Suggestopedia Italia

Vai ai contenuti

Articolo G:L Suggestopedia story


Dr G. Lozanov
40 years already passed since I created suggestopedia. And 37 years since the establishment of the first in the world State Research Institute of Suggestology - on 6 October 1966. In a communist country, an institute was created to research into the potential of human mind. The central topic of the Institute was suggestopedia - learning at the level of this potential with 3 to 5 times greater speed and quality (at least as a beginning). Several times - not 5% or 10%.
It is well known that suggestopedia is now applied in all fields of knowledge but its widest application till present is in the field of foreign language studies. Well organized suggestopedia accelerates learning 5 times on an average as it was established in our experimental materials and practical results of the good teachers we trained. It is also very important to stress that the encountered side effects were confirmed as well: the favourable impact on health, on the social and psychological relations, and on the subsequent success in other subjects and within other methods. In case that all these effects have not occurred, the teacher should consider his/her auxiliary qualification.
The unusual effects of suggestopedia were explained by teachers who were not qualified in the method with various techniques - guided relaxation, breathing exercises, guided fantasies, etc. However, suggestopedia is not a technique. It is a new approach, a new type of communication - a communication at the potential level, a new philosophy of learning and education. It assumes that any man possesses vast unused resources and potential. This potential might be inborn but, from a scholarly point of view, it makes more sense to presume that it is a social establishment of the centuries due to the fear of parents, teachers, administrators, etc not to overburden trainees (children and adults) which has resulted in giving only small shares of material to learn, and only at the level of consciousness. Thus they have established in the course of the ages the present norms of any mental activity. This has lead respectively to the present methods of education. They have not known the paraconscious functions of personality. One may say that the secret functions of the paraconscience (in a way, this is the unconscious) are still not well known although many people flirt with that knowledge in an attempt to show themselves very clever and interesting.
If a child succeeds in overcoming the established norms, we say that "this is a genius". But in fact we do not realize that "we are all genial". If applied correctly, suggestopedia establishes a communication at the level of our individual "geniality".
After continuous experiments - for 19 years in the created by us State Research Institute of Suggestology with a staff of about 100 persons, for 10 years in the created by us Center for Suggestology and Personal Development at the St. Climent of Ohrid University of Sofia, 15 experimental and 15 control schools on an average that the Ministry of Education consigned to us in the whole country, 1 created by us State Research Institute for Learning Studies in Austria, Vienna, 3 State Pedagogical Academies in Austria, and many other experimental centers worldwide - we tested and proved the results of 10 000 adults students in the field of foreign language studies trained in our method and tested respectively as well as 40 000 children from the primary schools, namely: for 4 weeks 3 hours daily, starting from a zero level, the students learn in a pleasant atmosphere and without homework to read and speak approximately 2500 words in a creative way within the frame of the basic grammar of the language. The children in the first grade till the end of the school year learn successfully the material for the second grade and partly for the third grade according to the program of the Ministry in a pleasant atmosphere without homework, having classes 5 days a week. The results were confirmed by the supervising group at the Ministry of Education as well by an international expert group of UNESCO.
Here are extracts from a report submitted in 1976 to the Minister of Education which was discussed and accepted first by the scholarly council of the Institute made up of 12 experts - professors from various universities and research institutes. Subsequently, the report was discussed at a national pedagogical meeting and published in a pedagogic journal (Problems of Education, 1976, volume 12, page 31, Sofia):
"With an order of the Ministry of Education, a whole-year experiment was performed during the school year 1970/71 with a representative for Sofia 10th grade where all subjects and the integral educative work were developed according to the suggestopedic method. The academic, educative and medical results from this initial integral experiment with the suggestopedic learning system were reported at the First International Symposium on the problems of suggestology and were published. Since the school year 1972/73, an integral suggestopedic experiment was organized with an order of the Ministry of Education for the students from the 1st grade of 122nd School in Sofia. 139th School was provided as a control school. Since the next 1973/74 school year, the experiment was expanded with an order of the Ministry of Education to include another village school near Sofia - the school in Dragalevtsi where the first grades was again enrolled. The school in the village of Simeonovo was provided as a control school.
The results achieved in the course of those years were many times discussed by the scholarly council of the Institute, reported to the Ministry of Education and published. A number of committees examined the results and verified the data promulgated by the Institute. This led to the chance to expand the experiment in a broader territory within the country in view of the perspective chances allowing the introduction of the suggestopedic system in the whole country.
With an order of the Ministry of Education, the experiment during the past 1975/76 school year included the schools in: the town of Plovdiv and the village of Dolni Voden, the towns of Haskovo, Dimitrovgrad, Blagoevgrad, Pleven, Mikhailovgrad and the village of Marchaevo as well as three schools in the city of Sofia with 1500 children in total. The following schools were provided by the Ministry of Education as control schools: Sofia - 119th, 129th, 64th primary schools; Plovdiv - the primary school in the village of Kuklen and the school "Yordan Yovkov"; Haskovo - the school "Vassil Levski"; Dimitrovgrad - the school "Lyuben Karavelov"; Pleven - the school "Hristo Smirnenski"; Mikhailovgrad - 2nd primary school; Blagoevgrad - 2nd primary school, with 1300 children in total.
We realize suggestive experience not in its clinical and hypnotic sense but, as we have many times stressed, in the sense of the communicative significance of art as a desuggestive & suggestive and a liberating & stimulating factor. This means that suggestopedia derives its name not from suppressing methods of influence upon personality but from its integral system for liberation from preliminary negative concepts regarding the difficulties in the process of learning that have originated during one's lifetime. Therefore, suggestopedia is a system for liberation. It uses various artistic means as its major elements …
(Author's note: We lecture and publish since the very beginning that suggestopedia has nothing in common with hypnosis and its structure is even antihypnotic as it becomes clear from the present article. It is an interesting fact that certain authors caused disinformation and made attempts to mislead society instead to come and study from us.)
The up-to-date interpretation of the principle of consciousness requires conscious assimilation of details for the establishment of a stereotype. Later, this stereotype should be destroyed, and a new stereotype should be established at a higher level. Following the establishment of this stereotype, it should be also destroyed, and the next in the hierarchy stereotype should be established. The destruction of stereotypes according to the experimental data and the theoretical postulates of I. P. Pavlov results in neurotic development. This is one of the reason for the neurotic disorders among students. However, the hierarchy of learning stereotypes has other negative sides, for example restriction of trainees' consciousness, elimination of the motivation for learning, loosing the general trend in the integral sense of the studied material, etc. Our principle for unity of consciousness and unconsciousness overcomes this weak side of the up-to-date conception for consciousness with the requirement that training should be performed at the level of realized integrities. However, this transfer of training to a global level does not mean signify a turnover to the methods of the integral approach (for example, the method of whole words) for training in the suggestopedic system is double-sided, and the background comprises simultaneously integrities and single elements. Thus in fact training within the
framework of suggestopedia is dialectical in essence and performance, in one and the same time directed to the integrities of meaning as well as to their composite details.
Thus a real consciousness and creative work is realized at the level of integrities, and at the second level of the details one assimilates the constructive elements to which consciousness reverts only sporadically if needed so …
Large teams of specialists who were not employed by the Institute and members of the organizational and methodical staff of the Ministry of Education and the Departments of Education at the districts in the country organized the examinations of the children in respect to the level of their acquired knowledge of various subjects, health state, psychophysiological characteristics and level of development. The examinations in the beginning and in the end of the school year with one stage check in the end of the first term were performed by specialists from the following institutes: 12 from the Center of Hygiene; 11 from the Institute of Neurology, Psychiatry and Neurosurgery at the Medical Academy in Sofia; 4 from the Medical Academy in Pleven; 2 from the Medical Academy in Plovdiv; 3 from the Higher Institute of Physical Culture "Georgi Dimitrov; 1 from the Bulgarian Union for Physical Culture and Sports; 1 from the District Psychoneurological Dispensary in Pleven; 2 from the Research Institute of Education; 1 from the Kremikovtsi Metallurgical Works; 1 from the Psychoneurological Dispensary in the city of Sofia; 1 from the Academy for Social Sciences.
The following institutions and specialists took part in the checks and evaluations of the control works: 1. The District Departments of Education with 43 specialists; 2. The Ministry of Education with 20 specialists; 3. Other out-school institutions with 14 specialists; The Research Institute of Suggestology with 17 specialists; 6 headmasters (of the schools); 7 teachers. Overall 146 specialists who were not employees of the Research Institute of Suggestology were involved in the course of the whole school year for examinations and supervision of the results.
Due to the easy learning even of more material, it became possible for the children of the experimental schools to study 5 days a week, with additional potential to increase the hours for arts and manual skills training as well as for more outdoor exercises. The merger of training with education and aesthetics on the basis of labour created conditions for prompt development of harmonious personalities as well as for early revelation of talents.
Specialists from the Central Palace of Children, the Central Station of Young Technicians, the Central Station of Young Agrobiologists, the Central Station for Sports and Tourism, the Center for Literature and Art, and the district children's centers and stations took part in the integrative global composition of the daily regimen of the children.
With their aid as well as with the help of the Ministry of Education, the Departments of Education, the headmasters and the teams of teachers, we could design the following daily regimen for the children:
8:00 - 11:30 classes;
11:30 - 12:30 free games;
12:30 - 13:00 lunch;
13:00 - 14:30 sleep for the 6-year-old, active rest for the 7-year-old children;
14:30 - 15:30 sport games;
15:30 - 16:30 organized activity according to interests, languages; art reading according to a special program.
Committees approved by the Ministry of Education took party in the process of specifying the content to be studied …
In spite of all organizational obstacles, the final results were all the more encouraging. The students from the 1st grade at the experimental schools without obligatory homework, fatigue and tension assimilated for 5 days a week on a higher creative level the entire body of knowledge according to the program for this grade as well as almost the entire material for the 2nd grade and part of the material for certain subjects studied in the 3rd grade according to the program of the Ministry of Education.
The control works in all subjects were evaluated by specialists of the Ministry of Education. The committees were approved by the Minister of Education.
It should be born in mind that all other examinations performed and summarized mostly by specialists who were not employees of the Institute were also in favour of the experiment. For example, 7-year-old children trained according to the suggestopedic system of education show higher rate of development in respect to most parameters for somatic development and capability in comparison to the children from the control schools, the other parameters being essentially similar for both groups. The data for the somatic development and capability of the 6-year-old children in the course of the school year are also favourable. There are no data for an unfavourable impact of the suggestopedic system of education upon the somatic development of the children in spite of the large material for assimilation and the higher rate of assimilation.
The examination of the general state of health and the somatic and mental incidence of diseases revealed a threefold increase of neurotic disorders of short duration in the control schools compared to the rate of these disorders among the children from the experimental schools. Even the 6-year-old students who showed a relatively higher disposition for development of neurotic reactions had lesser incidence of such reactions compared to 7-year-old students from the control schools. The available date showed that notwithstanding the greater amount of assimilated information the students from the experimental schools have shown better potential for adaptation to the educative environment and the process of learning.
The data from the sociometric study performed at the experimental and control schools show that the experimental schools have a more favourable psychological microclimate determining the collectivistic formation of student's personality. The structure of the interpersonal relations at the experimental schools differ in respect both to quantitative and qualitative parameters. The students from our schools have better self-esteem, and the isolated children within the classes are less in comparison to the control schools.
In the process of estimation of the data, it should be born in mind that these data have been derived from a vast number of children from various parts of the country; this fact speaks in favour of a high rate of statistic validity of the results. It should also be born in mind that the data have been derived not only by research associates from the Institute but also by a large team of research associates, specialists and members of the organizational staff of many other institutions and organizations, all this establishing a sense of security regarding their validity.
The next year UNESCO required from us to present a written report on suggestopedia in all possible aspects. Later on in the UNESCO building in Paris we did a demonstration of foreign language suggestopedia before of a large group of UNESCO employees. On 11 December 1978 UNESCO organized a large international expert panel of specialists who should study in situ suggestopedia in all age groups and present their conclusion. Here are extracts from their minutes: (Published in the USA: The Journal of the Society for Accelerative Learning and Teaching", Volume 3, Number 3, Fall, 1978, p. 211)
Minutes of Conference for Suggestology
Dec. 11-16, 1978, Sofia, Bulgaria
These are the minutes and recommendation of the working group of international experts at a meeting on suggestology as a learning methodology held in Sofia, Bulgaria, December 11-17, 1978. UNESCO and the Bulgarian Ministry of Education jointly sponsored the conference. The invited participants presented their research findings and made recommendations to UNESCO concerning further large scale implementation of suggestopedia in the areas of research and experimentation, teacher training and suggestopedic centers. Complete proceedings are to be published later.
Made by the Experts from the Working Group on Suggestology as a Learning Methodology Meeting in Sofia, December 11-17, 1978
1. There is consensus that Suggestopedia is a generally superior teaching method for many subjects and for many tapes of students, compared with traditional methods.
We have arrived at this consensus following a study of the research literature, listening to the testimony of international experts, observing films portraying Suggestopedia instruction and visiting classes in which Suggestopedia is practiced. The films were well prepared and the classroom visitations were impressive.
2. Standards should be set up for the training, certification and maintaining of standards of suggestopedic training.
3. Different categories of competency of teachers should be used to reflect increasing levels of teaching performance in certification.
4. Suggestopedic teacher training should be started as soon as possible.
5. An International Association for Suggestology and Suggestopedia should be set up that is affiliated with UNESCO and should have the assistance and guidance of Dr. Lozanov for training, research, coordination and publication of results.
UNESCO is requested to give its support to all these proposed activities by all possible means and under the existing international regulations."
A few months later I was invited by the President of the People's Republic of Bulgaria to introduce the method in the whole country beginning with the Mikhailovgrad district. I explained that any research study of this type requires several years of waiting before its introduction on a national scale in view of clarifying the consequences. To date, it is known with certainty that these consequences are more than positive and the methods can be introduced without a doubt. But it was long time ago, many events occurred, and now the introduction is implemented within another framework.
However, on 12 January 1980 when I was preparing to leave for USA in relation with commercial negotiations for suggestopedia between Technic (the Bulgarian foreign trade enterprise) and an American company, I was stopped with no explanation at the Sofia airport. I was deprived of my passport and placed under home arrest with no right of lectures, publications, correspondence, telephone calls abroad, travelling, etc. All that had no normal explanation - except the strictly humanitarian basis of suggestopedia or the desire that "others should not have it". It appeared like a regular continuation of the pressure that certain circles put upon me and made me thrice - in 1975, 1976, and 1977 - resign in writing which ha s not been accepted this way. Following an intense journalistic attack, the lawsuit for an "ideological diversion" did not succeed and was terminated. In the end of December 1984, the Minister A. Fol fired me from the Institute that I established and declared before the staff that this had to be done "on order of the Central Committee of the Party", and this was confirmed by the accompanying Party representative, R. Macedonova. The management of the Institute was put in charge of a profane person who in the near future would succeed to close it. And I was placed on my own allowance and with no right of salary in two bare rooms in the basement of an old building. There I was accompanied by Dr Gateva. The press reacted, and the television - the Kevork's department - made a broadcast with my participation. For I had no right of salary I was urged to organize courses in order to make our living. We had no chairs and tables, and the students had to sit down on the floor over textbooks. People heard what had happened, I got quickly students from the institutions, and we were able in two months to purchase tables and chairs. The rector of the University of Sofia, Prof. M. Semov visited us and when he understood what had happened he said that my dismissal from the Institute is at least a biggest nonsense. Then he gave me half a storey in a building of the University, and I inaugurated an independent Center for Suggestology and Personal Development with the status of a faculty at the University. But the home arrest continued. Its repeal was beyond the rights of the University. It lasted for 9 years overall - till the political changes when I again began to travel and had normal conditions for my activity. Due to my long absence from the "world", however, a series of deviations in the theory and practice as well as desperate imitations had appeared. Many organizations were established in the name of suggestopedia not with the aim to learn and introduce it but rather to suppress and sack it.




Torna ai contenuti | Torna al menu