School Seminars and Colloquia

The Myth of Ability


by John Mighton

Institution: creator of the JUMP (Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies) project in Canada
Date: Mon 23rd May 2005
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: Theatre A, Elisabeth Murdoch, The University of Melbourne

Abstract: The International Centre of Excellence for Education in Mathematics (ICE-EM) and the University of Melbourne Department of Mathematics and Statistics are sponsoring a free public lecture with John Mighton, creator of the JUMP (Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies) project in Canada and author of the best-selling book, The Myth of Ability: Nurturing Mathematical Talent in Every Child.

Abstract: It is a common perception in Australian society that you either have an aptitude for mathematics or you don’t. As a result, children who start to struggle and fall behind in mathematics classes often feel that they’re no good at mathematics and never will be. John Mighton reveals that even students who can’t do much beyond simple counting can become confident at mathematics. His idea is simple, brilliant and deeply unorthodox. He realised students were failing in a conventional classroom situation because they often perceived themselves as being no good at mathematics and stopped trying. So he started a volunteer teaching program, which he named JUMP (Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies). He persuaded some friends to volunteer as tutors for primary school students. Many of the tutors themselves had struggled with mathematics. When they began applying Mighton’s teaching principles, what they found astonished them all.

About the speaker: Awarded an NSERC fellowship for research in mathematics at the Fields Institute, John Mighton has taught at McMaster and the University of Toronto. He is also a Governor General's Award-winning playwright and appeared in the Academy Award-winning film Good Will Hunting. He lives in Toronto. His groundbreaking book The Myth of Ability was first published in Canada, where it has been a runaway success. It will be on sale at the lecture—paperback $23.00.

For More Information: Parking is available on University grounds for $4 per car. Please alert your local school and invite friends who may be interested. See for more information. Print out the flyer from the web, or contact Edwena Dixon at 8344 1777 for a copy.