The situational approach had been developed from the 1930s to the 1960s by British Applied Linguists, Harold Palmer and A.S. Hornsby. These two people knew the direct method and the work done by19th century applied linguists like Otto Jesperson and Daniel Jones, and they tried to develop a positivist approach to teaching English.
The situational approach ensures that the language taught is practical.The vocabulary and sentences are used in real situation or simulated situation so that the meaning of words are associated with situations. For an example, learners know the meaning of “pencil”, not because they have looked it up in a dictionary, but by hearing sentences like: “Write with a pencil!”; “Sharpen the pencil!” etc. Even if the classroom environment is irrelevant, teacher’s एinnovativeness helps learners to comprehend it in a situation outside the classroom.
The objective of teaching English is to make learners use it in their daily life. Therefore, translation and mechanical drills cannot help learners connect language to real-life situations. They, in fact, lead to boredom, and there is no relationship between what is being learnt and practised in daily life.
Meaning, context and situation are very important to teach a language. The vantage point of situational approach is its principle of variety and simplicity. It is due to this characteristic feature, even slow learners are engaged in what teacher or peers do and say in the classroom.
Learners cooperate with one another and they are excited to learn English using it in imaginary situations, especially when they enact a situation in class. Besides all these, a noteworthy point is that situational approach demands much from the English teacher. S/he must be fluent in English, have a reading invention, be able to evaluate learners’ comprehension level and offer a revision.
Principles of Situational Approach :-
- Language learning is habit-formation.
- Mistakes should be avoided.
- Examples are better than analysis for language learning.
- Language skills are presented orally first, then in written form- to improve the effectiveness of learning.
- Opportunities are created for learners to associate the meaning of new words with parallel Situations.
- Meanings of the words are presented in linguistic and cultural context;l.
- Teachers’ statements and actions go together continuously.
- The teacher raises questions related to created situation and s/he answers them.
- Continuous repetition of language items.
- There is a continuous chain of actions from the teacher.
- Revision is important
- New words are introduced as and when it comes in the class.
- Language materials are used to create appropriate situation.
Merits of Situational Approach
- Meaning well as the structures, are used in an appropriate situation.
- The learner gets good exposure to English, L1 is discouraged.
- Learning is easy and effective. English is real and interesting.
Demerits of Situational Approach :-
- Drilling makes the class uninteresting and weary.
- Only limited vocabulary and structures are taught.
- This approach demands highly competent teachers.
- It is useful for teaching lower-class learners.
- Meaningful situations are created by dramatization to teach language skills.
- Learners have to fix up habits of the English language patterns.
- Learners’ activities are more important than those of the teacher.
- Oral work is the base for the other language skills are built up.
- The structures of English are mastered – they are to be picked up, practised and fixed in mind;
- The teacher teaches one language item at a time.