Suggestopedia and the art of learning as an espresso for the memory, intellect, intuition and creativity
Don’t you feel bothered by the fact that we can only use one tenth of the potential of our brain or even less? I’m sure the Creator doesn’t had in mind to give us an organ that is at 90% just there to fill space. So, it seems to me, that the most natural way of getting old is by learning more about my brain and how I can control it, because as Ekchart Tolle says, the only think you can try to control in life is your own brain and mind.
This post is to share the life-changing experience I had while taking a meta-reading course and falling for suggestology.
The “Meta-reading” course teaches you how to read a 200 pages book for one hour and then reproduce between 70% to 85% of the information.
One of my first memories related to books and reading is how I’m quickly turning page after page and the feeling that sentences are just literally getting in my head, as if I’m taking pictures with my eyes. Couple of decades later, I went to the meta-reading course and I was able to recreate this same experience, knowing that my child’s intuition have done nothing but following its nature.
Time is money and most of the people are seduced by the rapidity factor — you learn to read more than 5 time faster than the average person reads but for me the real gift was elsewhere. The entire meta-reading course is based on the lows and principles of the Suggestopedia— the pedagogy of accelerated learning, operating on the level of the reserves of mind, created in the 70’s by Professor Doctor Georgi Lozanov, M. D. — Bulgarian psychotherapist, physiologist and educator.
38 years ago, in front of 20 experts commission from UNESCO, he proved that it is possible to teach 1000 words in french for one day to a group of people. According to Unesco and the Austrian Academy of Science suggestopedia is the most innovative methodology for accelerated learning. As his inventor says “Memorization in learning by the suggestopedic method seems to be accelerated 25 times over that in learning by conventional methods” (Lozanov, 1978).
Suggestopedic game — the method of hidden reserves
Whether it’s a child who learns algebra or an adult who learns a foreign language, the accelerated learning method is a continuous game. In suggestopedic game, everyone chooses a new identity — new name, abilities, friends, aims and desires — the only limit is your imagination. The new identity goes with a new image of self that goes with new faith and belief in your own possibilities. The game is always accompanied with a lot of emotions, and emotions are the language that half of our brain understands. This pedagogical game also helps to reach a new state of mind — relaxation in which the brain perceives information with ease — without experiencing fatigue, regardless of the large amount of information stimuli that it is exposed to.
Suggestopedic game uses artistic means — theater, dance, music, photography, pictures and means of classical art for “fouling” of memory material. Research on the brain shows the positive influence of art on our intellectual activity. Art as form of communication requires not only understanding, as in scientific subject matters, but also the experience of the perceiver. It acts on us with its aesthetic form and content. Most often, when in contact with art, one feels pleasure and spiritual growth. One satisfies his need of aesthetic delight. Vivaldi’s operas, Mozart’s symphonies, as well as Bach’s, Brahms’ and Tchaikovsky’s not only create an atmosphere conducive to the perception, memorizing and understanding of knowledge, but also significantly increase our motivation.
The human person participates in any communicative process both on conscious and unconscious levels. Much of the information our brain perceives and processes each minute is unconscious. For example, when we converse with somebody, we communicate consciously, as we perceive the meaning of the words. But this is only a small part of the information that the brain absorbs — intonation of the spoken words, pauses between them, gestures and facial expressions of the speaker, the background behind the speaker, the color of its blouse…There is hundred of thousands of data signals our brain is registering during this communication.
Only the human eye can absorb ten million bits of information per second. Imagine that from that amount, only 40 bits reach our consciousness. But, it turns out that unconscious perception of information is much more volume controlled by conscious thinking and learning. Through various techniques, suggestopedia teach how this unconsciously perceived information spontaneously become conscious — how to activate and use it, according to your needs and motivational desires.
Suggestopedia learning breaks two stereotypes.
The first stereotype suggestopedia breaks is that learning requires a lot of effort. With suggestopedic training effort is always without forcing. Because of the psychophysiological bias that there is no case in which the brain works only with the left or the right hemisphere, the information regarding the new topic is taught as a structure that speaks to the whole brain — not only to the rational-thinking part, but also to the emotional and motivational one. The personality of the learner is always a whole. In learning a foreign language, for example, not only one area of the brain is activated — the whole person is involved. Simultaneously, the logical and emotional factors are activated. The application of that principle in meta-reading course is that behind your personal choice to read a book, there must be a concrete desire, longing — to enrich your general culture for example or to develop a new skill, to take an important exam, to enjoy the narrative of a story … Positively formulated measurable desires relative to personal status are like espresso to the human brain — they activate both hemispheres and the brain starts quickly and gently to absorb the necessary information.
The second stereotype that suggestopedia breaks is that repetition is the key to learning. It turns out that monotonous, dry repetition most often leads to boredom, fatigue and negative attitude towards learning. It discourages you and often results in slowing down the learning process, instead of accelerating it.
Another important factor that slows down the learning process is linear teaching — teaching piece by piece, without regards to the whole. Again, analytical and synthetic activity in our main brain is performed simultaneously. The psychological expression of this simultaneity underlies also the base for learning and knowledge which is from the general to the particular. In simple terms, when the brain absorbs new information, it first looks to see the big picture, the whole, and then returns to the elements and different parts. In training, attention must never be detached from the whole. Presentation of information piece by piece only requires alertness associated with short-term memory where the potential is very limited. There applies the law of Miller — the human brain can consciously perceive seven plus or minus two pieces of information simultaneously. For example, if you try to dictate to someone a 10 digit unfamiliar phone number, as separating each number with a pause, his brain will block for a few seconds. It is impossible to simultaneously remember ten separate informational units. However, if you tell your phone by grouping the information — in this case the numbers — in groups of 3 +1, you will allow and ease the stranger to remember the information.
Unlike normal reading, where we read word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, in meta-reading we first photo read the entire book pile. Then, using a variety of techniques we look for separate elements — keywords, paragraphs or chapters titles and spontaneously reach the unconscious amount of information.
In meta reading course I met with suggestopedia that gave me the keys that open doors in my brain — there exempt reserves of my memory, intellect, intuition and creativity. I met Ginger — she wants to write a bestseller and with the earned money make suggestopedic schools. They will be as Oscar Wild would describe them “the most beautiful place in every town — so beautiful that the disobedient child will be punished with a ban to go there.” Schools will not only be the most beautiful place in the city, they will be also the most interesting one. In math lessons we will sing operas in which we talk about numbers and math equation shall be solved with drawings. History lessons will be illustrated with art paintings and historical global issues will be played out with theatrical plays. As Professor Doctor Lozanov said “for whatever methodology was taught, such individuals are created.”
This article was originally published in Capital newspaper in bulgarian
references: Suggestology, Volume 2 of Psychic Studies, ISSN 0276–1610