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The Learning Challenge

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

Foreword by John Hattie

May 2017 | 280 pages | Corwin

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 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
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

Foreword by John Hattie
Chapter 1: Introduction to the Learning Challenge
Chapter 2: The Learning Challenge in Practice
Chapter 3: The Learning Challenge Culture
Chapter 4: Concepts
Chapter 5: Cognitive Conflict
Chapter 6: Construct Meaning
Chapter 7: Consider Your Learning
Chapter 8: Mindset Matters
Chapter 9: Links and Perspectives
Chapter 10: The Learning Challenge in Action
Index of Concepts

"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
Chisholm Elementary School, New Smyrna Beach, FL

"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 Program Lead
University of Cumbria, Lancaster, United Kingdom

"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
King's College, London, England

"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
Eastridge Elementaty, Amarillo, Texas

"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
Kaimiloa Elementary, St. Ewa Beach, HI

"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
Evaluating Instructional Leadership, Vancouver, WA

"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

"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
Key features
Teachers will find:
  • Detailed explanations & graphics of the Learning Pit & the Learning Challenge
  • Several lesson plan ideas across grade levels and subject areas
  • Practical strategies for guiding students through each stage of the Learning Challenge
  • Classroom activities
  • Examples from Learning Challenges across the world

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1 Sample

Purchasing options

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ISBN: 9781506376424
CAD$ 55.95

For large school/district orders, volume discounts, availability and shipping times contact customer service at 800-233-9936

For instructors

This book is not available as an inspection copy. For more information contact your local sales representative.

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