75 ACADEMIC Review English RalphWaldo Emerson hit the nail on the head when he said “If we encounter a man of intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” Developing a love – and an excellence – in the subtle and essential skills of reading and writing remains our toughest challenge with boys who are so very focused upon Maths and Science.While it is understandable given the national obsession, the cost is a loss of critical awareness in the power of language to transmit ideas. For the more you read, the more you read! We welcomed Jane Cur tiss and Jono Waldburger into the depar tment and their impact was felt immediately: Jono’s love of the classics and Jane’s deep technical knowledge have helped to refine our boys’ abilities. And this will be our focus in 2015: the boys can read and write – but they don’t do it with finesse and our results this year clearly demonstrated this inability. The CAPS syllabus requires not only that the boys know their texts, but demands a far deeper critical insight and ability to voice opinions.With limited time, our approach must now shift to the lower grades in order to develop these skills before the pressure of a matric syllabus. At the end of the year we bid farewell to Ronni Wallace and Rob Candotti, who between them, have given over 50 years of service to the College.This loss of exper tise will hit us hard and Jonathan Beaumont and Sam Mofekeng will have big shoes to fill. In five years we have lost four staff to retirement and Andy, Matt and myself feel a little shaken as we become the ‘old men’ of the depar tment. Dave Goldhawk reappeared to fill Jane’s classroom as she went on accouchement leave and it was a pleasure having Dave back in the classroom. Our language is complex: “all the faith that he had had had had no effect upon his life” is correct! A fat chance and a slim chance are in fact the same chance. Lackadaisical has nothing to do with flowers and a catastrophe is not an apostrophe with fur. How are we to develop vocabulary, grammar, insight, critical analysis and finesse? This will be our task in the coming year so that our boys are better able to give voice to enlightened ideas. So that they are better able to think spontaneously without the formulaic preparation of a worksheet. So they are able to negotiate and convince with compassion and awareness of the impact of their words. So that, ultimately, they can read the world around them. Vaughan Carlisle Artist: Grant Meyer grade 12 With grateful thanks to Grant Litster (1980)