REVIEW: "The End of Ignorance", John Mighton
- BKENDIGN.RVW 20090820
"The End of Ignorance", John Mighton, 2007, 978-0-676-97962-6, C$29.95
%A John Mighton http://jumpmath.org/ John.Mighton@...
%C 201 E. 50th St., New York, NY 10022
%G 978-0-676-97962-6 0-676-97964-5
%O C$29.95 212-572-2103 800-733-3000
%O Audience n- Tech 1 Writing 1 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
%P 312 p.
%T "The End of Ignorance"
After I finished reviewing the book, someone asked what the title
meant. I'm not quite sure, since, on pages two and three, Mighton
talks of "destructive" ignorance and "redeeming" ignorance.
Presumably he only wants to end the destructive ignorance, but that is
never made clear. There is a lot in the book that isn't clear, and
there is a lot that is contradictory.
Essentially, the book is a long promotional piece selling the virtues
of the author's JUMP (Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies) math
tutoring and lesson program. There is a short appendix which lists
the tenets of the program. These would appear to be fairly standard
beliefs in the educational world: education is built on the
aggregation of a number of skills, it's better to be positive,
teachers can't teach what they don't understand, you need lessons and
assignments, teaching relies on task analysis, education is a mix of
group and individual work, and you need to assess students. Yet
Mighton seems to think that these are new things he has discovered
which the rest of the world has yet to learn.
Well, not quite: this is one of the aspects where some passages in the
book contradict others. The author admits that these factors in
education are widely understood, but he seems to think that his
program is the only one which follows these concepts. Or maybe not.
For example, there is "discovery learning." Some parts of the book
say that discovery learning is overblown. Others say that JUMP math
is discovery learning.
While there is a great deal of interesting esoterica in the book
(although the author seems to have misunderstood or is willfully
misrepresenting emergent properties), there isn't a lot of structure.
The chapters do not seem to have consistent themes, and the book, as a
whole, does not present coherent arguments. There are some examples
of lessons in the addition of fractions, and binary arithmetic, which
could be quite useful in teaching those units. However, there is an
awful lot of whiny complaint about the lack of acceptance, on the part
of school boards, of the author's math program.
Pretty much all of chapter eight says that everything that you read in
the way of educational theory and research is wrong. There are two
major points to Mighton's argument on this issue. One is that a lot
of trained educators don't use, and even oppose the use of, JUMP math.
The second part of the/his argument is that many papers written by
trained educators and researchers display grammatical errors.
As a description of a process for building effective units and
lessons, this book is incomplete and unhelpful. As a sales pitch for
JUMP math, it is unconvincing.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 2009 BKENDIGN.RVW 20090820
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I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the
conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right - Albert Einstein