The Myth of Ability Nurturing Mathematical Talent in Every Child

John Mighton

Walker Books




216 Pages


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For decades teachers and parents have accepted the judgment that some students just aren't good at math. John Mighton—the founder of a revolutionary math program designed to help failing math students—feels that not only is this wrong, but that it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

A pioneering educator, Mighton realized several years ago that children were failing math because they had come to believe they were not good at it. Once students lost confidence in their math skills and fell behind, it was very difficult for them to catch up, particularly in the classroom. He knew this from experience, because he had once failed math himself.

Using the premise that anyone can learn math and anyone can teach it, Mighton's unique teaching method isolates and describes concepts so clearly that students of all skill levels can understand them. Rather than fearing failure, students learn from and build on their own successes and gain the confidence and self-esteem they need to be inspired to learn. Mighton's methods, set forth in The Myth of Ability and implemented in hundreds of Canadian schools, have had astonishing results: Not only have they helped children overcome their fear of math, but the resulting confidence has led to improved reading and motor skills as well.

The Myth of Ability will transform the way teachers and parents look at the teaching of mathematics and, by extension, the entire process of education.


Praise for The Myth of Ability

"This is one of the most exciting books about education I've read in a long time. You believe John Mighton when he says that by opening our minds to new methods of teaching and learning we can 'accomplish more as a society than all the towering geniuses of the past.'"—Annie Kidder, People for Education

Reviews from Goodreads



  • John Mighton

  • John Mighton holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Toronto and is the founder of JUMP (Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies), an educational charity providing free tutoring to elementary-level students in the Toronto area. The JUMP program is currently being tested in three schools in West Virginia. John Mighton is also an award-winning playwright, currently adapting Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe for a stage production at New York's Lincoln Center, and appeared in the Academy Award-winning film Good Will Hunting. He lives in Toronto.