unlike translation method where students remains passive. But in structural approach students have the opportunity to speak and practice structures. So their learning becomes effective as the students are active participants in teaching learning process.

2. Emphasized over speech:

  • Structural approach emphasis more on oral speech of language learning. Language is speech and not a writing. The students practice the structures through a number of oral drills like repetition, substitution, question answers and their drill works. If students are taught properly by this  approach they master the English pronunciation and fluency.

3. Situational Teaching:

  • Another advantages of this approach is that vocabulary and structures are taught in  the suitable meaningful situation with the help of objects, action and drawing on the blackboard and in verbal context. The approach follows teaching English through play way method. Which children loves to learn.

4. Habit formation:

  • Structural approach emphasis to form language habits. With the drill practicing students builds a habit of speaking English language.

5. Structural approach gives importance on activities of the students rather that the teacher.

Disadvantages/ Demerits:

1 .Structural approach is not suitable in higher class. Students in higher class may dislike repetition of structure through drills works.

2. This approach in teaching English emphasis on oral presentation and speech. It ignores the exposure of  reading writing and vocabulary expression.

3 . Lake of suitable teacher is another demerit of this approach. The success of teaching through appropriate methods and technique depends upon the quality of a teacher. Teaching of structural approach needs competent teachers but it is difficult to find a suitable teacher for this approach of teaching.

4. Using of this type of approach may hamper the completion of syllabus or the course of content. Because structural approach is a  time consuming technique.

5. Structural approach may not be helpful in teaching some topics like poetry, novella, story. Because the language and style of poetry generally do not follow the normal structures of language.

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