Suggestopedia is a method of foreign language teaching that was developed by a Bulgarian psychologist named Georgi Lozanov in the 1970s. Lozanov advanced the theory that students are naturally confronted with psychological challenges when it comes to learning, like anxiety, exhaustion, boredom, fear, and so on. According to a psychological research on extrasensory perception, Lozanov started to develop a language learning method that focused on „desuggestion” of the limitations learners consider they have. These psychological challenges are referred to as psychological obstacles.
The three main categories of limitations are: logical-critical (”I am not able to learn, but others are.”), affective-emotional (”I cannot do it.”) and ethical (”I feel this is not correct.”). Students have the tendency to set up psychological barriers to learning, based on their fear of failing to perform and being limited in their potential to learn. They also tend to believe that learning is difficult, that school is boring, etc. Such impediments will prevent students from performing at their best and will limit their capacity to learn. This is why is necessary to find a way to transform such ideas and promote the idea that learning can be fun, studying can be interesting.
According to Lozanov, most students employ just 5 to 10% of their brain capacity, and by utilising suggestopedia, they may learn a language three to five times faster than traditional teaching techniques.
Suggestopedia is a „student-centered” teaching-learning approach that aims to establish a comfortable and happy learning atmosphere in order to improve learning speed and effectiveness. It implies creating an anxiety-free learning environment while group cooperation is seen as helpful.
In order to create a positive atmosphere it is necessary to maintain a relaxing and stress-free environment. Taking into consideration the room decorations, the colours, the flowers, the shape of the tables used in the room, the seating arrangements that allow eye contact among learns when designing the learning environment can contribute to increase the joy of learning and to facilitate a positive learning environment. Having the classrooms furnished with calming colours and comfy furnishings will make students feel at ease.
Suggestopedia offers students the possibility to learn in a fun way and to be more creative in various circumstances.
Playing soft Baroque music, followed by quicker and more lively songs, during classes stimulates the entire brain while also stimulating learning.
Including a variety of activities that address to different learning styles is also important. For language classes, the teacher can plan to use listening exercises, group discussions, pair discussions, creative writing, quizzes and games.
A teacher should pay attention to how he/ she provides positive reinforcement and encouragement. It is important to find an appropriate way that encourages students to believe in their capacity to succeed in language learning.
Students learn English through indirect instruction as well as direct instruction. Suggestopedia fosters using posters and decorations containing the target language and varied grammatical information in the learning environment. It is important to change the posters on a regular base so as students’ curiosity is tackled.
Reflection and review also have an important role. The teacher should allocate time for reflection and self-assessment, encouraging students to think on their progress and the positive aspects of their language learning experience.
The educational value of suggestopedia might vary depending on the students’ learning preferences and personalities. The procedures and strategies should be tailored according to the needs of the classroom and students. To successfully utilise Suggestopedia in the English language classroom, flexibility, creativity, and commitment to maintain a happy and relaxed learning atmosphere are all needed.