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Suggestopedia is a teaching method developed by the Bulgarian psychotherapist Georgi Lozanov. It is used mostly to learn foreign languages.
The theory applied positive suggestion in teaching when it was developed in the 1970s. However, as the method improved, it has focused more on "desuggestive learning" and now is often called "desuggestopedia". Suggestopedia is a portmanteau of the words "suggestion" and "pedagogy". A common misconception is to link "suggestion" to "hypnosis". However, Lozanov intended it in the sense of offering or proposing, emphasising student choice. Dr. Georgi Lozanov, PhD, MD, presented the method to a commission in Paris at UNESCO, in 1978. UNESCO, then issued a final report in 1980 with positive and negative considerations.
Those negative considerations could never be overcome due to the regime in Bulgaria, which placed Dr. Georgi Lozanov under arrest for 10 years. After his release in 1989, he moved to Austria to continue his studies and teacher training.
In 2015, a book about a new method called Neuropedia or Debblocking Method  was released, which claims to correct the negative considerations from the final report by UNESCO  and adds the newly discoveries of neuroeducation. The author was trained by Dr. Georgi Lozanov, as it is shown on his Trainers Association website, called Litta.
Physical surroundings and atmosphere in classroom are the vital factors to make sure that "the students feel comfortable and confident", and various techniques, including art and music, are used by the trained teachers. The lesson of Suggestopedia consisted of three phases at first: deciphering, concert session (memorization séance), and elaboration.
Deciphering: The teacher introduces the grammar and lexis of the content. In most materials the foreign-language text is on the left half of the page with a translation on the right half, i.e. meanings are conveyed via the mother tongue not unlike the bilingual method.
Concert session (active and passive): In the active session, the teacher reads the text at a normal speed, sometimes intoning some words, and the students follow. In the passive session, the students relax and listen to the teacher reading the text calmly. Baroque music is played in the background.
Elaboration: The students finish off what they have learned with dramas, songs, and games.
Introduction: The teacher teaches the material in "a playful manner" instead of analyzing lexis and grammar of the text in a directive manner.
Concert session (active and passive): In the active session, the teacher reads with intoning as selected music is played. Occasionally, the students read the text together with the teacher, and listen only to the music as the teacher pauses in particular moments. The passive session is done more calmly.
Elaboration: The students sing classical songs and play games while "the teacher acts more like a consultant".
Production: The students spontaneously speak and interact in the target language without interruption or correction.
Teachers should not act in a directive way, although this method is teacher-controlled and not student-controlled. For example, they should act as a real partner to the students, participating in the activities such as games and songs "naturally" and "genuinely." In the concert session, they should fully include classical art in their behaviors. Although there are many techniques that the teachers use, factors such as "communication in the spirit of love, respect for man as a human being, the specific humanitarian way of applying their 'techniques'" etc. are crucial. The teachers not only need to know the techniques and to acquire the practical methodology completely, but also to fully understand the theory, because, if they implement those techniques without complete understanding, they will not be able to lead their learners to successful results, or they could even cause a negative impact on their learning. Therefore, the teacher has to be trained in a course taught by certified trainers.
Here are the most important factors for teachers to acquire, described by Lozanov.
- Covering a huge bulk of learning material.
- Structuring the material in the suggestopedic way: global-partial – partial-global, and global in the part – part in the global, related to the golden proportion.
- As a professional, on one hand, and a personality, on the other hand, the teacher should be a highly regarded professional, reliable and credible.
- The teacher should have, not play, a hundred percent expectation of positive results (because the teacher is already experienced even from the time of the teacher training course).
- The teacher should love his/her students (of course, not sentimentally but as human beings) and teach them with personal participation through games, songs, classical arts, and pleasure.
Method for children (preventive Suggestopedia)
The method for Adults includes long sessions without movement, and materials that are appropriate for adults. Children, however, get impacts from "the social suggestive norms" differently, and their brains are more delicate than those of adults. Therefore, another method with different materials should be applied to children, which better matches their characteristics. Lessons for children are more incidental and short, preventing the children from the negative pedagogical suggestions of Society. It is important to tell the parents about the method and their roles – because they could influence children both negatively and positively, depending on how they support the kids.
Lozanov claims that the effect of the method is not only in language learning, but also in producing favorable side effects on health, the social and psychological relations, and the subsequent success in other subjects.
Suggestopedia has been called a "pseudo-science". It depends, in a sense, on the trust that students develop towards the method. Lozanov never admitted that Suggestopedia can be compared to a placebo. He argues, however, that placebos are indeed effective. Another point of criticism is brought forward by Baur, who claims that the students only receive input by listening, reading and musical-emotional backing, while other important factors of language acquisition are being neglected. Furthermore, several other features of the method – like the 'nonconscious' acquisition of language, or bringing the learner into a childlike state – are questioned by critics.
Lukesch claims that Suggestopedia lacks scientific backing and is criticized by psychologists as being based on pseudoscience.
Suggestopedia yielded four main offshoots. The first – still called Suggestopedia, and developed in eastern Europe – used different techniques from Lozanov's original version. The other three are named Superlearning, Suggestive Accelerated Learning and Teaching (SALT), and Psychopädie. Superlearning and SALT originated in North America, while Psychopädie was developed in West Germany. While all four are slightly different from the original Suggestopedia and from each other, they still share the common traits of music, relaxation, and suggestion.
Those variants of Suggestopedia mentioned above are too far from the original concept, and are based on the early experiments, which were left behind during the new improvements of the method. (Suggestopedia - Reservopedia: Theory and Practice of the Liberating-stimulating Pedagogy on the Level of the Hidden Reserves of the Human Mind, Lozanov, page 127).
- Lozanov, Georgi. Suggestology and Suggestopedy. http://lozanov.hit.bg/ 4/30/2006
- unesdoc.unesco.org https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000030087?posInSet=1&queryId=97c00842-1872-42c6-be70-3f81470da00a. Retrieved 2020-12-20. Missing or empty
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- Negrete, Paulo Sergio (2015). Suggestopedia/Neuropedia – Theory and Practical Application in TEFL Courses. Brazil. pp. 20–25.
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- Lozanov, Georgi. Suggestopaedia - Desuggestive Teaching Communicative Method on the Level of the Hidden Reserves of the Human Mind. http://dr-lozanov.dir.bg/book/start_book.htm 4/30/2006
- Richards, J.C. and Rodgers, T.S. (2001). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
- Baur, R.S. (1984). Die Psychopädische Variante der Suggestopädie (Psychopädie). In Bauer, H.L. (Ed.), Unterrichtspraxis und theoretische Fundierung in Deutsch als Fremdsprache. (pp. 291-326 ). München: Goethe-Institut.
- Lukesch, H. (2000): Lernen ohne Anstrengung? Der Sirenengesang der geheimen Verführer. Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Psychologie/German Journal of Educational Psychology, 14, 59-62.
- Felix, Uschi (1989). An Investigation of the Effects of Music, Relaxation and Suggestion in Second Language Acquisition in Schools (PhD thesis). Flinders University, Adelaide. pp. Chapter 2.7. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
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- Idiomos Aprendizagem Acelerada = http://www.idiomos.com
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- Lozanov, Georgi, Suggestology and Outlines of Suggestopedy, New York: Gordon & Breach 1978 (Translation of: Lozanov, Georgi (1971). Sugestologia (in Bulgarian). Sofia: Nauka i izkustvo.).
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- Schiffler, Ludger, La Suggestopédie et le Superlearning - Mise à l'épreuve statistique, Paris: Didier Erudition, 1991.
- Schiffler, Ludger: "Suggestopedic Methods and Applications", Philadelphia, Tokyo, Paris etc.: Gordon & Breach Science Publisher, 1992.
- Schiffler, Ludger, Effektiver Fremdsprachen lehren und lernen - Beide Gehirnhälften aktivieren, Donauwörth: Auer, 2002.
- Schiffler, Ludger, Interhemispheric Foreign Language Learning - Activating Both Sides of the Brain, online 2003 (732KB )(download available: http://www.ludger-schiffler.de).
- Negrete, Paulo Sergio, Accelerating the Foreign Language Teaching Through Suggestopedia/Neuropedia, published in 2015.
- Felix, Uschi (1989). An Investigation of the Effects of Music, Relaxation and Suggestion in Second Language Acquisition in Schools (PhD thesis). Flinders University, Adelaide. Retrieved January 12, 2012. No longer online.