The JUMP program is based on
that all children in the regular school system, even those diagnosed as
serious learning disabilities such as attention deficit disorders and
delays, can excel at math. Mathematics, rather than being the most
subject, is the subject in which children can most easily succeed (and
thereby develop the confidence and cognitive abilities they need to do
in other subjects).
Over the last fifteen years, John Mighton has gathered a great deal of
to support this belief. One of his first students, who was then in a
grade six class, is now doing his doctorate in math. Another remedial
who couldn't count by twos three years ago, recently completed academic
ten math a year ahead of her grade level.
At JUMP, we believe there are two main reasons why the majority of
struggle with math:
The JUMP program (which combines elements of the conceptual approach
in schools and a more rote, operations-based approach to math) was
to address both of these problems. Children are guided in extremely
steps at first, but as they acquire the confidence and focus that comes
constant success, they are led to discover mathematical principals for
through games, magic tricks, puzzles, manipulatives and "toy" models of
- The psychological dimension of teaching mathematics
is entirely negelected
in our schools. In a typical classroom, at least half of the students
they are not good at math. Children who don't believe they can succeed
never do so.
- The gap (in motivation and background knowledge)
the weakest and the strongest students makes the teaching of
in a classroom of twenty-five to thirty students close to impossible.
amount of effort spent training teachers and developing sophisticated
and activities will ever help the majority of students if the unequal
of knowledge among children is not taken into account.
We are convinced that new intellectual and mathematical abilities can
emerge suddenly and dramatically from a series of small conceptual
as a chemical solution can change colour with the addition of one drop
reagent. Over the past 4 years, JUMP tutors and instructors have
the same progression in hundreds of students: a surprising leap
followed by a period where the student appears to have reached the
of their abilities; then another tiny advance that precipitates another
The JUMP teaching method, which has been tested successfully with
of students, is based on the fact that virtually all of the concepts
by mathematicians can be reduced to extremely basic operations. In
with weaker students, a teacher/tutor can always break an operation
the student cannot fail to perform. This style of teaching need not be
indefinitely; even the most delayed student will eventually, in our
begin to skip steps and deduce explanations for themselves. But unless
teacher/tutor begins with extremely simple tasks, the majority of the
are not likely to develop the confidence they need to do well in math.
JUMP has shown that children learn better when they feel admired and
confident that they will not be allowed to fail. In a regular
only a fraction of the class usually receives a mark that is considered
good, while the majority inevitably convince themselves that the
they did badly in are too difficult or boring. JUMP teachers and tutors
receive the training and tutorial support they need to help their
students so that all children can flourish. Constant praise and
are integral parts of JUMP’s tutoring method.
The success of the JUMP program
in the details. To get a complete idea of how material is broken
steps and how concepts are introduced through "toy models", see the
Teaching Manual and The Myth of Ability. To learn more about
these books, please refer to our FAQs.