# The Myth of Ability

## Nurturing Mathematical Talent in Every Child

Book - 2003
Publisher:
Toronto : House of Anansi Press, 2003

ISBN:
9780887846939

0887846939

0887846939

Branch Call Number:
PC 372.7 Mig

Characteristics:
209 p. : ill

## Comment

Add a CommentJUMP, for Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies, is the program that John Mighton developed to teach mathematics to children from Grade 1 to Grade 8. The key to the JUMP method would seem to be to break up a task, like the addition of fractions with different denominators, into the most basic steps, so that even the weakest students can solve it. In this case, as in others, the child is taught to count to the right answer. For example, if the fractions have denominators of 4 and 6, the child counts up by sixes: 6, 12,18…stopping at 12, since it is the smallest number in the sequence into which 4 divides evenly and so is the lowest common denominator.

The JUMP method would seem to rely on the use of teaching assistants in the classroom; Ontario schools today aren’t currently set up for them. This would seem to create organizational and budget challenges that Mighton simply skates around.

One wonders whether the careful steps of the JUMP method, so helpful for the slow learner, might not be boring and tedious for the gifted child. Mighton seems to be implicitly opposed to any form of streaming in classrooms, without explicitly mentioning it, but one really wonders if a higher stream of students shouldn’t be taught in a different way from a lower stream.

For me, one of the most interesting passages in the book was tangential to its main subject. Mighton talks about how Sylvia Plath had taught herself to write poetry through sheer hard work and tenacity, and how, inspired by her example, he turned himself into a playwright and won a Governor General’s Award for drama.