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The End of Ignorance: Multiplying Our Human Potential [Paperback]

John Mighton

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Book Description

12 Aug 2008
A revolutionary call for a new understanding of how people learn.

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.

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.

John Mighton, the author of The Myth of Ability, is the founder of JUMP Math, a system of learning based on the fostering of emergent intelligence. The program has proved so successful an entire class of Grade 3 students, including so-called slow learners, scored over 90% on a Grade 6 math test. A group of British children who had effectively been written off as too unruly responded so enthusiastically and had such impressive results using the JUMP method that the school board has adopted the program. 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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The right direction 10 Nov 2009
By Eugene Spanier - Published on
As a teacher of language I found this book by a math PhD to be enlightening and inspiring. Mighton (who has also published two plays), approaches teaching from a connections perspective i.e. how can we effectively engage students and draw their attention to concepts and exercises that they will eventually find fascinating. As a teacher, Mighton shares his challenges, failures and successes in a frank and reflective style. Easily on par with and perhaps better -considering his insights with respect to recent research- than any book I encountered in professional teaching certification and qualification programs.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Provides needed and inspiring perspective on math education 16 April 2012
By Morsel - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a parent with young children, I became aware of John Mighton's work through a New York Times article on math education. When my 7 year old daughter came home one day with a math work sheet, she announced, "I don't have to get the right answers, I just have to understand why it works," something didn't quite smell right (I told her that it wasn't a question of either/or but both).

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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars extremely helpful. this book really changed my ideas on how to teach math. 5 July 2011
By C. Ternoey - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
i just recommended this book to my sister via email.
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring read 4 Aug 2013
By beejaybee - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
John Mighton is a kindred spirit. Proclaiming that we are not very good at math should be as mortifying as proclaiming illiteracy. Being an accomplished mathematician does not require great genius but it does require persistence and teachers who have at their fingertips materials which "go back several grade levels for students who have forgotten material or who didn't learn it properly in the first place."

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.
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