Music, Father Brown and phonics teaching

As a boy, I often enjoyed reading G.K.Chesterton’s Father Brown’s stories. So, when I noticed there was a programme on Radio 4 on Tuesday entitled ‘Scoring Father Brown’, I decided to tune in to listen to what it was all about.

According to the trail on the Radio 4 website, the programme was about ‘a unique exploration of the world of writing music for film and television’. However, what really got my undivided attention was when Professor Eric Clarke of the Faculty of Music at Oxford University came on to contribute to the idea of how important it is for what the viewer is seeing, a television series based on the Father Brown stories, to be in harmony with what they are hearing, the accompanying music to the series.
What he said articulated perfectly Sounds-Write’s thinking on how we should be teaching phonics’, i.e. through the medium of a multi-sensory approach, and you can read his words verbatim below:

“Human beings are basically multi-sensory animals and we are used to encountering the world in the full richness of sight and sound and smell and touch and movement and all of those things. So, purely auditory information in the absence of the visual or the visual in the absence of the auditory is something that we are not biologically programmed for. So, there must at root be a strong inclination to receive information from the world in these various modalities together. This allows for some very powerful relationships between the visual and the auditory, most obviously of course when they are congruent with one another, so when what we are seeing is supported and confirmed and elaborated upon and by what we hear.”

So, what we see, as we turn each spelling into a sound inside our heads, blending them together to make recognisable words, should correspond to what we hear; and, by the same token, what we hear should, when we’re writing a word, correspond to what we see.

Well taught, that’s the beauty of good quality phonics teaching!

Thanks to admiral.ironbombs here for the image.