Challenging Learning

Proving is good, Improving is better

Our mission is to share sustainable teaching and leadership practices that have the biggest impact on learning progress. We don’t just inspire; we build capacity by coaching, demonstrating, encouraging and leading.

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Product Overview.

HeadteacherChat’s Review of:

Challenge Learning’s book, ‘The Learning Pit’

Hello! My name is Jonathan Coy, and I am co-host of HeadteacherChat. I am delighted to have been given access to Challenging Learning’s book, “The Learning Pit’, and I thought you would be interested to know what I discovered!  

Read the full review below....  

How does Challenging Learning describe their book?  

The Learning Pit is one of the most powerful ways to build resilience, determination, and love of learning. It can help develop a growth mindset; prompt people to explore alternatives and contradictions; and encourage learners to willingly step outside their comfort zone.

The Learning Pit will help you to:

  • Inspire and reassure learners that stepping out of their comfort zone is a good thing.
  • Identify when to scaffold, and when to challenge students so that they move from surface to deep learning
  • Develop the questioning strategies that will develop learners' curiosity, resilience, and metacognition.  


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


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  


‘An inspirational guide to creating lessons that are thought-provoking and meaningful, and at the same time theoretically sound.’ Carol S. Dweck, Author of Mindset, and the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University.

‘The Learning Pit’ has the HeadteacherChat Stamp of Approval


‘The Learning Pit’ is a great book and a really practical guide for teachers in order to create a cognitively challenging classroom.

The book challenges how educators think about learning and explains how to teach children to cope with challenge, failure, and uncertainty.  

The book stands out because of the way it explains how to create a cognitively challenging school environment through practical suggestions, applicable to any classroom. It’s an easy to read guide for a teacher and/or a school leader and is suitable for both Early Career Teachers, and experienced teachers of learners and senior leaders in the primary phase.

“It’s an enjoyable book which is easy to read and contains lots of useful tips and activities. We were really impressed with the level of detail in each of the activities provided and how they link to the Learning Pit principles. If you are looking for ways to develop your children’s learning culture and help them to develop their critical thinking skills, then we’d highly recommend this book.”  Jonathan Coy, CEO, HeadteacherChat. September 2021  


Find out more here:

This book can be found on Amazon here.