Psychopedia, a suggestopedic approach to language learning

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2005

17 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Alternative Methods for Language Teaching

3. The Suggestopedic Approach
3.1. General Description of the Suggestopedic Approach
3.2. Stages of the Suggestopedic Approach

4. Psychopedia
4.1. General Description of the Psychopedic Approach
4.2. Psychopedic Structure
4.2.1. Preparation
4.2.2. Presentation Introduction Phase Reproduction Phase Analytical Phase Associative Phase
4.2.3. Activation

5. Conclusion



As our world becomes more and more globalized, the importance of learning a foreign language increases. In Germany English is already taught in elementary school to give the pupils a basic knowledge concerning the English language.

The whole society is involved into a constant change of working and living habits. Changes occur in industry, school and prerequisites to find a job as well as in family life and personal relationships. This development has got influences on every part of human life and so as well on the sector of education. As a result of this, teachers at school have to adjust their teaching methods to the changing conditions of the environment. As a society needs an atmosphere which favours change, it is necessary to be willing to change oneself. Not to change would result in keeping the faults which have been made in the past. You need to take the risk of change if the public weal should grow. Change should not only be pretended or take only place at the surface but also on the basis of the assumptions concerning learning[1]. During the years several methods have been developed to make learning a new and foreign language more and more interesting, easy and efficient. In the beginning the most frequent methods were those of pattern drills, grammar exercise as well as the method of translation. These techniques are still used in some kind of schools and in some lessons, but the range of methods which is available for the teacher has grown to a large amount. The first new methods have been for example those related to the Total Physical Response method, which should not be described any further in this paper. The approaches which have been developed got more and more creative and are more and more in favor for the individual learning prerequisites of the pupils. Some of these methods are for example the method of the Silent Way, the Psycodramaturgie Linguistique and the suggestopedic approach. The method for language learning, which is the topic of this paper, is a variation of the suggestopedic method which is called Psychopedia.

In the following, there a description of the method of Suggestopedia will be presented, which will be the basis for the description of the psychopedic approach. In the end there will be a conclusion which will include some future references for the use of Psychopedia in today’s school lessons.

2.Alternative Methods for Language Teaching

As already mentioned in the introduction, the world gets more and more globalized. Business is carried out between human beings of different nations using different languages. As a result of this the learning of a foreign language is of utmost importance. In former times languages like Latin and Greek have been taught not for communicative use but for reading and writing. For the leaning of these languages, with a complicated grammatical structure, the method of pattern drill (learning vocabulary and grammatical features by heart) was used with a high frequency. When other languages got and more popular and were taught at schools, these methods have been used for this languages as well.

The difference between the so called “old and “new” languages was, that the new languages could be used as well to communicate with other people and not only to read important historical and cultural books/texts. The logical conclusion of this important difference has to be that the method for teaching the “new” languages should differ from those methods used for the teaching of “old” languages.

A result of this necessity of different teaching methods is the development of different approaches for the teaching of foreign languages. As already mentioned in the introduction there are so called traditional and new methods of language leaning. The conventional methods, which are for example the grammar – translation, the direct method or the audio-lingual method and the bilingual method. As these methods could not be counted to the alternative methods they should not be described any further here.

Non-conventional and alternative methods are for example the Total-Physical-Response Model as well as the suggestopedic and Psychopedic approach. These two holistic approaches should be examined in the following two chapters.

3.The Suggestopedic Approach

3.1.General Description of the Suggestopedic Approach

The suggestopedic approach has been developed by the Bulgarian physician and psychotherapist Georgi Lozanov[2]. The name of this approach is the result of the combination of two terms “suggestion” and “pedagogic”[3] The term of pedagogic is included in the name to show that it is a new method of pedagogic, which uses the method of suggestion to teach pupils. According to Lozanov suggestion is a more or less unconscious influence on the learning process by non-verbal communication and the specific organization of the learning situation. Suggestopedia is a holistic approach in which a much grater part of the brain is involved than in other learning and teaching methods[4]. In several years of research Lozanov worked on the question in how far the memory capacity of the human brain could be enlarged by information which is received unconsciously. In his research he found out that it was possible to increase the output of the learning process by using suggestive methods[5].

The nowadays known version of Suggestopedia is the result of several tests with different combinations of methods and learning processes.

The basic principles which have to be fulfilled when starting a successful suggestopedic learning unit are:[6]

- a relaxed learning atmosphere,
- exploitation of the interplay of conscious and unconscious perception,
- construction of a positive and self-conscious attitude towards the process.

As the teacher can transfer positive suggestions towards his pupils, the last point of this list results in an increase of the learning output.

All these principles are related to the teacher, his attitude and relationship towards his pupils and the methods used in the process of teaching.

However, there are as well other principles which do not depend on the individual teacher. One of these principles is the enlargement of the amount the pupils learn. An example which can demonstrate this principle is the following. The aim of an intensive language course (about 100 lessons in a month) might be to make the pupils learn 2000-2500 lexical units. Already at the very beginning of the course they are confronted with a large amount of unknown words and structures (at about 200 unknown lexical units). The number of unknown units per lesson rises during the course (in the last lesson the pupils can learn up to 800 new units).[7]

Another basic principle of the suggestopedic approach is the combination of teaching and learning phases. As every school lessen should be divided into these phases. This principle does not seem to be new at first sight. However it is the specific succession of the different phases that is important in the suggestopedic approach. As this principle is very important it will be discussed in the following paragraph in more detail.

3.2.Stages of the Suggestopedic Approach

A suggestopedic lesson follows, as mentioned above, a specific principle and has specific scheme, as a result of which it is divided into different phases. The total number of the phases amounts to four. The reception of the language takes place in three presentation phases[8]. The presentation phases are called decoding, active and passive concert. Another phase, which succeeds the presentation phases, is the so called phase of activation. The contents of the different phases should be explained in this chapter.

Very often the suggestopedic lessons are started with some kind of meditation to create a natural and relaxed learning atmosphere.

This relaxation period is followed by the introduction phase which is as well called the decoding phase. During this phase the teacher explains his pupils what will be the topic of the lesson, so that the students know what to expect of the lesson. This is very unusual for pupils, as teachers in school very often do not tell what the aim of the lesson is. However it is an important change to treat the pupils as thinking and acting beings who should know what they can expect. Furthermore in this phase it should be made clear, that every pupil understands the topic of the lesson so that everybody is able to contribute to the topic and to benefit from the lesson. The aim of this period is to make the pupils familiar with the topic and helps to create a relaxed atmosphere[9]. However, even thought the phase is very important for the suggestopedic lesson, it should not take more than 5-10% of the total time of the lesson.

The second phase, the concert can be divided into two parts, the active and the passive concert. The foundation of the two phases is the so called manual. This manual is a text which deals with the topic of the lesson and which contains all the information which should be perceived by the pupils during that lesson. The first concert phase is the active concert. In this period the text is read out aloud by the teacher while the pupils are able to follow what is read on their own copy. In some cases the first reading of the text takes place with grammatical explanation by the teacher. In other variations the first reading is already the active concert. The special feature of the active concert is that it is accompanied by an emotional-expressive kind of music[10] which should have 100-120 beats per minute. This kind of music should support the pupil’s brain activity. The teacher should, in this phase, adjust the intonation and the speed of his speech to the volume and the rhythm of the music[11]. After/in this phase the pupils are also allowed to pose questions, when something has not become clear to them during the first reading. This process of asking and answering of question is not allowed in the following phase which is the passive concert.

During the passive concert the pupils should relax. The teacher again reads the text out aloud in class. This time he is accompanied by a slow, regular and relaxing music with not more than 60-80 beats per minute. Another change in contrast to the active concert is that this time the pupils do not follow the text actively by reading. The pupils should close their eyes, lie down or sit in comfortable chairs. Furthermore they should not really concentrate on the content of the text[12]. They should be completely relaxed. In this state of complete relaxation the brain is capable to memorize much more information than usual. So it is this state of relaxation that is the most impressive element of the suggestopedic approach.


[1] According to: Schuster & Gritton (1986), p.103 (Translation from German Text)

[2] Walter Edelmann (1988), p.33

[3] Rupprecht S. Baur (1990), p. 11

[4] Walter Edelmann (1988), p.33

[5] Rupprecht S. Baur (1990), p. 7

[6] Rupprecht S. Baur (1990), p. 7

[7] Rupprecht S. Baur (1990), p. 8

[8] Rupprecht S. Baur (1990), p. 8

[9] Walter Edelmann (1988), p.35

[10] Rupprecht S. Baur (1990), p. 8

[11] Rupprecht S. Baur (1990), p. 8

[12] Rupprecht S. Baur (1990), p. 8

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Psychopedia, a suggestopedic approach to language learning
University of Paderborn  (Institut für Anglistik)
Alternative Methods of Language Teaching
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ISBN (Book)
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This paper deals with the suggestopedic approach of psycopedia. Due to the increasing globalization the importance of English language teaching increases as well. In this paper,in the beginning, the general characteristics of suggestopedia are described. After that the specific characteristics of psycopedia are described. In the end the charcteristics are exemined according to their use for english teaching in school.
Psychopedia, Alternative, Methods, Language, Teaching
Quote paper
Silke Lübbert (Author), 2005, Psychopedia, a suggestopedic approach to language learning, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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