Ans. An oral approach or Situational Language Teaching (SLT) is teaching a language based on speech, structure and a set of basic vocabulary. Situational Language Teaching is a way of teaching where students are engaged in drills of the target language structures that are presented in situations. Students repeat some selected dialogues or sentence structures while describing pictures through repeated drills. Through practising drills, learners form a habit of using the learned language in a context.
The approach in SLT follows the theory of structuralism emerged in the UK. In this approach, first, speech is the basic component of a language. Structure plays the central role in speaking. However, the structure should be related to the context of learning. Also, language is considered as a purposeful activity, which is related to the goals and situations of learning. Second, it follows a behaviourist approach to language teaching, which considers learning as habit formation. Similar to the Direct Method, this adopts an inductive approach to language teaching.
In terms of design, SLT focuses on the four language skills. Therefore, it emphasizes both pronunciation and grammar. It adopts a structural syllabus of language teaching. For example, the syllabus will have a list of basic sentences structures in English. To implement or teach the structures, SLT follows drills in the classroom as well as visuals and realia to make learning easier. The learners are required to listen and repeat what the teacher says, and responds to teacher’s questions. On the other hand, the teacher’s job is to present the model of the target language and set up situations to contextualize the structures.
The procedure in SLT varies across the level of students. The major techniques or procedures in SLT are:
i) describing pictures
ii) repeating sentences after the teacher
iii) memorizing some selected words or phrases, and drilling them in dialogues
These activities are important to achieve the goal of SLT. Because the principle of SLT is to improve oral proficiency through habit formation or practising, repeating sentence structures and vocabulary will help students drill the patterns. It is also important in SLT that students will produce error-free language. Therefore, learners are given repeated activities so that they can memorize and produce the patterns. Yet, unlike Audio-lingualism, the drills are done in contexts or situations, such as providing pictures to the learners so that they can describe those using the expected structures and vocabulary.
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