PRINCIPLES OF SUGGESTOPEDIA

The principles of the method are derived from observations based on control experiments (Stevick, 1976: 42). The first principle is that people are able to learn at rates many times greater that what we commonly assume to be the limits of human performance. The second principle is that learning is global; it involves the entrie person. The third principles is that people learn either consciously or unconsciously or both, either rationally or irrationally or both. Lozanov method is thought to be more concerned with irrational and unconscious processes. The concept of unconsciousness (paracinsciousness) comprises numerous unconscious froms such as associating and coding. Lozsnov (1982: 148) gives an example of the process with the process of reading. When we read something, we are not aware of the many unconscious components which constitute the activity, for example, the ideas which build up notions, the letters and the words which we happen to be reading. The last principle is the one that many people do not always agree with.

In Lozanov method it is believed that people posses considerable mental reserves which they rarely if ever tap under normal circumstances; it is also believed that human being uses 5-20% of his/her brain capacity at the most (Dorothy, 1981: 25). Among the examples of human capacities that may be tapped to be optimally used are the ability to learn rapodly and recall with ease large number of materials, solve problems with great rapidity and spontaneity, respond to complex stimuli with creativity. In order to reach the optimal use of brain capacity, the method suggests language learners to activate the reserve capacities of language learners. This can be done by “suggestion”. By suggestion, language teachers can create learning situation in which the optimal use of brain capacities can be achieved. Lozanov believes that people are able to learn at rates many times greater than what we commonly assume to be the limits of human performance.

Suggestion can work well when the learners remove the prior automatic patterns and open the access to great potential of mental reserve. Without de-suggesting (removing) the patterns, it is hard for suggestion to function. The learners must be assured that they have anti-suggestive barriers and they have to remove them in order to open the access of the suggestion. The three anti-suggestive barriers are critical logical, intuitive-affective, and ethical (Lozanov 1982: 148). The first anti-suggestive barriers is critical anti-suggestive barrier. This barrier rejects suggestion through reasoning. If the learners think that it is impossible to learn a foreign language as Lozanov believes, the possibility to be successful learnerss is very slim. This barrier is the conscious critical thinking. The second anti-suggestive barrier is intuituve-affective barrier. This seems to be emotional barrier. This barrier is believed to come from anything that many produce a feeling of lack confidence or insecurity. If the learners feel that they will loose their confidence of self-esteem, they are likely not to reach the success in learning. The third anti-suggestive barrier is ethical barrier. The learners will reject everything that is not in harmony with the ethical sense they have. The ethical sense may have been established from family or society.

In Lozanov method it is also believed that learning involvels the entrie person. The response of man to every stimulus is very complex. It also involves many unconscious processes which have become automatic responses. For example, when we begin to fall,  we respond in many ways, physically, emotionally, and mentally. These responses are unconscious (Dorothy, 1981: 25). Such responses are largely patterned in many ways and individuals have peculiar ways. Their responses would tend to be automatic and typical for individuals. The differences in responding to learning, stimuli are also unique and different people would respond similar stimuli in different ways.

There are two basic kinds of suggestion in Lozanov method direct and indirect. Direct suggestion is meant to deal with conscious processes and indirect suggestion to deal with unconscious processes. The example of conscious processes are all activities that occur in direct learning-teaching interaction. The example of indirect suggestion are communication factors outside our conscious awareness such as voice, tone, facial expression, body posture and movement, speech tempo, rhythms, accent, etc. another factor in language learning that can function as indirect suggestion is classroom arrangement, such as décor, lighting, noise level, etc. the two types of suggestion are often called two planes of learning process; they are the conscious and nonrational (Stevick, 1976: 43). All kinds of suggestion can reinforce or hinder the processes of language learning. The inputs on these two planes should support each other, rather canceling each other. In other words, everything in the communication and learning environment is a stimulus that will be processed at some level of mental activity. It is said that the more language teachers can do to orchestrate purposefully the conscious as well as the unconscious factors in the learning environment, the greater the chance to open the acces to the great potential of the mental reseves.

Means of suggestions

To create effective learning environment there are several means of suggestion which are the most powerful and essential for language teachers. This suggestion may overcome the anti-suggestive barriers the learners have (Dorothy, 1981: 82).

  1. A careful orchestrated physical environment: an uncrowded room, aesthetically pleasing, well lighted, furnished with comfortable chairs to facilitate a relaxed state.
  2. The teacher is thoroughly trained in the art of suggestive communication –with a) a well developed sense of authorithy. b) the ability to envoke a receptive, playful, child-like state in the students, c) a mastery of double-plane behaviour, especially the ability to use appropriately and purposefully suggestive language, voice, intonation, facial and body expression.
  3. Music: certain selected music is used for special “concert” presentations of material to be learned. Music is also used to evoke a mentally relaxed state.
  4. Carefully integrates suggestive written materials.
  5. Visual stimuli: posters, pictures, charts, and illustrations. The arts offer us the greatest examples of unified suggestive expression, and we should make effort to integrate them into the learining environment.

It is clear that language teachers should be well trained in the suggestopedia in order to present language materials through this method. Or, they just consider some of the basic principles of the method and implement them in foreign language teaching. The teacher is the most essential factor in the method. The personality of the teacher should have certain characteristics (Dorothy, 1981: 29). The following are some of the characteristics expected from language teacher teacher.

  1. The teacher should love and master the subject.
  2. The teacher should have energeric, joyful, playful spirit.
  3. The teacher should have a well-integrated personality.
  4. The teacher should have well-developed sense of authority.
  5. The teacher should have balanced self-esteem and esteem for others.
  6. The teacher should have well-developed feeling for music, especially classical.
  7. The teacher should have flexible communication: ability to respond and incorporate.

To teach a foreign language through the Suggestopedia, language teacher is also expected to have sense of drama and the theatrical and knowledge of visual arts. This sense is needed to create the learning environment conducive to learning success since through this knowledge the teacher may provide the language learners with suggestion.

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