The Learning Challenge : How to Guide Your Students Through the Learning Pit to Achieve Deeper Understanding - James Nottingham

The Learning Challenge

How to Guide Your Students Through the Learning Pit to Achieve Deeper Understanding

By: James Nottingham

Paperback | 14 August 2017 | Edition Number 1

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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.
Industry Reviews
"James Nottingham's work on Challenging Learning is a critical element of creating Visible Learners. This new series will help teachers hone the necessary pedagogical skills of dialogue, feedback, questioning, and mindset. There's no better resource to encourage all learners to know and maximize their impact!" -- John Hattie, Professor & Director, Melbourne Education Research Institute "In this era of rapid change, cognitive conflict is a constant challenge to be faced. James Nottingham's Learning Challenge offers learners of all ages a place to be and a process to recognise and engage with. Offering young learners the opportunity to contend with the tension that goes with being 'in the pit' and think and talk about their own learning is immensely valuable. My experience, working with this concept is that it works!" -- Simon Feasey, School Principal "I use the pit to structure my courses at James Madison University. Students in my teacher education courses are deliberately placed into cognitive conflict around decisions in teaching and learning. It is an excellent fit. My students, one year away from having their own classrooms, will frequently walk into my class and announce that they are in the pit. Nottingham's work is excellent!" -- John Almarode, Professor of Education & Co-Director of the Center for STEM Education and Outreach "We all recognize that schooling is no longer about imparting information in the hope that it will be put to good use. We know good schooling is about providing students with continuous opportunities to develop the ability and practices to think deeply. Deep learning is hard work. It is complex, complicated, not particularly comfortable at times (see 'The Pit'). In The Learning Challenge, Nottingham takes us through the four stages of the Learning Challenge, a framework for thinking and learning, in which students learn to step out of their comfort zone so that they can make meaning and connections in order to engage in deep thinking. Hattie (2016) states that 90% of what is taught in schools is at the surface level. That is not a comforting statistic. In The Learning Challenge, James Nottingham has provided us a clear path for engaging students in deep and meaningful learning complete with student-friendly language, stages and steps, examples, tools and tactics to guide us in engaging students in rigorous learning." -- Barb Pitchford, Co-author "In The Learning Challenge, James 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 realize 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 "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 "I have witnessed first-hand in my own district and that of others the power of The Learning Challenge in developing student ownership over their own learning. This book provides the blueprint for empowering students to plunge deep into the learning pit and have the mindset and tools necessary to make them climb out and back in again. This book gives students the understanding and permission to challenge prior knowledge, biases, and misconceptions to substantially enhance learning. I'm thrilled to see a book that guides students towards the 'voice' and 'choice' they need to advocate for their own learning and to choose the path less traveled by to benefit their learning and that of their peers." -- Michael McDowell, Ed.D. Superintendent/Author of Rigorous PBL by Design "The Learning Challenge is an incredibly valuable book for anyone seeking to motivate students, deepen their learning and improve the quality of their thinking. It contains outstanding explanations and examples on every page. I highly recommend this book!" -- Julie Stern, author of Tools for Teaching Conceptual Understanding "The Learning Pit has become one of the most powerful and popular heuristics of learning over the past 10-20 years, and James' new book will become the go-to resource for its fullest explication and application over the next two decades. Though weighted heavily towards classroom practice, it is happily respectful of the many theoretical connections, and both theory and practice support each other beautifully." -- Barry J. Hymer, Professor of Psychology in Education "Nottingham's The 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 "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." -- Karen L. Beattie, Principal "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." -- Pippa Leslie, QKS School Direct University Programme Lead "Profound, practical and precise: James Nottingham tells you how to make your classroom a place where young people would love to be." -- Guy Claxton, Author of Intelligence in the Flesh "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." -- Genie Baca, Principal "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." -- Mariko Yorimoto, Vice Principal "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." -- Julie Smith, Ph.D., Author/Consultant "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 "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

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