To explain Suggestopedia meaning, I’d like to go back in time, when I was 23 years old I wrote on my diary I wanted to create an innovative learning centre where people can develop their skills faster, better and create the life they want for themselves.
At the time, I was finishing off my studies in Linguistics at the time and I was tutoring and teaching English, Czech and Italian for adult learners. The idea of running an innovative learning centre was inspiring, it was definitely what I wanted to do, as much as it was vague, too! I knew I wanted to work with and for adult learners. When I found out more about Suggestopedia I felt like I found my route. And when I finally got certified in Suggestopedia for adults, I knew that choice was life changing.
Here I am today, still practising Suggestopedia as a language teacher, always looking to improving my skills.
My mission, though, goes beyond teaching languages.
In fact, after implementing the suggestopedic principles in all training programmes I delivered during over 15 years of practice in Learning & Development for adult learners, I can state Suggestopedia is a real booster.
It gives clarity about how to plan effective training, how to get the learners engaged and how to cope with challenging learners, too.
As a consequence, I founded Fast Learning School with this goal in mind: to offer training programmes, all based on Suggestopedia. This framework is so generative that can empower and improve the effectiveness of any types of training programmes, not only in foreign languages.
What is Suggestopedia?
Suggestopedia = to suggest + pedagogy
Suggestopedia meaning comes from the English verb “to suggest”. This approach to teaching is crystallised by that word: teachers propose, learners are free to engage with the learning experience and to absorb new input.
Suggestopedia is a pedagogy. It is one of the very few methodologies recommended by UNESCO as a superior method for teaching and learning.
Although Suggestopedia was first born as a method for teaching and learning foreign languages, it can apply to any subjects.
Languages and beyond
Bottom line: Suggestopedia has been mainly applied to language teaching. Nevertheless, because the principles at the basis of Suggestopedia are so powerful and generative, they can actually improve the efficacy of any type of teaching practice, really.
That’s what I’ve always done: tapping into Suggestopedia to craft results-oriented and enjoyable training programmes, regardless of the specific topic I had to cover.
What does set Suggestopedia apart from other methods of learning?
The idea is to use games, music, art and drama for facilitating the acquisition process. In a suggestopedic language course for adults, students get from complete beginner level to intermediate level in 72 hours, without homework. On average, they absorb about 2,000 lexical units and they’re able to creatively and spontaneously use about 1,800 lexical units. Basically, suggestopedic teachers take their students to hypermnesia. The whole learning process is based on the use of games, drama, music, art because art is a powerful motivational driver. The students enjoy themselves while they learn faster and achieve long-lasting results. This is what the commission of experts from UNESCO observed, confirmed and the reason why UNESCO eventually recommended Suggestopedia as a superior methodology.
Method and goals
In a nutshell, yes we use games, drama and art, but we do it within a very solid framework and by sticking to very precise guidelines.
The goal of the suggestopedic teachers is to allow the students to tap into their inner mind reserves so that people learn at least x6 faster, without feeling overwhelmed or tired, always enjoying themselves and building up their self-confidence as learners.
Believe me, it is a pretty sophisticated method. I consider myself a suggestopedic teacher still in training because every time I reach a deeper level of understanding of this methodology.
When I finally created my innovative learning centre, I did it because I wanted to allow adults to learn faster, better and by having fun.
Apply the principles to any kinds of training
The good news is that any training programmes can be empowered by the fundamental principles of Suggestopedia and you can implement them in your day-to-day teaching practice, regardless of what you specifically teach.
In my case, I created LingoDrama for teaching languages through drama methods “like a Pro” and what sets that training format apart from other methods is the suggestopedic foundations.
To give you another example, I also teach “speed learning strategies” (speed reading and memory enhancement) and, again, that programme, too, is based on the suggestopedic principles.
What is Suggestopedia meaning in the 21st Century?
In Suggestopedia there are 7 fundamental principles. Just to mention 2 of them: one principle is Love. Another one is Freedom. Love and Freedom crystallise precise guidelines and practical strategies. The goal is to create all the conditions for the learners to experience the learning process as a liberating experience, a way to unleash their potential, to express their creativity, to express their personality while they feel free to do that and without judgement, to solidify their self-confidence and finally to connect (or re-connect) with an inner space of clarity and peace.
Believe in your inner capacities of mind
In my opinion, Suggestopedia enables anybody to achieve stunning results, because it teaches people to believe in their inner capacities. There is a great sense of trust at the basis of Suggestopedia (trust is what Love means in Suggestopedia). I’ll give you an example.
When I moved to the UK years ago and I started my own business, I got started with English language courses based on drama. Basically, I put together a method for teaching languages through drama, based also on Suggestopedia. I used to create the lessons plans, to design the whole course, and then I used to train the English teachers working with me. Just to mention one of the most meaningful feedback I got, that was from a mum who got her teenage children enrolled. She wrote to me saying the course was a breakthrough experience: both of them being dyslexic, they’d been always struggling with learning English, but this course changed completely their approach to learning English and their believes about them as learners. That was really moving and rewarding.
Yes, you can
The “yes, you can” seed that Suggestopedia can plant in people’s thoughts is probably the thing we need in the 21st Century. That’s the true Suggestopedia meaning, in my view.
The message of Love and Freedom is at the heart of Suggestopedia and it is the true meaning of this most innovative and powerful pedagogy.
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