8 - Suggestopedia  pp. 100-107

Suggestopedia

By Jack C. Richards and Theodore S. Rodgers

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Background

Suggestopedia, also known as Desuggestopedia, is a method developed by the Bulgarian psychiatrist-educator Georgi Lozanov. Suggestopedia is a specific set of learning recommendations derived from Suggestology, which Lozanov describes as a “science … concerned with the systematic study of the nonrational and/or nonconscious influences” that human beings are constantly responding to (Stevick 1976: 42). Suggestopedia tries to harness these influences and redirect them so as to optimize learning. The most conspicuous characteristics of Suggestopedia are the decoration, furniture, and arrangement of the classroom, the use of music, and the authoritative behavior of the teacher. The claims for suggestopedic learning are dramatic. “There is no sector of public life where suggestology would not be useful” (Lozanov 1978: 2). “Memorization in learning by the suggestopedic method seems to be accelerated 25 times over that in learning by conventional methods” (Lozanov 1978: 27).

Lozanov acknowledges ties in tradition to yoga and Soviet psychology. From raja-yoga Lozanov has borrowed and modified techniques for altering states of consciousness and concentration, and the use of rhythmic breathing. From Soviet psychology Lozanov has taken the notion that all students can be taught a given subject matter at the same level of skill. Lozanov claims that his method works equally well whether or not students spend time on outside study. He promises success through Suggestopedia to the academically gifted and the ungifted alike. (For an overview of the tenets of Soviet psychology and how these differ from those of Western psychology, see Bancroft 1978.)