What does Suggestopedia /Desuggestive Learning/ R e s e r v o p e d i a Look Like at Present?
Dr G. Lozanov
The best results of suggestopedia are not due to any technique (guided relaxation, guided fantasies, breathing exercises, etc.) as a number of authors fabricated but to a holistic knowledge of the psychophysiological mechanisms of personal reserves. On the basis of extremely productive research studies, we arrived till present to the following conclusions for the absolutely required knowledge that should be assimilated by the teachers in the course of their methodological training:
(Excerpts from the forthcoming book
Theory and Practice of the Liberating-Stimulating Communicative Pedagogy on the Level of the Reserves of the Human Mind)
Suggestology and Suggestion
In every communication, in every thought, in every feeling, in every perception and in every mental activity, there exists one central, clear complex of experiences and many peripheral, background experiences. In the perception of speech, for example, the content or the basic thought bearing the specificity of the message falls in the centre of attention and consciousness where it is subjected to critical analysis and logical processing. But we react not only to the specific meaning of speech, but to a whole complex of accompanying and, in some cases, preceding or succeeding stimuli non specific to this speech. The number of these non-specific stimuli (and most often they are peripheral perceptions) is inconceivably large - gestures, gait, facial expressions, expressions of the eyes, diction, intonation, and a number of ideomotor movements unnoticeable to consciousness. The peripheral perceptions are fluctuating - when they pass into consciousness they are no longer peripheral but ordinary, conscious perceptions.
We also include in the field of non-specific stimuli the environmental components, the level of prestige of the speaker, the physiological and psychological state of expectation of the recipient as well as his/her biological needs; in general, everything which at that moment is linked with the words that are spoken and is emitted unconsciously, volitionally uncontrollable. These non- specific stimuli, if synchronized, can play some suggestive role by changing the power of the words and by serving as the control for their authenticity. The conclusion can be drawn that the suggestive is a constant and indivisible part of every communicative process. In some cases, it may increase the power of the words; in others, it may decrease it; but it always participates in man's mental and emotional life when communicating.
The Suggestology, which we have been developing, is the science of that type of suggestion which in fact liberates us from the previous negative conditioning. With this type of suggestion the information is wanted and absorbed with expectancy, without coercion and controlled by the harmoniously organised peripheral perceptions.
Peripheral perceptions (i.e. so called weak signals) of any type are of particular importance to this kind of communication. Subliminal peripheral perceptions are uncontrollable by volition. These weak signals are emitted by the trained prestigious teacher and the general organization of the teaching process, and they are absorbed subconsciously by the students (or the patients if those refer to psychotherapy). These peripheral perceptions absolutely guarantee the authenticity of the link or access to the aimed-at hidden reserves to enable exceptionally fast learning (or healing, in the case of psychotherapy). It would be impossible for a teacher to reveal reserves throughout the teaching process, i.e. learning as a minimum 2 to 3 times faster and better, and up to 5 to 10 times faster and better, without substantial homework, without fatigue and, besides, with a favourable effect on the students’ health and social climate in the group unless he/she knew for sure that such student reserves do in fact exist. That is an axiom because the peripheral perceptions reveal the truth. It thus becomes obvious that suggestology, and suggestopedia respectively, constitute a genuine science that opposes any coercion, any hypnosis or manipulative commanding suggestion.
Spontaneously Absorbed, Non-manipulative Suggestion in Suggestopedia/ R e s e r v o p e d I a
In our long-term research for a way to organize in a harmonious and synchronized way the reception of non-specific stimuli while respecting the student’s (or the patient’s) freedom of choice, we have come to the development of a new type of communication without commands and non-critical automatic obedience. We gradually developed a communication where the patient’s problems could be discussed in a friendly way, without resorting to commands. Relying mainly on the high prestige of the teacher (or the physician) without a commanding tone, or obedient and passive behaviour on the part of the recipient, we demonstrated in our first big experiment that it was possible to memorize 1000 French words and phrases in one day. When a highly prestigious teacher has an overall behaviour which manifests clearly his deep conviction that high results will be obtained, the effect of his/her teaching is really on the level of the reserves of the mind. Due to a lack of alternative terminology, we have called this variant means of reaching the reserves of mind 'spontaneously absorbed, non-manipulative suggestion'. This ‘non-manipulative suggestion’ with its particular characteristics bringing about a relationship of enthusiasm and harmony between the teacher and the student (or the physician) cannot possibly be considered as suggestion in its clinical meaning.
With hypnosis and ordinary clinical suggestion, we cannot even talk about creative thinking. Even independent thinking is not evident with the former two. While with Reservopedia and the spontaneously absorbed, non-manipulative suggestion we use, creative thinking is omnipresent and at the core of the process. This is the learning and teaching type of communication of the future which we have to acquire.
In the pedagogy of the hidden reserves of mind, this spontaneously absorbed, non-manipulative type of suggestion has been insured through the first law of Reservopedia – Love.