The Learning Challenge

How to Guide Students Through the Learning Pit

James Nottingham (2017)

“Profound, practical and precise: James Nottingham tells you how to make your classroom a place where young people would love to be.”
Professor Guy Claxton, Author of Building Learning Power

Highlights of the book include:
  • A full description, analysis, and justification for using the Learning Pit® – direct from its creator, James Nottingham
  • The Top Ten ‘Pit Tools’ – proven strategies for guiding students into and out of the Learning Pit
  • Guidance as to when to support, when to challenge, and when to engage in cognitive conflict so that all students move from surface to deep learning
  • Ways to choose relevant concepts to take students into the Learning Pit, including multiple examples across all subject areas
  • The ways in which the Learning Pit helps participants develop resilience, determination, learning strategies and metacognitive thinking
  • Questioning techniques to engage and extend participants’ thinking
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"The Learning Challenge is written by my friend and colleague, James Nottingham. James and I oversee work in many schools throughout the world, are interested in the same problems and conundrums in learning and share many of the same interests. James has deep knowledge of schooling and a great sense of humour. Most important, there is seemingly no challenge he is unprepared to take on to make a difference to the learning lives of children. This book illustrates many years of practice, research, insight and thinking."
John Hattie, Professor & Director, Melbourne Education Research Institute University of Melbourne

“The Learning Challenge is written by my friend and colleague, James Nottingham. James and I oversee work in many schools throughout the world, are interested in the same problems and conundrums in learning and share many of the same interests. James has deep knowledge of schooling and a great sense of humour. Most important, there is seemingly no challenge he is unprepared to take on to make a difference to the learning lives of children. This book illustrates many years of practice, research, insight and thinking.”

John Hattie, Professor & Director, Melbourne Education Research Institute University of Melbourne

What makes this book different?

The Learning Challenge is by far the best and most comprehensive guide to guiding students through the Learning Pit. Written by the creator of the Learning Pit®, James Nottingham, the book shows you how to create a culture of challenge, curiosity, reflection and resilience. Its popularity amongst educators and parents is testament to the significant contribution it has made in enhancing questioning, reflection and metacognition.

Book Features

As Arthur Schopenhauer once said, “Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them in: but as a rule the purchase of books is mistaken for the appropriation of their contents.” With that in mind, The Learning Challenge has several features to help navigate the book, including:

  • Margin notes with summaries of content and key points
  • Section numbers to support navigation and cross-referencing (they also remain constant – unlike page numbers – when the book is translated into other languages)
  • ‘Now Try This’ sections to guide and support professional learning

Intended Audience

Suitable for teachers, leaders and support staff working with students between the ages of 7-19. For those working with 3-7-year-old children, you would be better reading ‘Challenging Early Learning’ by James Nottingham and Jill Nottingham (2017).

"Nottingham’s Learning Challenge is a seminal piece and should be considered mandatory reading for every educator. The examples included throughout help to paint a clear picture of how teachers can create the conditions to encourage and support students’ deep understanding of complex concepts."
Jenni Donohoo, Author of Collective Efficacy, Ontario, Canada
"James Nottingham has searched the world and understands what learning looks like. This is a must read, not only for teachers but also for students to understand and be deliberate about the way they approach the challenges, thrills and processes of learning."
Summer Howarth, Director of Learning Design and Events Education Changemakers, Melbourne, Australia
“James Nottingham provides educators with a practical way to get students to challenge their thinking, through questioning and dialogue. The Learning Challenge is jam packed with ideas on how to take a simple concept and turn it into a full-blown learning experience.”
Kelly Fitzgerald, Instructional Coach, Rouse High School, Leander TX
"In beautifully simple and clear language, The Learning Challenge presents a comprehensive methodology to bring philosophical inquiry to everyday learning. Nottingham makes a strong case for the didactic value of cognitive conflict and offers K-12 teachers the tools and theory they need to make the learning pit a core part of their work in the classroom."
Daniel Fisherman, Educational Foundations, Montclair State University, Montclair NJ

Nottingham’s Learning Challenge is a seminal piece and should be considered mandatory reading for every educator. The examples included throughout help to paint a clear picture of how teachers can create the conditions to encourage and support students’ deep understanding of complex concepts.”

Jenni Donohoo, Author of Collective Efficacy, Ontario, Canada

“James Nottingham has searched the world and understands what learning looks like. This is a must read, not only for teachers but also for students to understand and be deliberate about the way they approach the challenges, thrills and processes of learning.”

Summer Howarth, Director of Learning Design and Events, Education Changemakers, Melbourne, Australia
 

“James Nottingham provides educators with a practical way to get students to challenge their thinking, through questioning and dialogue. The Learning Challenge is jam packed with ideas on how to take a simple concept and turn it into a full-blown learning experience.”

Kelly Fitzgerald, Instructional Coach, Rouse High School, Leander TX

“In beautifully simple and clear language, The Learning Challenge presents a comprehensive methodology to bring philosophical inquiry to everyday learning. Nottingham makes a strong case for the didactic value of cognitive conflict and offers K-12 teachers the tools and theory they need to make the learning pit a core part of their work in the classroom.”

Daniel Fisherman, Educational Foundations, Montclair State University, Montclair NJ

Related Links

An Introduction to the Learning Pit®

The Learning Pit® – Animated!

Consultancy to Show You How Best to Use the Learning Pit®

Using the Learning Pit with 3-7-year-olds

Related Links