The Learning Challenge
How to Guide Your Students Through the Learning Pit to Achieve Deeper Understanding
Foreword by John Hattie
Corwin Teaching Essentials
Learning & the Brain | Teaching Methods & Learning Styles | Thinking Skills
Embrace challenge and celebrate eureka!
Challenge makes learning more interesting. That’s one of the reasons to encourage your students to dive into the learning pit—a state of cognitive conflict that forces students to think more deeply, critically, and strategically until they discover their “eureka” moment. Nottingham, an internationally known author and consultant, will show you how to promote challenge, dialogue, and a growth mindset through:
- Practical strategies that guide students through the four stages of the Learning Challenge
- Engaging lesson plan ideas and classroom activities
- Inspiring examples from Learning Challenges across the world
If you and your students focus on grades alone then rich learning opportunities might be missed along the way. A more rigorous and exploratory path to learning leads to a deeper understanding of concepts. When students experience The Learning Challenge, learning lasts for a lifetime.
"Nottingham shows us how to use generative concepts as focal points for engaging deep student thinking and discourse. His visual model of 'pits and peaks' helps us realise that cooperatively grappling with cognitive conflicts in the pit is necessary to eventually reach new peaks of understanding. Nottingham provides a wealth of strategies, tools and examples to aid the teacher. The vast array of questions to stimulate student thinking is second to none."
H. Lynn Erickson, Educational Consultant
Author, Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction for the Thinking Classroom, 2nd ed.
"Nottingham has provided a clear, concise, and research-based approach to creating cognitively challenging classrooms that captivate, activate, and invigorate learners. This book takes every reader through the learning pit, challenging their prior beliefs, and leads them to construct and consider an innovative way to promote stronger and deeper learning for their students."
John Almarode, Professor of Education & Co-Director of the Center for STEM Education and Outreach
James Madison University, College of Education, Harrisonburg VA
"Nottingham has used trending research to develop a step-by-step process for educators to engage students in their learning journey. In understanding the student perspective, educators will be empowered in their professional practice to understand their own learning journey."
"The Learning Challenge provides a valuable balance between practical tools, applications and underpinning theoretical constructs. The format of each section made concepts clear and develops understanding of the principles explored in practice. Ideal for teachers who are planning for the effective use of the Learning Challenge and The Learning Pit to deepen pupils' understanding and support their progression."
"Profound, practical and precise: James Nottingham tells you how to make your classroom a place where young people would love to be."
"Nottingham provides real-life instructional lessons that deepen students' thinking by taking them in and out of the learning pit. Schools will create student efficacy, thinkers, by making the Learning Challenge part of their instruction. Nottingham's message in The Learning Challenge gives new traction to the old term metacognition."
"James Nottingham compels the reader to feel the urgency in recognizing learning is a journey and not an end, and can only be achieved when we transform learning from "knowing what to think" to "knowing how to think." The Learning Challenge offers a framework and practical strategies educators of all levels and disciplines can use to educate the mind to think critically and the heart to act independently."
"The name James Nottingham is virtually synonymous with the ‘The Learning Challenge’ the study of thinking as a process of inquiry, or better known to many as ‘The Learning Pit’ in which students are challenged to think more skillfully. His coverage is comprehensive, ranging from the processes educators can use to get students deeply engaged and collaboratively involved in their learning to practical suggestions for lesson design…moving the educational culture from one of input and teaching to one of learning and impact."
"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."
"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."
Sample Materials & Chapters
Chapter 1: Introduction to the Learning Challenge