Suggestopedia - why it's very special

Suggestopedia is a dynamic and innovative teaching method that stems from a new vision of learning. Based on the most recent research on how our brains and memories work, this approach organizes material in special ways that the mind can remember spontaneously and then integrates this into what the learner already knows.

Two elements of this system make it remarkable:

  • All information is given emotional meaning. This "colouring" is precisely what enables the mind to retrieve the information later on.

  • Important knowledge is taught by placing it in a background context while "side-tracking" student's attention with other relevant, but less essential, material. This is done because long-term memory retains what it has experienced indirectly; most input experienced directly only makes it to short-term memory and starts fading away after 3 or 4 days to "make place" for new information of more immediate importance - a little like a teacher, who might progressively erase from a blackboard the scribblings left from the previous lesson, as more space is needed for the new business-at-hand..

In Suggestopedia, the teacher is the architect of a highly stimulating, but psychologically safe, environment where students constantly surprise themselves by what they have been able to remember and use creatively. Material is assimilated before it is analysed, much in the way that children naturally take in new situations. The emphasis is on the learning process: results - which are usually 2 _ to 3 times as fast as in conventional approaches - are regarded as "side effects" of a proper learning process. In fact, all language acquisition on this course will be part and parcel of learning how to learn.

The language texts used have been specially designed and written for this approach, either by your teachers, themselves, or by other experts in the field. They are in the form of plays, in which each participant plays a role. These texts are presented, dramatically, to Classical music - which gives emotional meaning to the information being integrated. An encoding session then follows during which each word and grammatical structure is made "unforgettable" through specifically chosen historical explanations and entertaining stories.

The Activation Phase comes next. This is a quick-moving succession of games, role-plays, stories, songs, jokes and playful contests, all closely linked to the texts being learned . The activities change every 5 minutes, each one flowering into the next one, in a seamless succession of information-filled fun, designed to appeal - for different reasons - to learners of every conceivable learning style. (In fact, the very concept underlying each activity is that it must contain visual, auditory and kinaesthetic components to make sure that every learner is able to learn the way she, or he, likes to learn best.)

The Relaxation Phase is a recapping of the day. The text, presented in the morning and subsequently activated, is reread to Baroque music (such as Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, etc.), while students just relax and listen. This music has a calming effect on mental activity, thereby making learners less active and more receptive; this change of state makes course participants more alert and gives everything they experience greater resonance.

Students are requested to reread texts every evening just before falling asleep and again every morning just after waking up - as these are the times of day most conducive to the effective assimilation of new material.

Suggestopedia was created by Bulgarian doctor and psychiatrist Dr. Georgi Lozanov. It is a system that redefines the speed and depth at which learning is possible, and believes that the more satisfying and enjoyable an experience is, the more thoroughly it will be remembered.