The History of Suggestopedia

The History of Suggestopedia is an abridged text by Ms. Vanina Bodurova presented on the official website of Prof. Dr. Georgi Lozanov and Prof. Dr. Evelina Gateva Foundation

We are thankful to Ms. Bodurova for the responsiveness and consent to use her material as well as for the caring support in our joint aspiration to promote Dr. Lozanov’s legacy.

The term Suggestopedia was coined first in Bulgarian in 1966 in Dr. Lozanov’s article “Suggestology  – the road to hypermnesia in the learning process. Methodology of Suggestopedia” in the People‘s Education magazine, issue 6.

A year later, at the International Week of Psychosomatic Medicine in Rome, Italy, Dr. Lozanov presented the same term in English – Suggestopedia. The opening pages of his monography and Ph.D. dissertation “Suggestology”, c.1971 introduce the following quotes:

Paracelsus: “Being unfamiliar with a science, no one has the right to deny it.”,  Labyrinthus Medicorum

I.P.Pavlov: “Suggestion is the most common and typical conditioned reflex of the human being.”, Full Works, Volume 4, p.429

Dr. Lozanov’s scientific research was focused on suggestion as a communicative factor. One of his basic principles and approaches was Pavlov’s so-called “Mr. Fact” – each statement to be supported by a factual material.

In the beginning of his research on suggestion, Dr. Lozanov carried out a series of experiments including hypnosis. By 1966, and even today in some cases, the scientific understanding of the term suggestion refers to two variations of a psychotherapeutic healing approach: clinical suggestion which leads to hypnosis and clinical suggestion without hypnosis. However, in 1965 Dr. Lozanov demonstrated that the same phenomena observed in a state of hypnosis can occur in conditions of organized suggestion in a fully awaken state.

The demonstration represented a 50-minute bloodless and painless operation without anesthesia of an inguinal hernia.

The Bulgarian Telegraph Agency disseminated the news around the world.

In 1966, Dr. Lozanov made an experiment for memorizing 1,000 French words in a day by a group of adults, thus proving the unlimited mnemonic abilities of human personality and their utilization under suggestive conditions in awaken state.

From that moment on, the science no one could deny followed a lengthy path of experimentation supported by the Bulgarian government and Lyudmila Zhivkova in particular. In 1966, the Research and Development Institute of Suggestology was founded to explore suggestion-induced phenomena including those related to parapsychology.  Prominent Bulgarian scholars were on the Institute Academic Board.

Suggestopedia was created as an experimental branch of Suggestology for pedagogical implementation. Textbook development commenced, mainly in foreign language learning, so that memorization research could be facilitated and further creating new language would be measured.

1970/1971 – a 10th grade group was taught all subjects using the Suggestopedia method in the Institute of Suggestology.

1970  – a group of 8 Bulgarian scholars assessed Suggestopedia as a psychotherapeutic and psycho-hygienic method of for training and healing.

1971  – an experimental classical music program was introduced in adult and young learners’ foreign language teaching as a means of positive suggestion.

1972/1973 – The first Suggestopedic school in Sofia, 122nd School “Hristo Karpachev”, started implementing the Suggestopedia method from the 1st grade.

1973 – A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Republic of Austria and the People’s Republic of Bulgaria for starting a long-term methodological experiment in Vienna Pedagogical Academy.

1975 – Children’s operas for learning mathematics were created by Evelina Gateva under the guidance of Dr. Lozanov.

1976 – A version of an Italian suggestopedical textbook was developed by Evelina Gateva which fully complied with suggestology implementation. All foreign language textbooks published by the Institute of Suggestology were formatted according to it. The culture of the target language country began to be largely emphasized.

1975/1976 – 16 schools in Bulgaria started implementing Suggestopedia methodology from the 1st grade.

1978 – UNESCO international commission researched the methodology and the stated its appropriacy for first-rate training in multiple subjects and with various age groups.

1980 – Dr. Lozanov was detained on the border and restrained from an international scientific exchange.

1981 – A practical Suggestopedia handbook was published in Bulgarian by Dr. Lozanov and Evelina Gateva.

1982Globalized Artistic Construction of the Suggestopedic Learning Process was published by Evelina Gateva.

1984 – Dr. Lozanov was dismissed as a Director of the Suggestology Research Institute. All work on Suggestopedia and Suggestology carried out under his guidance was stopped.

1985 – A Centre for Suggestology and Personality Development was founded as Sofia University affiliate.

1987 – Supported by the Stiftelsen Foundation from Sweden, the first classical Suggestopedia seminars and teacher trainings were organized after the 1980 restrictions.

1989 – Dr. Lozanov and Dr. Gateva visited Moscow and Tokyo to demonstrate the new Desuggestive trend of the methodology. Moscow University enthusiastically applauded the brilliant presentation of Dr. Evelina Gateva.

1990 – International Suggestopedia Conference in Salzburg, Austria, organized by the Stiftelsen Foundation, Sweden. The 1990s witnessed busy international activity by Dr. Lozanov who disseminated Suggestopedia ideas. Despite some organizations who diverted from the basic theoretical and practical principles, the authentic version of classical Suggestopedia is preserved.

1993 – Dr. Lozanov and Dr. Gateva founded and worked in a De-Suggestology Centre in Victorsberg, Austria, targeting international language teachers’ training.

1997 (14.09) – Doctor Evelina Gateva passed away.

1998-2008 – Dr. Lozanov trained teachers from all around the world who came to Vienna, Austria, inspired by the methodology.

2006 – LITA Lozanov International Trainers Association was founded and registered in Norway.

2010 – Professor Doctor Georgi Lozanov and Professor Doctor Evelina Gateva Foundation, a non-profit NGO, was founded and registered in Sofia, Bulgaria. Shortly after, a Suggestopedic School “Science and Art in One” was created in Sliven, Bulgaria, which became a world-known Suggestopedia teacher training center.

2010 – International Scientific Suggestopedia Conference was organized by Dr. Lozanov’s Foundation. It was held in Sliven, Bulgaria, and gathered representatives of the various trends originating from Dr. Lozanov’s ideas. Dr. Lozanov’s ideas awareness was raised in Bulgaria and teacher training gained momentum.

2010 – Experimental program on School Suggestopedia was started in Varna, Bulgaria.

2012 (6.05)  – Dr. Lozanov passed away.

His legacy is being developed now by the teachers and scholars who follow the authentic system of Classical Suggestopedia.

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