The Evolution of Accelerative Learning
from Lozanov to the present
So many different versions of Suggestopedia exist that it is difficult to arrive at a description of its structure which would cover all possible variations. A number of adaptations are known around the world today such as Superlearning, SALT (Suggestive Accelerative Learning and Teaching), Psychopädie, LIND (Learning in New Dimensions), Optimalearning and Holistic Learning. Elements have been included or omitted over the years, some according to sound research findings, some simply at a personal whim or more often for better commercial viability. This has resulted in confusion about the exact structure and content of a suggestopedic course.
When interpreting research results, it is important to know precisely what form of experimental treatment was used, since the inclusion of visualisation techniques (SALT) or synchronised breathing (Superlearning), for example, may have an effect not otherwise associated with Suggestopedia. Unfortunately not all studies give a detailed description of the treatment used. Furthermore, terms, especially Superlearning and Suggestopedia, tend to be used as synonyms even though there exist clear distinctions between the two approaches.
One important element missing in the research is a precise description of the evolution of Suggestopedia since its inception by Lozanov in the 1960s to the present day. Bancroft (1978a,b), Gassner-Roberts (1986a,1986b) and Strudel (1986) point out different versions of Suggestopedia and Bayuk (1983) discusses the possible dangers involved in the confusion of one method with another. Although both Baur (1980) and Philipov (1981) refer to early and later versions of Suggestopedia, neither elaborates further.
The aim of this chapter is to present an analysis of the changes that have been made, as well as to provide a detailed description of three versions of Suggestopedia referred to in the literature. These are the two major versions Superlearning and SALT, both North American adaptations, and Psychopädie, a European version. We will endeavour to isolate distinguishing elements between these versions and Lozanov's Suggestopedia, highlight individual contributions in terms of innovation, discuss these in the light of the relevant research and finally, determine whether or not these constitute a beneficial contribution to Suggestopedia.