Learning Spanish Language: Suggestopedia

By: Douglas Bower

Georgi Lozanov, a Bulgarian psychologist, introduced what he undoubtedly thought an original and brilliant premise: "... students naturally set up psychological barriers to learning - based on fears that they will be unable to perform and are limited in terms of their ability to learn."

Anyone who has ever taught American Junior High school could have told him that.

Adults, particularly, have what I call, "the embarrassment factor" when it come to learning a new language. The thought of losing face is a hindrance to learning a language.

Lozanov held the idea that the human brain could retain and process much more if a more ideal learning environment (conditions) could be achieved. A kind of hypnosis-like hocus-pocus was thought to help the learner overcome self-perceived limitations. He set about creating a method in which an ultimate state of relaxation could be reached, thus increasing the amount of material one needed to learn.

Baroque music was used to facilitate this state of relaxation and ultimate concentration. Extremely comfortable chairs, soft lighting, and a general manipulation of the classroom environment (which was found to be highly impractical in a classroom-imagine adolescents with raging hormones in this scene!).

Teachers were given the role of "suggestionists," thus creating this kind of hypnotic approach to learning a second language.

Though a strange approach, the language seemed to be taught by learning dialogues while sitting in overstuffed chairs, listening to relaxing music in the dark while listening to your teacher trying to put the whammy on you.

I would have fallen asleep and never learned a word of any foreign language.

The environmental factors would have been impossible to implement in a large classroom full of children or adolescents.

I do know of home-study courses that use this method and of those who have used it successfully outside of any classroom.

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