The suggestology is a complex science that studies the effects of suggestion on pupils. It is better known under the form of Suggestopedy, which is only an example of its practical applications. The principles of suggestion are applied primarily in teaching, particularly in the area of foreign languages. The suggestopedy method was developed by a Bulgarian professor, Georgi Lozanov, in 1970. Lozanov claimed that language learning could be facilitated if you were removing the fear of making mistakes.
The Suggestopedy stresses the importance of relaxation during the process of language learning, for example through music, or in a comfortable environment. The method is based on the assumption that, when we are relaxed and the heart rate is slowed our brain is able to absorb more information.
Lozanov believed that students would learn better if more focused on the language itself instead that in the language form. The main role of the teacher is to remove the barriers allowing students to express themselves freely.
The basic principles of Suggestopedy are:
1. Fun and relaxation, as anxiety and boredom are the main enemies of learning. Students should feel safe, comfortable and not threatened.
2. Students learn best when they can access the most powerful part of the brain.
3. During learning there must be a harmonious collaboration between the levels of the subconscious and conscious.
The Suggestopedy is often called a revolutionary science, since students learn by sitting in a comfortable chair with relaxing music and even half-asleep.
In fact Suggestopedy, more than just a method of teaching is a complex educational philosophy, a new approach which is very simple in theory but complex in practice.
In the teaching field people tend to think that learning is difficult, but the Suggestopedy is a tool that allows us to remove this statement through a set of practices and techniques that try to make the process enjoyable by increasing motivation and hope of success.
Lessons are always held in a pleasant room with plenty of light. The teacher plays a key role because he is the source of all the information that will be provided. Usually, the lesson begins with phrases such as “Relax and let your mind go blank”, in order to create a totally different sense of tranquillity.
Unlike the methods of teaching that we have studied so far, this method has proved suggestive and totally revolutionary and because of that many students see learning languages form different point of view. Many students felt misunderstood and blocked with traditional classes because they increased their level of stress, their fears of participation and making mistakes.
With this new method, the teacher tries to be calm and relaxed and this feeling is transmitted to the students, thus sending a positive message.
Positivity and “liberation” are two fundamental aspects of learning, and Suggestopedy was the first method to recognise these issues and to put them into practice.