A Teaching Method: Suggestopedia

A Teaching Method: Suggestopedia

Written by:

Anggun Apriana (06081001022)

Mutiara Islamiyah (06081001038)

English Education Study Program

Sriwijaya University



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 students’ better in memorizing.


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 memories.

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. Comfortable environment

In suggestopedia method, the classroom is not the same as common classrooms. In the classroom, the chairs are arranged semicircle and faced the black or white board in order to make the students pay more attention and get more relaxed. In addition, the light in the classroom is dim in order to make the students’ mind more relaxed (Xue, 2005).

  1. The use of music

One of the most uniqueness of this method is the use of Baroque music during the learning process. Baroque music, with its 60 beats per minute and its specific rhythm, created the kind of relaxed states of mind for maximum retention of material. It is believed that Baroque music creates a level of relaxed concentration that facilitates the intput and retention of huge quantities of materials. Baroque music helps the students to reach a certain state of relaxation, in which the receptivity is increased (Radle, 2008). The increasing of learning potential is put down to the increase of alpha brain and decreasing of blood preasure and heart rate. The use of music also depends on the expected skill of the students: listening, grammar, pronunciation, discussion, etc.

  1. Peripheral Learning

The students learn English not only from direct instruction but also from indirect instruction. It is encouraged through the presence in the learning environment of posters and decoration featuring the target language and various grammatical information. They are changed everyday. By doing this, the students can learn many things undirectly in the classroom or outside classroom. For example, students can produce simple sentence by using the posters or grammatical information on the wall.

  1. Free Errors

In the teaching learning process, students who make mistakes are tolerated, for example in pronouncing the word. The emphasis is on the content not the structure. Grammar and vocabularies are presented and given treatment from the teachers, but not dwelt on.

  1. Homework is limited

Students reread materials given in the classroom once before they go to sleep at night and once in the morning before they get up.

  1. Music, drama and art are integrated in the learning process

They are integrated as often as possible.



Suggestopedia aims to deliver advance conversational proficiency quickly. It apparently bases its leaning 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.

Stages of Suggestopedia

There are three 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

       First Concert

This involves the active presentation of the material to be learnt. The original form of Suggestopedia presented by Lozanov consisted of the use of extended dialogues, often several pages in length, accompanied by vocabulary lists and observations on grammatical points. Typically these dialogues will be read aloud to students to the accompaniment of music.

       Second Concert

The students are now guided to relax and listen to some Baroque music. The best choice of music according to Lozanov, with the text being studied very quietly in the background. During both types of reading, the learners will sit in comfortable seats, armchairs rather than classroom chairs, in a comfortable environment. After the readings of these long dialogues to the accompaniment of music, the teacher will then make use of the dialogues for more conventional language work. The music brings the students into the optimum mental state for the effortless acquisition of the material. The students, then, make and practice dialogue after they memorize the content of the materials.

  1. 3.         Practice

The use of a range of role-plays, games, puzzles, etc. to review and consolidate the learning.

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.

  1. Authority concept

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

  1. 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.

  1. 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).

  1. 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.

  1. 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.


Unknown. (2011). Suggestopedia. Retrived from http://teflpedia.com/Suggestopedia#Roles_of_Teacher_and_Students on April 14, 2011.

Xue, Jinxiang. 2005. Critical Review on Suggestopedia. Division of Language and Communication. 20 Jan.2009, pr 1 <http://www.eslkidstuff.com/Articles.htm>.

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. 27 Jan.2009 <http:// http://www.jalt-publications.org/tlt/files/97/feb/suggest.html>.

DePorter, Boby. 2008. Suggestopedia. Mediawiki. 20 Jan.2009 <http://www.englishraven.com/method_suggest.html>

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-publications.org/tlt/files/97/feb/suggest.html>.

Radle, Paul. 2008. Suggestopedia. 27 Jan.2009 <http://www.vtrain.net/lang-sugg.htm>.

Adamson, Charles. 1997. Suggestopedia as NLP. Assian EFL Journal: English Language Teaching and Research Article. 27 Jan.2009 <http://www.jalt-publications.org/tlt/files/97/feb/suggest.html>.


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