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How to Apply Suggestopedia as a Method of Teaching

This article briefly discusses Suggestopedia, a teaching method developed by a Bulgarian psychologist Georgi Lozanov. Particularly, this article explains the method’s goal & characteristics, and provides sample activities for teaching. This method is commonly used in English language teaching, but I believe that this can also be used in other foreign languages like Filipino, Chinese, Korean, Arabic, and others.

The Goal of Suggestopedia as a Method of Teaching

To learn a foreign language at an accelerated pace for everyday communication by tapping mental powers and overcoming psychological barriers.

9 Characteristics of Suggestopedia as a Method of Teaching

According to Villamin et al. (1994), the nine characteristics of Suggestopedia are the following:

1. It uses the power of suggestion to help students eliminate the feeling that they cannot succeed.
2. There should be a relaxed, comfortable environment with dim lights and soft music to facilitate learning.
3. Students’ imagination is used. They can assume new names, and new identities and respond to the teacher accordingly using the target language.
4. Present and explain grammar and vocabulary words, but not discuss at length or thoroughly.
5. Native language translation is used in order to get the clear meanings of words in the target language.
6. Communication takes place in the conscious and subconscious of the learners. The former is about the linguistic message. It is where the students pay attention to a dialogue that is being read, while the latter is where the music is played as a background. Music suggests that learning is easy.
7. Teaching is done by integrating music, song, and drama.
8. The emphasis of teaching is more on content. Errors made by students are tolerated at the beginning of the lesson but in the later part, the correct forms are used by the teachers.
9. No formal tests are given, but the evaluation is done during the normal in-class performance.

Sample of Classroom Activities using Suggestopedia

If you are a teacher or mentor, you may use the following activities using the Suggestopedia method.

1. Choose a background music that will give an impression or feeling that you are in a forest. For example, the music may be punctuated by the chirping of the birds or the sounds of the leaves as they dance in the wind, or any sound indicating that the location is in the forest.

In the classroom, turn off the lights and play the background music. Then, group the students into three, and ask them to close their eyes, and let them imagine, for one minute, that they are animals, birds, trees, or flowers.

After that, ask them to create their own dialogues on how people should take care of the environment. But in their dialogues they have to remember their roles. If one assumes to be a bird, his/her point of view and dialogues should be like a bird, and not as a human being.

2. Choose a story. Practice reading the story with emotions or feeling. Then, choose appropriate background music for the story. It would be best if you prepare it in advance.

In the classroom, ask the students to relax and make themselves comfortable. Allow them to sit on the floor or lie down, and to be with their classmates or listen by themselves while seated at their desk. Then, turn off the lights, play the music and start reading the story. You may ask questions in between to check that they are listening intently to you and to keep their motivation high. In answering your questions, don’t correct the students’ grammatical errors immediately. Focus first on the content. Before you end the lesson, at the later part, you may give the correct form by repetition.

Don’t you think these are good ideas to start the ball rolling in class? If you believe so, then try Suggestopedia as a method of teaching!

References

Rhalmi, M. (2009). The origin of Suggestopedia. Retrieved 16 January 2015 from http://www.myenglishpages.com/blog/suggestopedia/#.VLjUy5X9ljo

Villamin, A.M., Salazar, E.L., Bala, E.C., & Sunga, N.R. (1994). Innovative strategies in communication arts. Quezon City, QC: Phoenix Publishing House, Inc.

2015 January 21 M. G. Alvior