You might have heard at least once in your life ‘Oh, that person is really bad at English’ or ‘Hey, you better stop to waste your time trying to learn English’. Is there something wrong in the students or in the way the students have been proposed a learning experience? I believe it is the second one. Dr Georgi Lozanov – the father of suggestopedia – taught me bad students don’t exist, it is the teacher who is in charge of finding the best way to make the students absorb what he/she proposes. Many of my students say they got frustrated trying to learn English, for instance, because the people in charge of the learning programmes (e.g. the teachers) weren’t able to understand their needs and involve them accordingly. Therefore those students learnt they weren’t able to learn, they didn’t have the right skills or the talent to learn foreign languages. Today I would like to talk to you about something many people learning English as a foreign language forget at some point: the joy of learning English.
Sometimes learning English can become boring or difficult, even if we really need to improve it and are determined to do it. Paradoxically, the more we try the more we fail or struggle to reach the results we want. Lucky for us, suggestopedia (the method for learning foreign languages up to 6 times faster) helps us to better understand what exactly prevent us to learn English as well as any other foreign language.
According to suggestopedia people have 3 types of barriers that slow down the learning process and don’t allow to reach the results expected smoothly. Dr Georgi Lozanov labeled these barriers as follows:
- Emotional barrier – Whenever we experience an unpleasant emotion or feeling while we are trying to learn something (e.g. a foreign language, a public speaking technique, etc) and feel uncomfortable and awkward in learning, then that unpleasant emotion triggers the so called emotional barrier.
- Logic barrier – Whenever we think ‘No way, this thing is impossible to learn’ or ‘This doesn’t make any sense’ we could experience the so called logic barrier. The logic barrier occurs any time we don’t accept new inputs because we can’t find the logic in what we have been proposed.
- Ethical barrier – Whenever we think we can’t accept something because it is against our beliefs and ethical values, we experience the so called ethical barrier.
Now the good news comes. The suggestopedic method proposes a teaching framework that enables people to overcome their emotional, logic and ethical barriers in order to speed up the learning process by 6 times. How does this happen? According to suggestopedia, they key relies in the communication between teacher and students. It is something more than the simple ‘way of speaking to the students’. Let’s find out more about it.
First of all, the learning setting is extremely important. Suggestopedic teachers welcome their students in pleasant settings, i.e. places (classrooms, training rooms) made nice for the people who are spending some time in there. In other words, they take care of the learning setting. Nobody chooses bad places where to spend the holidays. Why? Because everybody wants to spend the free time surrounded by beauty. Beauty makes everything more pleasant and interesting. Beauty plays a vital role in learning, too.
Secondly, suggestopedic teachers propose a wide range of playful and enjoyable exercises and activities. Games, songs, and fun exercises are always on the schedule of every lesson. The aim is to make the students learn even if they don’t realise they are actually memorising and absorbing. The lessons flow game after game, though the teacher is well aware of what is happening to the students.
But what really makes the difference is LOVE. Yes, love: the love the teachers feel for their students when they truly care of students’ learning experience, they want the students to have the best learning experience ever and they do anything in order to make all the students achieve the results expected.
Our English speaking course ‘Learn English through Drama’ is designed in accordance with the principles of suggestopedia (though it is not a suggestopedic course). Our students really enjoy learning English and, what’s even more important, they improve dramatically their English skills thanks to the methodological framework we use. For instance, in the language summer school UK ‘Learn English through Drama’ lasting two weeks, our students learn to take their English to the next level. On the first day of the course they can speak English, though they feel awkward when it comes to joining in a conversation or a public speaking situation. Over two weeks they work on their technical skills and self-confidence. At the end of the course many of our students say ‘Learn English through Drama’ is an English speaking course with a twist because their vocabulary is reacher, their fluency is three times better and they learnt to speak as an English native speaker. All our students make it, none is left behind because ‘is not able to catch up with the teacher or the group’. Learning English through drama focuses on theatre, drama and theatrical improvisation to help the students to learn through art, which really creates a pleasant atmosphere.
And what is more important, everybody achieves all those results by having fun! That’s what we call ‘the joy of learning’.
If you think our language summer school UK might be your cup of tea, why don’t you have a look at the programme and the next dates here: