Key Developers of Super Learning Techniques
In this article, we would have an overview of the evolvement of the theory and techniques of super learning techniques and through which we consider the transformation of original theory known as ‘Suggestopedia’. The term ‘Suggestopedia’ was coined by Dr.Georgi Lozanov (which was dealt in the first article) to denote its application to a combination of two functional terms, viz, suggestion and pedagogy. This was done to stress the importance of the roles of the educators to use methods of suggestions to make learning a fun, at the same time move them out of frontiers of self-limiting beliefs, and implant in to them a feeling of positiveness. This got changed to ‘Accelerated Learning’ in the USA partly by way of an answer to the countries cultural mindset and mainly to the adaptation; it underwent by subsequent developers whose contributions provided lot of food for thought in the areas of Multiple Intelligences, Adult Learning etc. These teaching approaches got assimilated and bundled into what we designate today as ‘Accelerated Learning Techniques”. The objective of this article is to explore the contributions of key developers who dedicated themselves into this field to make it as a professional are in the field of ‘Psychology of Education”. The International Alliance for Learning (IAL) of the US, (formerly Society of Acceleratative Learning, SALT) has been the front- runner in ushering of new ideas and concepts as it has been developing and this article we would specifically focus our attention on one such important development, viz, Super Learning Techniques.
2.0: Contribution of Marjorie Rosenberg:
There has been a continuing quest on the part of the teachers and researchers to probe into the motivations of learners to acquire mastery of their learning especially in acquiring language capabilities other than the ones from their mother tongue. This had in turn prompted authors like Marjorie Rosenberg to research the instincts of the learners in discovering the resources within themselves and apply them to learn a foreign language.
‘Super-learning techniques’ can be termed as the application part of the Suggestopedia discussed in the earlier paragraphs and its application in the schools, colleges was developed by Donald Schuster and Charles Grifton (1986) which acquired the name of Accelerative Learning Techniques. The concept besides has extended itself by bringing under its fold the scholarly works of Stephen Kristen, (Second Language Acquisition), James Asher’s Total Physical Response and Nuero-linguistic Programme (NLP) and Sensory Activity (and) Processing models of Richard Bundler and John Grindler respectively. In a nutshell, the theory states that ‘super-learning’ is characterized by specific phases which get formed into a cycle.
2.1: Description of the phases:
The preparatory phase serves as a link between the learners’ atmosphere prevailing in the outside world and the learning environment in the class room. This can be in any form ranging from warm-up to activation represented by games or music. The important point to be noted is that it should not be mistaken with such exaggerated statements as the students would have to lie down on the floor to listen to irregular beats of music or dissipate expressions of art/culture. Alternatively, practicing few numbers of vocabulary words in a relaxed state of mind. This has something to do with getting psychologically prepared to the next stage of learning in order to make them purposefully comfortable and may include any of the above in a balanced manner. It is an exercise which involves the use of both the sides of the brain and stimulate the learners to use both of them inspite of the fact that such usage may appear strange and unconnected. In a rigorous form, this is considered as obtaining the permission from the students of a group which according to Michael Grinder (1991) is necessary if the teacher has to communicate successfully with the student and in simple terms, it is the connection of the enjoyment with learning. In the process, active listening is promoted through a number of creative and fun loving methods where the learners are not discouraged in making mistakes.
In this phase, the actual material is given to the students with background music and the aim of this phase is to encourage the students to think in the target language. It is on the left side of the page whereas the translation is provided in the right side of the page with a view to enable them to refer to it when they do not understand any word. The vocabulary words are given in bold type.
Normally, three types of activities are performed in this stage. The comprehension could be tested, tasks could be assigned to the students relating to the contents, or the teacher can invite questions from the students themselves. Both vocabulary and grammar can be dealt under the decoding process.
Practice and Activation:
This is the phase wherein the transfer of knowledge takes place from the teachers to the students and hence the longest one. They generally assume the forms of dialogue and once the presentation is completed by the teacher, the student resorts to reading the text aloud. .This phase also extends itself into creative writing, role plays, and collaborative communications among the learners. Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory comes into predominant play as kinesthetic and other intelligences of the learners are tapped and applied. It is considered the longest due to its consuming about 80% of the super-learning cycle.
In this phase, under a background of soothing and relaxing music, the teacher reads out an equally relaxing text which the students listen in a relaxed stated of mind by closing their eyes. It is in this phase, the Baroque music is played with an intention to review what has been read. Tnis phase comes at the end of the lesson. In effect, super-learning has got something to do with the optimal utilization of both the parts of the brain which forms fundamental to any learning. It also amalgamates innumerable developments taking place around the various parts of the globe so that the students get the best out of each one theme.
3.2: Contributions of Rose Ostrander et al;
Rose and Nicholl (1997,2000) advocated super learning techniques to gear the future generation to raise up the fast changing demands of learning on the count that the 21st century would witness a growing scientific development and needs a corresponding scientifically literate society. The earlier works of Rose (1987) stresses the fact that the past method of learning which involved concentration and repetition is not efficient on account of its engagement of only one part of the brain. They further suggested that super learning is a method which works towards freeing of the following in the process of learning: They had also prominently advocated the 8-second cycle which is equillent to a breathing technique in yoga:
1 Being aware of an existence of a block and the removal of the same
2. Does such a learning fulfill a need and if not seek alternate means of learning to fulfill the need
3. Break the limiting memory block and without being judgmental implanting into one’s mind a positive pattern of affirmation through any of the Multiple Intelligence Principles of Howard Gardner
4. Expect results gradually eschewing over-night dramatic changes
3.3: Other key contributors and contributions:
The developments in the field have been so rapid that it may be difficult to capture everything in an article of this nature. Nevertheless, we have to mention some of the interesting developments in the filed and leave it to the curiosity of the readers to explore what they think suitable and appropriate for themselves. Jane’s Bancroft’s Book on ‘Suggestopedia’ is one such interesting work which provides lots of useful material for generation and application of ideas especially in trying to expand the thinking of Lozanov. The book explores in detail the role of rhythm in the learning process and expounds further of the belief of Lozanov treating it as one of an auto suggestive component of yoga techniques. His genius lies in isolating and treating it as a reserve that could be tapped for learning. .Rhythm further affects the body and mind and it is observed that when the Non-specific Mental Reactivity (N.M.R.) is applied, we can feel the unconscious/involuntary tapping of our foot to music. The baroque music contributes the rhythm and rhythm is nothing but a yogic way of breathing. Mentally focusing on any rhythm, internally or externally, would automatically influence the internal rhythm Thus an unconscious average learner is induced into pranayamic yogic breathing and this in fact was proved to be true by Schuster who had consciously counting the 8 second cycle mentioned earlier..
In non-technical terms, super-learning could be applied to any learning and teaching situation to improve the quantity as well as the quality of education. It strives to provide a stress free environment which makes learning an enjoyable experience for the learners and incorporates such yogic techniques having superior values even without the learners being conscious of it leave alone learning it.. Music has an innate nature to sooth the nerves and improves the mental focus. Since the super learning techniques are based on simple technology it can be cost-effective and would ideally suit the developing countries in ensuring quality learning to the future generation.
References and Suggested Readings:
Bancofet, W. Jane (1999): Suggestopedia and Language Acquisition, New York, Gordon and Breach
Baudonin, Charles (1920): Suggestion and Autosuggestion, London, George Allen & Unwin Ltd.
Ostrander, S, Schroeder, L, and Ostrander, N (1980): Super learning, New York, Dell
Donald Schuster & Charles Gritton (1986): Teaching for Two-Sided Mind
James J Asher, (1977): Learning Another Language Through Actions, Sky Oakes Publications.
Michael Grinder, (1991): Righting the Educational Conveyor Belt, Metamorphous Press, 1991.
Ostrander, S, Schroeder L, Ostrander, N, (994): Super learning 2000, New York, Delacorte Press
Rose, Colin (1985): Accelerated Learning; Great Britain,
Schuster, D.H., And Gritton, C.E. (1986): Suggestive-accelerative learning techniques, New York, Gordon, and Breach
Stephen D. Kristen (1987): Principles and practice in Second Language Acquisition, Prentice Hall, Accelerated Learning Systems Ltd
 Marjorie Rosenberg is an instructor of English at the Pädagogische Akademie des Bundes in der Steiermark. Marjorie also works as a free-lance language trainer for various companies and for the state government of Styria, Austria and a free-lance NLP trainer for both teachers and business people.
Key Developers of Super Learning Techniques page reviewed March 2016