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The End of Ignorance: Multiplying Our Human Potential Paperback – Aug 12 2008
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"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
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
John Mighton is a mathematician and the founder of JUMP Math – a system he developed for teaching and learning math. He is also an award-winning author and playwright. His first book, The Myth of Ability: Nurturing Mathematical Talent in Every Child, was a national bestseller. He lives in Toronto.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Though it is unglamorous, the method of breaking down mathematical algorithms into the smallest steps, practising until mastery is achieved, then incrementally increasing the level of difficulty of these steps (Mighton calls it "raising the bar") is the ONLY way to produce expertise in our students. This teaching method is universally accepted in areas such as sports and music, but for some reason academic endeavour has been treated differently. The proliferation and propagation of teaching methods that are at best inefficient and at worst ineffective and demoralizing for the student has rendered the present generation mathematically illiterate. This is not reassuring in an era of a globalized technological economy.
I can only hope that more administrators and public servants in Ontario will read this book, and rescue our Mathematics curriculum before it is too late.
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After reading Mighton's book, I felt the scales fall from my eyes. The historial and cultural perspective he brings to the table along with insight into ideological differences that drive curriculum decisions were fascinating.
I did my own research and discovered that in Seattle where we live, the school board had approved Everyday Math despite what paid advisors recommended -- and that Everyday Math is about "conceptual learning". I also learned anecdotally that many teachers here do not strictly teach Everyday Math and supplement it with their own materials. Many parents, especially the socioeconomically advantaged ones, pay for tutors and Kumon math type of support for their kids. So the data around our math scores is profoundly dirty. I later tried to find research, with clean data, about Everyday Math and felt entirely frustrated not to find it (still looking).
Mighton's book is a must read and an essential conversation starter for parents, teachers and education policy people alike. I'm grateful it was published.
Mighton's sense of raising the bar on society (as well as his students) is a breath of fresh air. As he points out, the fact that someone is willing to say at a cocktail party, "I was never very good at math" but not "I was never very good at reading" is telling.
I think that our ability not only to produce great scientists and mathematicians but also to produce a math-literate society who will support these endeavors depends on math curriculum choices we make. And it should be empirically proven that methodologies work, across the board. Whether it turns out the John Mighton's JUMP method is better than other methods will be a matter for people to simply look at the results, as measured in a scientific way. The initial data is very promising and I hope that other methods are equally willing to put their own claimed efficacy under a microscope.
here is the text of my email to her about this book...
i just want to recommend john mighton to you as an author.
i recently read "the end of ignorance" and this book has really changed my view of how (and also why) to teach math.
for example,... i was recently having a walk with [my daughter] and said...
"do you know how to add 30 plus 40? its not that hard. you just take those zeros off and throw them away.
then your left with 3+4, which is easy? yes, 7, thats right. well,.... now put a zero back and its 70, right?
so then 30 + 40 must be 70"
the book does not directly recommend such a way of teaching addition.
but i feel this was in the spirit of the philosophy that the book presents.
the general idea is that it is good to teach simple tricks for helping children get to the answers of math problems.
they will become proud that they know how to do something "hard".
then they will eventually ponder these rules and come to understand why they work in a later stage.
and teachers should encourage them to do that pondering at some time but not urgently.
(for a more radical example,... consider that he [sometimes] teaches children how to add fractions
without knowing what they mean except that they are two numbers with a line in between)
anyway,.... i felt i already had a natural intuition for how to teach mathematics.
however,... my views have changed a lot since reading that book.
give it a try if you can.
JUMP math is a noble and thorough effort to educate lower school teachers who may not be comfortable teaching mathematics, backfill the gaps in the knowledge of our math students, and save future generations from poorly taught courses. The End of Ignorance gives credible support for the idea that every student can learn mathematics and it offers perspective on some of the stumbling blocks within our current educational system.