Suggestopedia (Suggestopaedia) Edit

Suggestopedia is one of the teaching methods developed by Bulgarian psychotherapist Georgi Lozanov based on the study of Suggestology. The method has been used in different fields of studies but mostly in the field of foreign languages learning. Lozanov claimed that by using this method one can teach languages approximately three to five times as quickly as conventional methods.

The theory applied positive suggestion in teaching when it was developed in the 1970s. However, as improved, it has focused more on “desuggestive learning” and now is often called “desuggestopedia.” [1] Suggestopedia is the latest of the six major foreign-language teaching methods known to language teaching experts (the oldest being the grammar translation method.) The name of Suggestopedia is from the words “suggestion” and “pedagogy.”

Recent development Edit

Up to now, suggestopedia has been the only method working with relaxation. Mainly based on the discovery of the mirror neurons Ludger Schiffler (2003) has developed the interhemispheric foreign language learning, using gestures and the mental visualization of the gestures during the relaxation period.

Purpose and Theory Edit

The intended purpose of Suggestopedia was to enhance learning by lowering the affective filter of learners.[2] Lozanov claims in his website, Suggestology and Suggestopedy[1], that “suggestopedia is a system for liberation,” the liberation from the “preliminary negative concept regarding the difficulties in the process of learning” that is established throughout their life in the society. Desuggestopedia focuses more on liberation as Lozanov describes “desuggestive learning” as “free, without a mildest pressure, liberation of previously suggested programs to restrict intelligence and spontaneous acquisition of knowledge, skills and habits.” The method implements this by working not only on the conscious level of human mind but also on the subconscious level, the mind’s reserves. Since it works on the reserves in human mind and brain, which are said to have unlimited capacities, one can teach more than other method can teach in the same amount of time.

In Practice Edit

Physical surroundings and atmosphere in classroom are the vital factors to make sure that "the students feel comfortable and confident"[2] , and various techniques, including art and music, are used by the trained teachers. The lesson of Suggestopedia consisted of three phases at first: deciphering, concert session (memorization séance), and elaboration. [1] [3]

Deciphering: The teacher introduces the grammar and lexis of the content.

Concert session (active and passive): In the active session, the teacher reads the text at a normal speed, sometimes intoning some words, and the students follow. In the passive session, the students relax and listen to the teacher reading the text calmly. Music (“Pre-Classical”) is played background.

Elaboration: The students finish off what they have learned with dramas, songs, and games.

Then it has developed into four phases as lots of experiments were done: introduction, concert session, elaboration, and production. [1] [3]

Introduction: The teacher teaches the material in “a playful manner” instead of analyzing lexis and grammar of the text in a directive manner.

Concert session (active and passive): In the active session, the teacher reads with intoning as selected music is played. Occasionally, the students read the text together with the teacher, and listen only to the music as the teacher pauses in particular moments. The passive session is done more calmly.

Elaboration: The students sing classical songs and play games while “the teacher acts more like a consultant[1]

Production: The students spontaneously speak and interact in the target language without interruption or correction.

Teachers Edit

Teachers should not act directive although this method is teacher-controlled but not students- controlled. For example, they should act as a real partner to the students, participating in the activities such as games and songs “naturally” and “genuinely.” [1] In the concert session, they should fully include classical art into their behaviors. Although there are many techniques that the teachers use, the factors such as “communication in the spirit of love, respect for man as a human being, the specific humanitarian way of applying there ‘techniques’” etc. are crucial. [3] The teachers need not only to know the techniques and theoretical information but also to understand the theory and to acquire the practical methodology completely because if they implement those techniques without complete understandings and acquisition, they could not provide learners successful results, or even could give a negative impact on their learning. Therefore the teacher has to be trained in the course that is taught by the certified trainers.

Here are the most important factors for teachers to acquire, described by Lozanov.[1]

1. Covering a huge bulk of learning material.

2. Structuring the material in the suggestopaedic way; global-partial – partial-global, and global in the part – part in the global, related to the golden proportion.

3. As a professional, on one hand, and a personality, on the other hand, the teacher should be highly prestigious, reliable and credible.

4. The teacher should have, not play, a hundred percent of expectancy in positive results (because the teacher is already experienced even from the time of teacher training course).

5. The teacher should love his/her students (of course, not sentimentally but as human beings) and teach them with personal participation through games, songs, a classical type of arts and pleasure.

Method for Children (Preventive Suggestopedia) Edit

The method for Adults includes long sessions without movement, [1] and materials that are appropriate for adults. Children, however, get impacts from “the social suggestive norms” differently and their brains are more delicate than those of adults. Therefore, another method with different materials should be applied to children, which better matches their characteristics. Lessons for children are more incidental and short, preventing the children from the negative pedagogical suggestions of Society. It is important to tell the parents about the method and their roles because they could influence children both negatively and positively, depending on how they support the kids. [3]

Side Effects Edit

Lozanov claims that the effect of the method is not only in language learning. There confirmed favorable side effects on health, the social and psychological relations, and the subsequent success in other subjects. [1]

Support of the Method Edit

Suggestopedia lacks in scientific backing and is critiziced by psychologists as being based on pseudoscience (Lukesch, 2000).

Lukesch, H. (2000): Lernen ohne Anstrengung? Der Sirenengesang der geheimen Verführer. [Learning without effort? Sirens' songs of secret seducers]. Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Psychologie/German Journal of Educational Psychology, 14, 59-62.

Disinformation Edit

Because Suggestopedia works on subconsciousness, it is often said that the method includes hypnosis or other techniques which gave very negative and deep impacts on human beings. However, Lozanov strongly denies this and claims that the method does not use techniques such as; hypnosis, NLP, breathing exercises, use of the alpha waves of the brain, special diets, and so on. [3]


  • Edelmann, Walter, Suggestgopädie/Superlearning, Heidelberg: Ansanger, 1998.
  • Harmer, Jeremy. The Practice of English Language Teaching. 4th Edition. Person Education Limited, 2007[1].
  • Lozanov, Georgi, Suggestology and Outlines of Suggestopedy, New York: Gordon & Breach 1978 (Translation of: Nauka i Iskustvi, Sofia 1971).
  • Lozanov, Georgi. Suggestopaedia - Desggestive Teaching Communicative Method on the Level of the Hidden Reserves of the Human Mind. 4/30/2006
  • Meier, Josef, Mehr Freude und Erfolg beim Englischlernen mit innovativen Lern- und Mentaltechniken, München:IBS, 1999.
  • Noferini, Fabio:"Riflessioni sul diffuso scetticismo nei confronti del metodo suggestopedico e sui suoi antidoti", Educazione & Scuola, 2003 (
  • Riedel, Katja, Persönlichkeitsentfaltung durch Suggestopädie, Hohengehren: Schneider, 1995.
  • Schiffler, Ludger, Suggestopädie und Superlearning - empirisch geprüft. Einführung und Weiterentwicklung für Schule und Erwachsenenbildung, Frankfurt am Main: Diesterweg, 1989.
  • Schiffler, Ludger, La Suggestopédie et le Superlearning - Mise à l'épreuve statistique, Paris: Didier Erudition, 1991.
  • Schiffler, Ludger: "Suggestopedic Methods and Applications", Philadelphia, Tokyo, Paris etc.: Gordon & Breach Science Publisher, 1992.
  • Schiffler, Ludger, Effektiver Fremdsprachen lehren und lernen - Beide Gehirnhälften aktivieren, Donauwörth: Auer, 2002.
  • Schiffler, Ludger, Interhemispheric Foreign Language Learning - Activating Both Sides of the Brain, online 2003 (732KB )(download available:

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