I have participated before in the PLD that James led in Wellington last year. The workshop gave me the opportunity to know about James and his style of delivery and his understanding of how our tamariki can succeed. Outstanding!!! He has a rich knowledge of excellent ideas and strategies to share with us. I am always looking forward to workshops with James and I will definitely recommend it to others. I feel more confident now than before that I will not praise the kids for the sake of it but to support them on their next learning steps.


Olive Masina, Tairangi School


I would recommend an online workshop with James. He presented interesting and useful information in an easy to access format. There were opportunities for small group discussion and to ask questions. I was concerned about maintaining focus staring at the screen all day but having my camera and microphone off freed me up to listen and move around when I needed to. I am processing my next steps from all I learnt today and have decided my first action for tomorrow.

Karen Ataera, teacher, Tairangi School

Challenging Learning

James Nottingham *INTERNATIONAL*

Category:  International, Learning Strategist, Assessment, Growth Mindsets, Deepening Learning, Learning Conversations


COVID-19 - Please note courses with James, for the foreseeable future will be online

Teacher-Only Day - 4 hour online

'Enhancing Classroom Dialogue To Deepen Student Learning​'

(Organisation of the day - staff can either access remotely, online from their homes, or you can login from school and view James, together, on a big screen in a common area. There will be times set aside for discussion, and after James has completed his presentation you may choose to continue this work among your staff for the remainder of your teacher only day. If you are booking on this course as an individual teacher, you will be grouped into online discussion groups with others also participating on their own)

29th January 2021

8:30am - 12:30pm


(early bird special $165pp+gst for bookings made by Friday 20th November, or if booking 5 or more staff from the same school)


Audience: teachers, leaders and support staff, of students aged 3-19


Dialogue can lead to significant gains in learning (Effect size 0.82, from Murphy, Wilkinson, Soter & Hennessey, 2009). However, classroom talk is all too often dominated by teachers: Gad Yair found that teachers talk 70-80% of lesson time; that the amount they talk increases as the year level rises and the numbers of students in each class decrease! (Yair, 2000). During times of remote learning things rarely improved; in fact, in some cases, it worsened still. 


So, this session will show exactly how to engage students in dialogue – whether online or in the classroom. It will cover strategies that create interaction and engagement with learning, providing opportunities for students to move from surface-level knowledge to deeper understanding.


Suitable for teachers, leaders and support staff working with students between the ages of 3-19, the online course will help participants to:


  • Learn how dialogue engages and motivates learners of all ages so that they understand key concepts more rigorously

  • Understand how to make lessons more active, meaningful, challenging and collaborative

  • Be able to facilitate high quality dialogue that encourage students to take more ownership of their learning, share their thinking and form reasoned - and reasonable - opinions

  • Know how to create the right conditions for truly exploratory dialogue to flourish, encouraging learners to become more open, more collaborative and more reflective


Further reading: Challenging Learning Through Dialogue by James Nottingham, Jill Nottingham and Martin Renton

What does ‘Challenging Learning’ mean?

I chose the name Challenging Learning partly because of the double meaning: challenging the way in which learning takes place and at the same time, making learning more challenging. Many people say that parents these days wrap their children in cotton wool, smoothing the way to ensure their little darlings don’t encounter difficulties. In educational terms this is problematic because it is only when children and young people engage in challenging tasks and come across problems that they have the opportunity to develop important life skills such as problem solving, higher order thinking and collaborative skills, as well as personal attributes such as resilience, determination and self efficacy. So, as a company we look at ways to challenge the way learning takes place – at school, pre-school and at home. We draw on the most up-to-date research about challenge, feedback, thinking skills, dialogue, Philosophy for Children, Visible Learning, and Dweck Mindsets to identify the best strategies for making learning more challenging, engaging, motivating and successful.

~ James Nottingham




James' areas of expertise: Challenge, Progress and Achievement, Growth Mindset, Visible Learning, Feedback, the Learning Pit, Philosophy for Children, Leadership and Strategy.