January 2020 Volume 16

The Spirit of Clovelly Park – Learning and Teaching at Kingston College

Staff reporter KC Times
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Frances Coke, who taught at KC mainly in the 1970s has just published The Spirit of Clovelly Park – Learning and teaching at Kingston College, a book about her experiences as a teacher at KC. 

According to former quiz team member and President of UTECH Stephen Vasciannie, “Mrs. Coke is at the heart of the KC quiz programme and was influential, no, profoundly influential in shaping the lives and values of many KC boys who have contributed substantially to Jamaica and beyond.”

Professor Elsa Leo-Rhynie wrote in the book’s foreword: “This book should appeal to a very wide audience: the KC “Fortis” community, parents, and aspiring, current, and former teachers in all schools. The chapters on Schools’ Challenge Quiz in particular should be required reading, analysis, and discussion for teacher trainees.”

The Spirit of Clovelly Park provides a peek into the heart and mind of a young Jamaican woman who struggles through her initial reluctance and makes her way into a world of boisterous teenage boys less interested in reading than in sports. She opens their minds to the power of words and the rewards to be gained from committing themselves to personal development and the pursuit of knowledge.

Weaving in vignettes from her own schooling and upbringing, Frances-Marie Coke skillfully pinpoints the interplay between the school experiences of her boys and the contradictions in their society during a period of turbulence and transformation in Jamaica.

This memoir will raise eyebrows while eliciting frowns, chuckles and warm reflections about school life. It will raise questions about education, adolescent boys, career choices and teacher preparation. It illustrates the outcomes that can be achieved when teachers care enough to learn and grow into new roles that enable them to meet the needs of students and convert possibilities into reality. Discerning teachers, shapers of education policy, and students in teacher training will benefit from the lessons to be learned from this engaging and inspiring memoir.

Mrs.  Coke taught at KC from 1970 to 1980, with a couple of study leave breaks. She was known Miss Phillips back then before her name change when she married an old boy, Dickie Coke.

She taught English language and literature from third form to sixth form and General Paper to sixth formers.

She was also involved in many extra-curricular activities, Schools' Challenge Quiz being the most notable. As coach, she led KC to victory in 1974 (first time for the College), 1975, and 1977.

The book is now available at the following websites:

iUniverse (the publishers):


($20.99; ebook $10.99).



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