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A Teaching Method: Suggestopedia

Indah Dwi Cahayany, S.Pd ,, Istiqomatul Mauludah, S.Pd ,, Ifrohatul Fauqoh Nikmah, S.Pd

Teacher should be creative in using different kinds of teaching method. They
have to choose an appropriate method to transfer the knowledge because they will
find different situation and different students in the class.

Generally, students would not be able to believe that they could be

successful in learning language. This lack of motivation has made students do not
have confidence to speak in the target language because they do not want to make
mistakes. Moreover, they find difficulties to recall the previous lesson, such us
memorizing the new vocabularies. This situation encourages teacher to be creative
and to use an effective method on teaching.

In addition, students have different type of learning style. They learn

through their own learning style which are visual, auditory, or kinesthetic style.
Those who are visual learn trough seeing and they need to see the teacher’s body
language and learn best from visual displays. Then, those who are auditory learn
through listening and they learn best through verbal lectures, discussions, talking
things through, and listening to what others have to say. Besides, those who are
kinesthetic learn through moving, doing, and touching, and learn best through a
hands-on approach and actively exploring the physical world around them. In the
class room, teacher will meet these three types of students. In order to make
students could learn well through their own learning style, teacher is supposed to
use an effective method of teaching different types of students.
Teacher should choose appropriate method of teaching different types of
students, to cultivate students’ motivation, and to increase students’ memorizing
ability. Suggestopedia is one of methods that can be used by teacher. It is a method
that desuggests the limitations that students have to help them to believe that they
could be successful in learning, so it can cultivate students’ motivation in learning.
Then, it is one of methods which concerns to students’ learning style
because there are visual display, audio, and physical involvements during learning
process. Moreover, it involves emotional meaning in given the lesson which help
better in memorizing.
According to Lozanov (1976) Approches and methods in language teaching
seeks to provide a comprehensive and comprehensible account of major and minor
trends in language teaching methods from the beginning of the twentieth century
to the present. The application of suggestion to pedagogy. Suggestology
investigates the subsensory signals or subliminal stimuli which come from the
physical or social environment and which are absorbed into the unconscious mind
before receiving a conscious expression. Suggestion, especially spoken suggestion,
activates the reserve capacities of the mind or the memory.
Suggestopedia increases memorization capacities. Hypermnesia is
facilitated by relaxation techniques (derived from yoga and autogenic therapy)
which increase the subject's suggestibility to spoken suggestions or unconscious
stimuli. The principal theoretical elements of Suggestopedia are: authority,
infantilization, double-planeness, intonation, rhythm, and concert pseudo-
According to Richards and Rodgers (2001, p.71) The quest for alternative to
grammar-based approaches and methods led in several different directions.
Mainstream language teaching embraced the growing interest in communicative
approaches to language teaching. The communicative movement sought to move
the focus away from grammar as the core component of language, to a different
view of language, of language learning, of teachers, and learners, one that focused
on language as communication.
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
language learning. Lozanov claimed that by using this method one can teach
languages approximately three tofive 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.” 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.” (Thomas, 2010: 1)

A Brief History
Suggestopedia is a teaching method, which focuses on how to deal with the
relationship between mental potential and learning ability and it is very
appropriate to use in teaching speaking for young language learners (Xue, 2005).
This method was introduced by a Bulgarian psychologist and educator, George
Lazanov in 1975. Maleki (2005) believed that we are able of learning much more
than we think, provided we use our brain power and inner capacities. In addition,
DePorter (2008) assumed that human brain could process great quantities of
material if given the right condition for learning in a state of relaxation and claimed
that most students use only 5 to 10 percent of their mental capacity. Lazanov
created suggestopedia for learning that capitalized on relaxed states of mind for
maximum retention material.

Suggestopedia is an effective comprehensible input based method with a

combination of desuggestion and suggestion to achieve super learning. The most
important objective of suggestopedia is to motivate more of students’ mental
potential to learn and which obtained by suggestion. Desuggestion means
unloading the memory banks, or reserves, of unwanted or blocking memories.
Suggestion then means loading the memory banks with desired and facilitating

Lazanov (1978) cited in Lica (2008) argued that learners have difficulties in
acquiring English as the second language because of the fear of the students to
make mistakes. When the learners are in this situation, their heart and blood
pressure raise. He believes that there is a mental block in the learners’ brain
(affective filter). This filter blocks the input, so the learners have difficulties to
acquire language caused by their fear. The combination of desuggestion
and suggestion is to lower the affective filter and motivate students’ mental
potential to learn, aim to accelerate the process by which they learn to understand
and use the target language for communication to achieve super learning. It is the
final goal of suggestopedia.

Theory of Language
Lozanov does not articulate a theory of language, nor does it seem he is
much concerned with any particular assumptions regarding language elements
and their organization. Lozanov emphasizes the importance of experiencing
language material in “whole meaningful texts” (Lozanov 1978:268) and notes that
the suggestopedia course directs “the student not to vocabulary memorization and
acquiring habits of speech, but to acts of communication” (Lozanov 1978:109).
Lozanov refers most often to the language to be learned as “the material.”

Theory of Learning
Suggestion is at the heart of Suggestopedia. Lozanov claims that his method
is different from hypnosis and other forms of mind control because they lack a
“desuggestive-suggestive sense” and “fail to create a constant set up to reserves
through concentrative psycho-relaxation” (1978:267). (Reserves are like human
memory banks) There are some principal theoretical components through which
desuggestion and suggestion operate and that set up access to reserves.

Key Features of Suggestopedia

1. Infantilization
Authority is also used to suggest a teacher-student relation like that of parent
to child. In the child’s role the learner takes part in role playing, games, songs, and
gymnastic exercises that help “the older student regain the self-confidence,
spontaneity and receptivity of the child” (Bancroft, 1972: 19)
2. Double-planedness
The learner learns not only from the effect of direct instruction but from the
environment in which the instruction take place. The bright deé cor of the classroom,
the musical background, the shape of the chairs, and the personality of the teacher
are considered as important in instruction as the form of the instructional material
3. Intonation, rhythm, and concert pseudo-passiveness
Varying the tone and rhythm of presented material helps to avoid boredom
through monotony of repetition and to dramatize, emotionalize, and give meaning
to linguistic material. In the first presentation of linguistic material, three phrases
are read together, each with a different voice level and rhythm. In the second
presentation, the linguistic material is given a proper dramatic reading, which
helps learners visualize a context for the material and aids in memorization.
(Bancroft, 1972: 19)

Both intonation and rhythm are coordinated with a musical background. The
musical background helps to induce a relaxed attitude, which Lozanov refers to as
concert pseudo-passiveness. This state is felt to be optimal for learning, on those
anxieties and tension is relieved and power of concentration for new material is

Suggestopedia aims to deliver advance conversational proficiency quickly. It
apparently bases its learning claims on student mastery of prodigious lists of
vocabulary pairs and indeed, suggests to the students that it is appropriate that
they set such goals for themselves. Lozanov states categorically, “the main aims of
teaching is not memorization, but the understanding and creative solution of
problem”. As learners goals he cited increased access an understanding and
creative solution of problem. However, because students and teachers place a high
value on vocabulary recall, memorization of vocabulary pairs continues to be seen
as an important goal to the suggestopedia method.

The syllabus
A suggestopedia course last thirty days and consist of ten units of study.
Classes are held four hours a day, six days a week. The central focus of each unit is a
dialogue consisting of 1,200 words or so, with an accompanying vocabulary list
and grammatical commentary. The dialogues are graded by lexicon and grammar.

There is a pattern of work within each unit and a pattern of work for the
whole course. Unit study is organized around three days: day 1 – half a day, day 2 –
full day, day 3 – half a day. One of the first day of work on a new unit the teacher
discusses the general content (not structure) of the unit dialogue. The learners
then receive the printed dialogue with the native language translation in parallel
column. The teacher answers any questions of interest or concern about the
dialogue. The dialogue then is read the second and third time in ways to be
discussed sub sequently.

The whole course also has a pattern of presentation and performance. On

the first day a test is given to check the level the students’ knowledge and to
provide a basis for dividing students into two groups, one of new beginners and
one of modified (false) beginners. The teacher then briefs the students on the
course and explains the attitude they should toward it.

During the course there are two opportunities for generalization of

material. In the middle of the course students are encouraged to practice the target
language in a setting where it might be used, such as hotels and restaurants. The
last day of the course is devoted to a performance in which every student
participates. The students construct a play built on the material of the course.

Types of Learning and Teaching Activities

The types of activities that are more original to suggestopedia are the
listening activities, which concern the text and text vocabulary of each unit. These
activities are typically part of the “pre-session phase”, which takes place on the first
day of a new unit.

The students first look at and discuss a new text with the teacher. In the
second reading, students relax comfortably in reclining chairs and listen to the
teacher read the text in a certain way. During the third reading the material is acted
out by the instructor in a dramatic manner over a background of the special
musical form described previously.
Teacher’s Roles
Teacher should create situations in which learners are most suggestible and
then to present linguistic material in a way most likely to encourage positive
reception and retention by learners. Lozanov lists several expected teacher
behaviors as follows:

1. Show absolute confidence in the method.

2. Display fastidious conduct in manners and dress.
3. Organize properly, and strictly observe the initial stages of the teaching
process—this includes choice and play of music, as well as punctuality.
4. Maintain a solemn attitude towards the session.
5. Give tests and respond tactfully to poor papers (if any).
6. Stress global rather than analytical attitudes towards material.
7. Maintain a modest enthusiasm.

Learners’ Roles
The learners as well are should have “faith in the system and accept that
they are in a childlike situation where they follow the teacher / parent” (Knight,
2001, p. 154). The students should not be critical, but simply absorb what is
presented to them. In part this is accomplished by acknowledging the absolute
authority of the teacher and in part by giving themselves over to activities and
techniques designed to help them regain the self-confidence, spontaneity, and
receptivity of the child. Such activities include role playing, games, songs, and
gymnastic exercises. (Bancroft, 1972: 19)


Materials consist of direct support materials, primarily text and tape, and
indirect support materials, including classroom fixtures and music. The text is
organized around the ten units described earlier. The textbook should have
emotional force, literary quality, and interesting characters. Language problems
should be introduced in a way that does not worry or distract students from the
Stages of Suggestopedia
There are two stages in using suggestopedia method. They are:

1. 1. Presentation
Presentation is the basis of conducting Suggestopedia in class successfully. The
main aim in this stage is to help students relaxed and move into a positive
frame of mind, with the feeling that the learning is going to be easy and funny.
Desuggestion and suggestion happen at this stage at the same time.
2. 2. Concert
Bancroft (1972) notes that the 4-hour language class has three distinct
parts. The first part we might call an oral review section. Previously learned
material is used as the basis for discussion by the teacher and twelve students in
the class. All participants sit in a circle in their specially designed chairs, and the
discussion proceeds like a seminar. This session may involve what are called
micro-studies and macro-studies. In micro studies specific attention is given to
grammar, vocabulary and precies question and answer. In the macro-studies,
emphasis is on role playing and wider-ranging, innovative language construction.
In the second part of the class new material is presented and discussed. This
consists of looking over a new dialogue and its native language translation and
discussing any issues of grammar, vocabulary or content that the teacher feels
important or that students are curious about. Bancroft notes that this section is
typically conducted in the target language, although student questions or
comments will be in whatever language the student feels he or she can handle.
Students are led to view the experience of dealing with the new material as
interesting and undemanding of any special effort or anxiety. The teacher’s
attitude and authority are considered critical to preparing student for success in
the learning to come. The pattern of learning and use is noted (i.e. fixation,
reproduction and new creative production), so that students will know what is
The third part-concert session- is the one by which suggestopedia is best
known. Since this constitutes the heart of the method, we will quote Lazanov as to
how this session proceeds.
At the beginning of the session, all conversation stops for a minute or
two, and the teacher listens to the music coming from a tape-recorder. He
waits and listens to several passages in order to enter into the mood of
the music and then begins to read or recite the new text, his voice
modulated in harmony with the musical phrases. The students follow the
text in their textbook where each lesson is translated into the mother
tongue. Between the first and second part of the concert, there are
several minutes of solemn silence. Before the beginning of the second
part of the concert, there are again several minutes of silence and some
phrases of the music are heard again before the teacher begins to read
the text. Now the students close their text books and listen to the
teacher’s reading. At the end, the students silently leave the room. They
are not told to do any homework on the Jesson they have just had
expected for reading it cursorily once before going to bed and again
before getting up in the morning (Lozanov 1978-272)

Advantages of Suggestopedia
There are some benefits in utilizing suggestopedia:

1. A comprehesible input based on dessugestion and suggestion principle

By using this suggestopedia method, students can lower their affective filter.
Suggestopedia classes, in addition, are held in ordinary rooms with comfortable
chairs, a practice that may also help them relaxed. Teacher can do numerous other
things to lower the affective filter.

2. Authority concept
Students remember best and are most influenced by information coming from
an authoritative source, teachers.

3. Double-planedness theory
It refers to the learning from two aspects. They are the conscious aspect and the
subconscious one. Students can acquire the aim of teaching instruction from both
direct instruction and environment in which the teaching takes place.
4. Peripheral learning
Suggestopedia encourages the students to apply language more independently,
takes more personal responsibility for their own learning and get more
confidence. Peripheral information can also help encourage students to be more
experimental, and look to sources other than the teacher for language input. For
example, the students can make some sentences using the grammatical structure
placed on the classroom’s wall, describe a particular place in an English speaking
country by looking at the poster on the wall, etc. When the students are successful
in doing such self-activities, they will be more confident.

Disadvantages of Suggestopedia
Suggestopedia also has limitation since there is no single teaching method
that is chategorized as the best based on some consideration such as: the
curriculum, students motivation, financial limitation, number of students, etc.

The main disadvantages of suggestopedia are as follow:

1. Environment limitation
Most schools in developing countries have large classes. Each class consists of 30 to
40 students. One of the problems faced in utilizing this method is the number of
students in the class. There should be 12 students in the class (Adamson, 1997).

2. The use of hypnosis

Some people say that suggestopedia uses a hypnosis, so it has bad deep effects for
human beings. Lazanov strongly denied about it.

3. Infantilization learning
Suggestopedia class is conditioned be child-like situation. There are some students
who do not like to be treated like this as they think that thay are mature.
Teacher will find different situation and different types of students in
learning. Therefore, teacher should be creative and smart in choosing and using
different types of methods in teaching different skill of language. Teacher can use
suggestopedia as teaching method in their teaching. Using suggestopedia is very
interesting but challenging to do. It can be seen from some considerations. In one
side it has some benefits, but on the other side it also has some weaknesses. In
addition, the key factors of effective teaching are not the approaches and methods
in language teaching themselves but the teacher’s deliberate selection of different
approaches and methods and the devoted practice of putting theories into real
teaching activities in a corresponding social-cultural context. It is a fact that no
approach or method is perfect. However, there is no end for teacher to seek the
perfection of the approaches and methods in language teaching. The language
teaching method known as Suggestopedia provides some valuable insights into the
power of cognition and creates techniques that make students feel comfortable,
relaxed and suggestible to the material being learned.
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Maleki, Ataillah. 2005. A New Approach to Teaching English as a Foreign Language:
the Bottom-Up Approach. Assian EFL Journal: English Language Teaching and
Research Article. October 24, 2017 <http:// http://www.jalt->.
Lica, Gabriela Mihaila. 2008. Suggestopedia: A Wonder Approach to Learning
Foreign Languages. Assian EFL Journal: English Language Teaching and
Research Article. 27 Jan.2009 <http://www.jalt->.
Radle, Paul. 2008. Suggestopedia. October 24, 2017 <
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