There are several core beliefs at the foundation of the JUMP Math philosophy:
- New intellectual abilities can emerge suddenly in even the most challenged student from a series of small advances, just as a chemical solution can change colour with the addition of a single drop of reagent. More than any other subject, math is a tool for adding, in a methodical and effective way, the drops of knowledge that will transform a student.
- This non-linear potential can only be nurtured if students are confident and attentive. Teachers must pay attention to the psychology of the classroom to make sure that everyone is included, involved and participating, and supported with responsive instruction, praise and encouragement. Children who don't believe they can succeed will never do so. The JUMP Math approach starts with a confidence building exercise that has demonstrably changed children's perceptions of their abilities.
- By adopting the methods and principles of JUMP Math, schools can teach mathematics to a higher standard, without leaving students behind, and in a cost-effective manner.
- There will always be differences between students, but we don’t need to exaggerate or highlight them by setting up unnecessary hierarchies. By using materials and methods that minimize differences, teachers can cover more of the curriculum and can narrow or close the wide gap in student performance that exists in most classrooms.
- Teachers will only succeed in helping all levels of student when they know how to determine what their students know, how to reduce concepts into the most basic elements of perception and understanding, and how to extend ideas in a way that is engaging while taking into account the student's readiness to move forward.
The End of Ignorance
A passionate examination of our present education system, The End of Ignorance shows how we all can work together to reinvent the way that we are taught.
The End of Ignorance conceives of a world in which no child is left behind – a world based on the assumption that each child has the potential to be successful in every subject. John Mighton argues that by recognizing the barriers that we have experienced in our own educational development, by identifying the moment that we became disenchanted with a certain subject and forever closed ourselves off to it, we will be able to eliminate these same barriers from standing in the way of our children.
John Mighton is the founder of JUMP Math, a system of learning based on the fostering of emergent intelligence. Inspired by the work he has done with thousands of students, Mighton shows us why we must not underestimate how much ground can be covered one small step at a time, and challenges us to re-examine the assumptions underlying current educational theory. He pays attention to how kids pay attention, chronicles what captures their imaginations, and explains why their sense of self-confidence and ability to focus are as important to their academic success at school as the content of their lessons.
"In this profoundly optimistic work, John Mighton shows what can be achieved by combining an understanding of the developing brain's plasticity with an awareness of the complex needs of young learners. The End of Ignorance has far-reaching implications for what modern societies should do to promote human development." — Dr. Clyde Hertzman, Director, Human Early Learning Partnership
"In The End of Ignorance, John Mighton has brilliantly told the story of how JUMP affects learning in mathematics in the early years." — Dr. J. Fraser Mustard, founding president and fellow, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
To order The End of Ignorance ($19.95, ISBN 978-0-676-97964-0), please visit Random House.
The Myth of Ability
The Myth of Ability: Nurturing Mathematical Talent in Every Child explores his work and teaching approach, as well as the development of the JUMP Math program.
"Parents whose children are struggling with math will welcome this accessible, anecdotal account of a charitable tutoring program called JUMP (Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies) founded by Canadian author Mighton (A Short History of Night) and currently serving elementary-level students in the Toronto area. Taking an upbeat approach, Mighton argues that we’re all born capable of learning anything. In part one, he explains how, as a young playwright in need of extra work, he got involved in math tutoring and was dismayed by traditional teaching methods. Part two of the JUMP approach gives specific problem-solving examples on such topics as fractions, multiplication and division, ratios and percents, and logic. The emphasis is on providing a support system and building the student’s confidence and self-esteem."