Situational Language Teaching (Oral Approach)
The Oral Approach or Situational Language Teaching is an approach developed by British applied linguists in the 1930s to the 1960s. It is little known by many language teachers although it had an impact on language courses and was still used in the design of many widely used EF/ESL textbooks in the 1980s such as Streamline English The Oral Approach and Situational Language Teaching relied on the structural view of language. Both speech and structure were seen to be the basis of language and, especially, speaking ability. This was a view similar to American structuralists, such as Fries. However, the notion of the British applied linguists, such as Firth and Halliday, that structures must be presented in situations in which they could be used, gave Situational Language Teaching its distinctiveness.
Vocabulary and grammar control
One of the outstanding features of the method is its emphasis on vocabulary and reading skills learning. This led to the development of principles of vocabulary control. Frequency counts showed that a core of about 2000 words occurred frequently in written text and that a mastery of such an inventory would lead to better reading skills. Likewise, it has been believed that an analysis of English and a classification of its principal grammatical structures into sentence patterns (or situational tables) could be used to assist learners to internalize the rules and sentence structures.
Situation Language Teaching held a is behavioristic stand to language learning. It dealt with the processes rather than the conditions of learning. These processes include three stages: 1. receiving the knowledge or material
2. fixing it in memory by repetition
3. and using it in actual practice until it becomes a personal skill. The principles of the behaviorist theory of learning can be summarized as follows: • language learning is habit-formation
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