This article briefly discusses how to apply Suggestopedia as a method of teaching. This method was developed by a Bulgarian psychologist Georgi Lozanov. Specifically, this article explains the method’s goal and 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 Teaching Method
The goal of Suggestopedia is to enable the students 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:
- It uses the power of suggestion to help students eliminate the feeling that they cannot succeed.
- There should be a relaxed, comfortable environment with dim lights and soft music to facilitate learning.
- Students’ imagination is used. They can assume new names, and new identities and respond to the teacher accordingly using the target language.
- Present and explain grammar and vocabulary words, but not discuss at length or thoroughly.
- Native language translation is used to get the precise meanings of words in the target language.
- Communication takes place in the conscious and subconscious of the learners. The former is about the linguistic message. The students pay attention to a dialogue that is being read, while the latter is where the music is played as a background. The piece suggests that learning is easy.
- Teaching is done by integrating music, song, and drama.
- The emphasis of teaching is more on content. Students’ errors are tolerated at the beginning of the lesson, but the teachers use the correct forms later.
- No formal tests are given, but the evaluation is done during the typical in-class performance.
How to Apply Suggestopedia as a Method of Teaching in the Classroom: Two Examples
If you are a teacher or mentor, you may use the following activities using the Suggestopedia method.
Use Music to Facilitate Learning
Choose background music that will give an impression or feeling that you are in a forest.
For example, the music may be punctuated by the birds’ chirping 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 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 dialogues on how people should take care of the environment. But in their conversations, 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, not as a human being.
Another way on how to apply Suggestopedia as a method of teaching is by using stories to facilitate learning. This method works this way.
Choose a story. Practice reading the story with emotions or feelings. 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 be with their classmates or listen by themselves while seated at their desks. 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, you may give the correct form by repetition in the later part.
Now, you already know how to apply Suggestopedia as a method of teaching. 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!
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
Updated: 16 November 2020