Suggestopedia

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SUGGESTOPEDIA – A WONDER APPROACH TO LEARNING FOREIGN LANGUAGES?
Prep. univ. Gabriela Mihăilă-Lică Abstract
Suggestopedia, one of the strangest “humanistic approaches” was developed in the 1970’s by the Bulgarian educator Georgi Lozanov. It is based on the idea that people, as they get older, inhibit their learning to conform to the social norms and in order to reactivate the capabilities theyused as children, teachers have to use the power of suggestion. The suggestopedic approach is said to increase enormously the ability of students to learn, to remember, and to integrate what they learn into their personality. This paper presents the sequences of a suggestopedic session, the role of the teacher and opposite points of view regarding the use of the approach. The conclusion is that,despite a lot of inconveniences, suggestopedia has elements that can be used successfully with all sorts of learners, some of these elements being employed by the teachers and professors at the Foreign Language Centre and at the Land Forces Academy.

Suggestopedia, also named Superlearning (this is a registered trade mark of Superlearning, Inc., USA) [1], is considered to be the strangest of the"humanistic approaches" and it was developed in the 1970s by Georgi Lozanov, a Bulgarian educator. Dr. Georgi Lozanov says that as we get older we accept social norms and adjust our personalities to conform to them (Lozanov, 1978). One result is that we inhibit our learning to conform to these outside limits. The capabilities that we used as children are set aside and no longer used but they arepreserved as functional reserves. According to Lozanov people can re-integrate these reserves into the active personality by means of suggestion, which increases enormously the ability to learn, to remember and to integrate what they learn into their personality. Lozanov (1978) assumes that the only major linguistic problems in the language classroom are memorization of the words and patterns ofthe language and their integration into the students’ personalities. Suggestopedia was designed primarily to make these two processes more effective. Suggestopedia uses mostly non-verbal forms of the Learning Hypothesis [2]. The supporters of suggestopedia claimed that memorisation in learning through this approach would be accelerated by up to 25 times over that in conventional learning methods[3]. Lozanov (1978) has given classes where the students achieved a memorization rate of 1000 words an hour. It should also be noted that, recall increases with time. Speaking from personal experience, Charles Adamson says: “In the three hours we learned the Russian alphabet, the basic sentence structures, and 156 words. On the test at the end of the class I got 98%. During the following week I didnot use Russian. A week later I took up a repeat of the same test. This time I got 99.5%. Other students from the class reported similar results” [4]. Lozanov says that the learners need a relaxed but focused state as the optimum state for learning [5]. In order to create this relaxed state (or „relaxed alertness” as Andrea Rohmert calls it) in the learner and to promote positive suggestion,suggestopedia makes use of soothing, rhythmic music, a comfortable and relaxing environment, and a relationship between the teacher and the student similar to the parent-child relationship. The students’ feelings have an important place. They need to feel confident and relaxed and their psychological barriers must be „desuggested”.

Music, is vital for the approach. The following composers from thebaroque epoch (XVIIth c.), recommended by Andrea Rohmert as suitable for suggestopedic learning, have music works, which contain Largo movements: Johann Sebastian Bach, Arcangelo Corelli, Georg Friedrich Händel, Johann Pachelbel, Georg Philipp Telemann, Antonio Vivaldi. Baroque "Largo" movements help the suggestopedic student to reach a certain state of relaxation, which increases receptivity....
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