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WORK WITH JAMES
Discover how James can help you strengthen
learning outcomes for all your students

HomePL Options

Keynotes

James is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, providing the perfect start (or end) to national and international conferences. Min. 45 mins; Max. 90 mins

All staff:  James designs keynotes that challenge and encourage all leaders, teachers, support staff, administrators and board members.

All phases:  a distinct aspect of James’s work is his ability to connect with staff in all phrases, pre-K to 12: preschool, primary, middle, high and college/gymnasium.

Invite your networks:  James encourages you to invite your neighbours so that he can share his expertise with as many people as possible (and you can share your costs!)

All Staff Workshops, Seminars & Institutes

James will keep your team engaged, inspired and motivated by blending clarity of ideas, opportunities for reflections and interactions, and lots of practical strategies that can be applied right away.

All staff, all phases: James designs professional learning for everyone connected with student learning. So, whether your colleagues work with the youngest or oldest students (pre-K to 12), or their role is to teach, lead, support or guide then they will find James’s sessions relevant and engaging.

Flexible timing: PL events can run for anything between 1-6 hours. A before- or after-school event is typically 90mins; a half day tends to be 2.5-3 hours plus a break; and a full day is 5 hours plus breaks and lunch. Anything is possible though – including multi-day institutes, residentials and study tours.

Additional services: as well as the event itself, every booking includes: a presentation designed to match your context (no formulaic packages here!); a preview video to give your team a chance to think about the main ideas before the event begins; some pre-reading recommendations; a PDF copy of all the slides created by James; and a code to access all the Learning Pit graphics for free.

All Staff Workshops, Seminars & Institutes

James will keep your team engaged, inspired and motivated by blending clarity of ideas, opportunities for reflections and interactions, and lots of practical strategies that can be applied right away.

All staff, all phases: James designs professional learning for everyone connected with student learning. So, whether your colleagues work with the youngest or oldest students (pre-K to 12), or their role is to teach, lead, support or guide then they will find James’s sessions relevant and engaging.

Flexible timing: PL events can run for anything between 1-6 hours. A before- or after-school event is typically 90mins; a half day tends to be 2.5-3 hours plus a break; and a full day is 5 hours plus breaks and lunch. Anything is possible though – including multi-day institutes, residentials and study tours.

Additional services: as well as the event itself, every booking includes: a presentation designed to match your context (no formulaic packages here!); a preview video to give your team a chance to think about the main ideas before the event begins; some pre-reading recommendations; a PDF copy of all the slides created by James; and a code to access all the Learning Pit graphics for free.

Longer-term support

Whereas keynotes and PL events inspire, longer-term support goes many steps further. James guides, demonstrates and ensures that progress is made towards your shared vision. Some of the most popular features include:

Evidence collection & analysis: James brings a fresh pair of eyes to your context. He observes learning and listens to students (he does not judge teachers!) He then offers recommendations based on what he knows to be possible from his wide-ranging international experiences. This gives you a great starting point for your next steps towards excellence.

Student and staff voice: James builds trust quickly. He uses this to encourage staff, students, parents, and other members of the community to share honest insights into their experiences. These conversations are audio-recorded and anonymised transcripts shared with leaders to give a rare insight into the possibilities for growth.

Staff coaching and guidance: James coaches, co-plans and co-teaches, runs demonstration lessons, meets with leadership teams to plan and problem-solve, and runs parent presentations to help them understand how best to support their children’s learning.

Costs: you decide the budget and James will design options based on these parameters.

Demonstration Lessons

James is one of the few consultants who will always walk the talk. Give him any class, any age and he will demonstrate some of his recommended strategies working with your students.

Any class, any age: James has run demonstration lessons with 3-year-olds, teenagers in alternative provision settings because of repeated offences, EAL classes, state, private, and free schools (K-12) and everything in between. The key is, he wants to show your team how the strategies he recommends work with your students.

Preview, demonstrate, review: the ideal format a preview with observing staff (10-15 mins), a demonstration lesson (20-70 mins), and then time to review and answer questions (the review can be after school if that’s easier). All of these activities may be recorded for internal use afterwards if you wish.

Flow of the day: although there are many options, a typical day would flow as follows: 1) 20mins meeting with leaders; 2) demo cycle one – 10 mins preview, 50-60 mins demo, 15 mins review (total 75-85mins); 3) demo cycle two (75-85mins); 4) demo cycle three (75-85mins); 5) whole staff meeting after school (60-90mins).

Demonstration Lessons

James is one of the few consultants who will always walk the talk. Give him any class, any age and he will demonstrate some of his recommended strategies working with your students.

Any class, any age: James has run demonstration lessons with 3-year-olds, teenagers in alternative provision settings because of repeated offences, EAL classes, state, private, and free schools (K-12) and everything in between. The key is, he wants to show your team how the strategies he recommends work with your students.

Preview, demonstrate, review: the ideal format a preview with observing staff (10-15 mins), a demonstration lesson (20-70 mins), and then time to review and answer questions (the review can be after school if that’s easier). All of these activities may be recorded for internal use afterwards if you wish.

Flow of the day: although there are many options, a typical day would flow as follows: 1) 20mins meeting with leaders; 2) demo cycle one – 10 mins preview, 50-60 mins demo, 15 mins review (total 75-85mins); 3) demo cycle two (75-85mins); 4) demo cycle three (75-85mins); 5) whole staff meeting after school (60-90mins).

Online Professional Learning

The most flexible, cost-effective (and carbon friendly) approach to professional learning. Engage your team in the highest quality PL wherever they are in the world – at work, at home, or even on a beach.

Interactive and engaging: James has learnt a lot in the 250+ webinars he has led since March 2020. These experiences, together with his imagination, professionalism and flair have made his online delivery second only to his in-person keynotes.

Press record: you are welcome to record any webinar that James runs on your behalf. The recordings can be used by absent and new staff, as well as for revisiting by your PLCs.

From classic to blended: James can engage with individuals using their own devices. Or staff could gather into teams sharing devices or watching a single projection, thus encouraging turn & talk and free-flowing co-planning. Or invite James to present from a professional stage to an online audience. Every approach has its benefits.

Costs: online PL presentations range from pro bono for the lowest GDP countries to 40-60% of in-person costs for others.

Commissioned videos

The demand for videos is such that we have now created our own film studio at Learning Pit HQ. So, tell us what you want, and we’ll send you a high-quality video to support your team’s on-going professional learning.

Purpose: There are many reasons why our videos are commissioned, including: as a summary of the key points from the PL we have led for your team; creating a video library for you to use with new staff; boosting your PLC resources so that staff can access learning whenever and wherever they like.

Language and subtitles: we have produced videos with subtitles (in English or any other language of your choosing if you provide the translations). We can also adjust any on-screen graphics and text to suit your context (as you can see from the image shown).

Video Length: the length of each video is also flexible. For example, in 2022, we were commissioned to create 12 x 5mins videos for New York City DoE whereas a network of schools in WA, Australia wanted a series of 20-mins videos to support their micro-credentials; and all our Japanese videos are just 2-3mins long. You choose, we record.

Commissioned videos

The demand for videos is such that we have now created our own film studio at Learning Pit HQ. So, tell us what you want, and we’ll send you a high-quality video to support your team’s on-going professional learning.

Purpose: There are many reasons why our videos are commissioned, including: as a summary of the key points from the PL we have led for your team; creating a video library for you to use with new staff; boosting your PLC resources so that staff can access learning whenever and wherever they like.

Language and subtitles: we have produced videos with subtitles (in English or any other language of your choosing if you provide the translations). We can also adjust any on-screen graphics and text to suit your context (as you can see from the image shown).

Video Length: the length of each video is also flexible. For example, in 2022, we were commissioned to create 12 x 5mins videos for New York City DoE whereas a network of schools in WA, Australia wanted a series of 20-mins videos to support their micro-credentials; and all our Japanese videos are just 2-3mins long. You choose, we record.

Coaching for teams & individuals

James has some capacity for coaching beyond the support he offers as part of the longer-term projects he engages in (see above). So, if you are ready but your organisation isn’t yet, then this could be the perfect approach for you.

Establish and work towards your goals: Clarify your why, what, how and when. Talk through your next steps and your priorities. Keep an eye on your progress.

Increase engagement: think through strategies for engaging your team and colleagues more effectively. Be supported with preparing presentations, documents and clarity of message.

Safe space to gain perspective: talk through issues, some of which might be sensitive, free from judgement or persuasion.

Deeper level of learning: understand the contradictions, nuances and exceptions you are likely to encounter when seeking to implement improvement plans.

A series of meetings: we recommend starting with a series of six 50–60-minute online meetings with James.

Focus: James has wide experience as a teacher and leader in schools, as well as the founding director of private companies in seven countries. He can help you think through most leadership topics and almost every aspect of pedagogy. He coaches individuals, middle and senior leadership teams, and increasingly, parent and community groups.

Engaging Your Community

Helping parents, boards members, and local organisations understand some of the best ways to support your students’ learning.

Parents’ presentations: James has made more 300+ presentations to parents around the world. The most popular topics include. How to encourage your children to step out of their comfort zone more willingly; the do’s and dont’s of helping children with homework; why some types of praise can make your children less determined rather than more; and the magic of figuring it out.

Shared visioning: Helping your whole team (and invited community members) to identify the priorities, values and preferred outcomes for your students.

Engaging Your Community

Commissioned videos

Helping parents, boards members, and local organisations understand some of the best ways to support your students’ learning.

Parents’ presentations: James has made more 300+ presentations to parents around the world. The most popular topics include. How to encourage your children to step out of their comfort zone more willingly; the do’s and dont’s of helping children with homework; why some types of praise can make your children less determined rather than more; and the magic of figuring it out.

Shared visioning: Helping your whole team (and invited community members) to identify the priorities, values and preferred outcomes for your students.

Pricing

Our pricing is responsive to location and type of service, so please contact us for an accurate quote. The following factors contribute to cost-effectiveness:

Location: James generally makes 2-3 trips per year to Australia (normally Jan/Feb, May, and July); and regular visits to the USA, Canada & Japan. When at home, his closest airport is Edinburgh, Scotland. If you therefore book him when he is already in your region then his professional fees will be reduced by 10-25%.

Second and subsequent days (normally as part of longer-term projects or for demonstration lessons): professional fees will be reduced by 15-35%.

Commissioned videos: pricing entirely depends on recording length and whether subtitles and translations are required. Many videos are provided free of charge as part of other PL services we are providing.

Online professional learning: professional fees are reduced by 60%. There is also no charge for expenses such as travel or accommodation.

James's Commitment To You

From the day he began full time consultancy in 2006, he has committed to the following principles:

  • He will give you his very best blend of research analysis, high expectations, good humour and practical advice – all tailor-made for your context.
  • He will be clear about what works best. Rather than flipping from one buzz word to another, he will stay true to the vision, values and strategies that enable ALL students (& staff) to thrive.
  • He will walk the talk – give him any class of students, any age and James will run demonstration lessons for you to observe & review.

Benefits You Can Expect

When he knows your starting point and desired outcomes, James can give you a precise idea of expected gains together with an associated timeline. For now, here are examples of outcomes achieved by others he’s worked with.
  • Students become more willing to take intellectual risks, ask thoughtful questions, and engage in challenging tasks with a sense of efficacy & resilience.
  • Staff and students are more likely to welcome feedback and use if more effectively to deepen their learning.
  • Improved questioning strategies lead students from surface knowledge to deep learning more effectively.

Contact Us For More Information

Common Questions & Answers

Why should I choose to work with James Nottingham?

James has been consulting with schools around the world for more than 20 years.  He knows and understands the various contexts and is committed to providing support that is aligned to your specific needs and structures.  James stays current with educational research and is able to consistently make connections between the strategies he suggests and the research to support them.  Throughout his 20+ years in consultancy, he has developed his message to fit the current times, but has stayed true to his core foundations, including the Learning Pit as a framework for learning, encouraging challenge, and focussing learning and the learner.

What sort of consultancy does James provide?

James offers keynotes for conferences and seminars.  He also does a lot of in-school consultancy; puts on conferences and institutes; and creates customised videos and webinars .

His main themes are learning, mastery, and engagement. He works with all staff connected to the education of students aged 3-19, including teachers, leaders, support staff, coaches, consultants, directors and superintendents.

In addition to his consultancy services, he also has a range of books, lesson resources, videos, and Learning Pit downloads.

What is the focus of the James's consultancy?

James wants to help make learning more challenging; and he wants educators to think about how to build a culture where all learners are supported.

He knows that more learning happens when people step outside their comfort zone; that more reflection and strategy comes from mistakes than from easy success.

And yet, all too often educators try to make things easier for their students; partly because they don’t want lessons to descend into chaos when everyone is confused, but mainly because there simply isn’t time for confusion – there’s too much information to get through and the exams are just around the corner! Parents are also susceptible: witness the increasing number of terms used to describe those who would design struggle out of their children’s lives: ‘helicopter parents’; ‘curling parents’; ‘snowplough parents’; ‘bonsai parents’ and so on.

James’s proposition is to go contrary to these latest trends by introducing more challenge, not less. Encourage everyone to step out of their comfort zone; to investigate; to seek alternatives; to reject easy answers; to engage in more thoughtful questioning; to seek reasons and counter-arguments. In other words: to seek out challenge rather than to avoid it; to go into the Learning Pit rather than play it safe and stick to what you know.

He shows educators how this can be done, even with a crowded curriculum, hesitant students and helicopter parents. He shares research that confirms people have to struggle if they are to remember lessons long into the future; that more learning comes from examining mistakes than from verifying answers.

He makes learning more challenging because the evidence is clear: we all grow when we step out of our comfort zone. And he challenges the way learning takes place because there’s always a better way – be it more effective, more efficient, more ethical or more collaborative.

Does James offer anything for parents?

Most of James’s work is with teachers, leaders and support staff working with 3-19-year-olds. However, when he does long-term work with schools, pre-schools or colleges, he often runs parent workshops in which he shares the latest research and best ideas for supporting children’s learning. This includes how (and how not) to praise; how to help children get into a growth mindset, develop self-esteem and build self-efficacy; giving advice about grading and labelling; looking at the best ways to approach mistakes and failure; practising questioning that engages curiosity and conversation; and developing a range of strategies for reasoning and reasonable behaviour.

As well as these workshops, he recommends his book  Encouraging Learning (2013). This inspiring, humorous, and practical book will show you what to do to help children of all ages develop into confident, thoughtful and independent learners.

Does James offer anything for individual teachers as well as teams?

He hosts conferences, workshops and roadshows – all of which are available to individuals as well as groups and teams. There are also all nine of his books, plus the lesson ideas, downloadable resources and videos available on this site.

What’s the best type of professional development for my team?

Get in touch and James can help you decide! He will ask about your context and your aims, then offer some suggestions for your next steps. He won’t push and He won’t offer you a pre-formulated package. Instead, he will listen carefully to your thoughts and then help you design the best blend of resources, support and consultancy that builds capacity and leads to significant and sustainable improvements in teaching, learning and leadership.

TALK WITH US ...

We’ll connect with you via phone or video call to answer your questions

TALK WITH OTHERS ...

We’ll put you in touch with people already working with James Nottingham to give you an insider’s view of our services

REQUEST A PROPOSAL ...

We’ll send you a detailed draft proposal, showing the extent of our support and the costs involved

TALK FACE-TO-FACE ...

We’ll arrange to meet your key decision-makers face-to-face

GO ON A STUDY TOUR ...

We’ll organise a study tour for you and your colleagues to visit some of the schools and districts making gains with the support of James Nottingham and his team

Common Questions & Answers

Why should I choose to work with James Nottingham?

James has been consulting with schools around the world for more than 20 years.  He knows and understands the various contexts and is committed to providing support that is aligned to your specific needs and structures.  James stays current with educational research and is able to consistently make connections between the strategies he suggests and the research to support it.  Throughout his 20+ years in consultancy, he has developed his message to fit the current times, but has stayed true to his foundations, including the Learning Pit and a focus on the learning environment.

What sort of consultancy does James provide?

James offers keynotes for conferences and seminars.  He also does a lot of in-school consultancy; puts on conferences and institutes; and creates customised videos and webinars .

His main themes are learning, mastery, and engagement. He works with all staff connected to the education of students aged 3-19, including teachers, leaders, support staff, coaches, consultants, directors and superintendents.

In addition to his consultancy services, he also has a range of books, lesson resources, videos, and Learning Pit downloads.

What is the focus of James's consultancy?

James wants to help make learning more challenging; and he wants educators to think about how to build a culture where all learners are supported.

He knows that more learning happens when people step outside their comfort zone; that more reflection and strategy comes from mistakes than from easy success.

And yet, all too often educators try to make things easier for their students; partly because they don’t want lessons to descend into chaos when everyone is confused, but mainly because there simply isn’t time for confusion – there’s too much information to get through and the exams are just around the corner! Parents are also susceptible: witness the increasing number of terms used to describe those who would design struggle out of their children’s lives: ‘helicopter parents’; ‘curling parents’; ‘snowplough parents’; ‘bonsai parents’ and so on.

James’s proposition is to go contrary to these latest trends by introducing more challenge, not less. Encourage everyone to step out of their comfort zone; to investigate; to seek alternatives; to reject easy answers; to engage in more thoughtful questioning; to seek reasons and counter-arguments. In other words: to seek out challenge rather than to avoid it; to go into the Learning Pit rather than play it safe and stick to what you know.

He shows educators how this can be done, even with a crowded curriculum, hesitant students and helicopter parents. He shares research that confirms people have to struggle if they are to remember lessons long into the future; that more learning comes from examining mistakes than from verifying answers.

He makes learning more challenging because the evidence is clear: we all grow when we step out of our comfort zone. And he challenges the way learning takes place because there’s always a better way – be it more effective, more efficient, more ethical or more collaborative.

Does James offer anything for parents?

Most of James’s work is with teachers, leaders and support staff working with 3-19-year-olds. However, when he does long-term work with schools, pre-schools or colleges, he often runs parent workshops in which he shares the latest research and best ideas for supporting children’s learning. This includes how (and how not) to praise; how to help children get into a growth mindset, develop self-esteem and build self-efficacy; giving advice about grading and labelling; looking at the best ways to approach mistakes and failure; practising questioning that engages curiosity and conversation; and developing a range of strategies for reasoning and reasonable behaviour.

As well as these workshops, he recommends his book  Encouraging Learning (2013). This inspiring, humorous, and practical book will show you what to do to help children of all ages develop into confident, thoughtful and independent learners.

Does James offer anything for individual teachers as well as teams?

He hosts conferences, workshops and roadshows – all of which are available to individuals as well as groups and teams. There are also all nine of his books, plus the lesson ideas, downloadable resources and videos available on this site.

What’s the best type of professional development for my team?

Get in touch and James can help you decide! He will ask about your context and your aims, then offer some suggestions for your next steps. He won’t push and He won’t offer you a pre-formulated package. Instead, he will listen carefully to your thoughts and then help you design the best blend of resources, support and consultancy that builds capacity and leads to significant and sustainable improvements in teaching, learning and leadership.

TALK WITH US ...

We’ll connect with you via phone or video call to answer your questions

TALK WITH OTHERS ...

We’ll put you in touch with people already working with Challenging Learning to give you an insider’s view of our services

SEND A PROPOSAL ...

We’ll send you a detailed draft proposal, showing the extent of our support and the costs involved

TALK FACE-TO-FACE ...

We’ll arrange to meet your key decision-makers face-to-face

STUDY TOUR ...

We’ll organise a study tour for you and your colleagues to visit some of the schools and districts making gains with the support of Challenging Learning

JAMES NOTTINGHAM

Consultant, Author, Keynote Speaker

This site represents two tradenames:

THE LEARNING PIT®

This trademark is held by James Nottingham (reg. No. 6.381.157) Uses of the Learning Pit for educational and not-for-profit purposes are usually permitted when seeking permission via this site.

CHALLENGING LEARNING

This is the name of the group of companies founded by James Nottingham (full details shown on the Contact Us page). It is also the name of his first book.

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