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James Nottingham

travels from UK

Educational leader and entrepreneur with a passion in transforming research into strategies that work in classrooms

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5 out of 5 stars

James Nottingham will help you navigate the world of educational concepts and research with a wonderful blend of clarity and good humor.

Proffessor Carol Dweck See all references
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About James

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Keynote speaker James Nottingham, one of the world's foremost thinkers within education, has a remarkable ability to inspire positive change with his inviting and motivational approach to teaching and learning. Never afraid to challenge the norms, he offers thought-provoking keynotes and presentations that never fail to compel and fascinate audiences.

Keynote speaker James Nottingham is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, an award granted for making outstanding achievements to social progress and development, and is included in the
Future 500, a “definitive list of the UK’s most forward-thinking and creative innovators” is best known for creating the Learning Pit®, a world-renowned model for enhancing curiosity,
determination, and strategy. He has been a teaching assistant, teacher, and leader in schools in primary, middle, and secondary schools in the UK, as well as a factory worker, pig farmer, and
lifeguard trainer.
In 2006, he created the company Challenging Learning which now employs 25 full-time staff in six countries. He splits his time between leading his board of directors; designing and presenting
professional learning; developing improved pedagogies based on the most up-to-date and compelling research; writing books; running demonstration lessons, and enjoying family life on the border between England & Scotland. So far, he has written ten books for teachers, leaders, and parents. Many of these are bestsellers and all are translated into at least three other languages.

Particularly well known in Scandinavia, Australia, the USA, and the UK, our speaker James Nottingham is recognized for his humor and clarity, as well as his distinct ability to turn research
into comprehensible practice. For this reason, the widely-acclaimed speaker James Nottingham has been described by Skolvärlden (the Swedish Teaching Union) as “one of the most sought-
after names in the world of school development.”

See keynotes with James Nottingham
Keynote by speaker James Nottingham

Showing You the Best Ways to Challenge All Learners

It is through a challenge that we are able to move students out of their comfort zone and into their learning zone (or zone of proximal development) And yet, so many students actively avoid challenges for fear of getting something wrong, falling behind, or simply because they don’t see the point in putting any effort in.

Added to this is the need for differentiation to ensure all students are challenged appropriately – not so much that they can’t access the learning and not so little that they end up repeating things they already know how to do.

Audience takeaways:
  • Create a culture of challenge in your classroom that encourages all students to step out of their comfort zone
  • Recognize when to challenge, when to support or scaffold, and when to leave students in the Learning Pit®
  • Develop your questioning techniques to ensure all students are challenged appropriately (including the most able)
  • Avoid the type of praise and rewards systems that get in the way of challenge
Keynote by speaker James Nottingham

Using Growth Mindset to Enhance Students’ Learning Focus and Self Efficacy

Thousands of teachers around the world have introduced a growth mindset to their students in the expectation that it will enhance learning and build resilience. However, the two meta-analyses examining the impact of growth mindset show a disappointingly low effect (0.1 to 0.19, less than half of the typical effect). The main cause of this is that too many schools have a performance focus and are therefore unable to make the most of growth mindset; indeed, growth mindset might be contradictory and therefore an unhelpful distraction in these circumstances.

However, as a vehicle for creating and enhancing a learning-focused environment, a growth mindset can have a very significant effect. Drawing on our many speaking tours as well as our deep understanding of the mindset research, James will show you how to take the best steps towards a learning-focus that uses a growth mindset to maximum effect.

Audience takeaways:

  • Understand the real messages about growth mindset (rather than the urban myths)
  • Learn the best strategies for building a growth mindset culture so that all people (staff and students) benefit
  • Develop a common language for enhancing the learning process
  • Discover how a growth mindset can be used to inspire and reassure students so that they develop resilience, determination, learning strategies, and metacognitive thinking
  • Identify the links between growth mindset, failure, mistakes and James Nottingham’s Learning Pit®
Keynote by speaker James Nottingham

Leading, Learning: Showing You the Best Ways to Challenge All Learners

Developing the leadership and coaching skills of all staff is vital for building capacity, these skills and their supporting attitudes can play a dramatic role in the success of student learning. As Viviane Robinson (2007) showed from her meta-analyses when staff focus on five leadership dimensions then student learning (both academic and ‘non-academic’) is enhanced. These are: providing ‘big picture’ goals of learning; aligning towards these goals; learning how to learn together; engaging in analysis; and selecting/developing the ‘tools’ needed to reach the holistic goals.

Audience takeaways:

  • Understand the difference between leadership, management and coaching – and how each of these contribute in their own ways to staff/student success
  • How to align students and colleagues towards agreed goals
  • Develop practical strategies to support and prompt professional learning conversations
  • Understand the role of the coach in peer observation
  • Explore how mental models drive actions and how mindsets impact on expectations
  • Debrief learning to promote new thinking and support action planning for personal and professional growth
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Philosophy for Children: Engaging and Practical Ways to Use P4C with All Students

Philosophy for Children (P4C) develops critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinking. It is practiced in over 60 countries around the world and has a history stretching back over 40 years. The underlying principle is for children and young people to experience rational and reasonable dialogue about things that matter to them and their teachers. All participants work together in a Community of Inquiry.

The aim for each participant is to become clearer, more accurate, less self-contradictory and more aware of other arguments and values before reaching a conclusion.

Audience takeaways:

  • How P4C is one of the very best ways to develop dialogue, thinking skills, metacognition and collaborative approaches to learning
  • The best questioning and facilitation techniques to ensure P4C supports students’ everyday learning
  • A guide to resources and inquiry structures so that P4C is relevant for students of all ages. This can include a complimentary subscription to p4c.com, the international resource and collaboration site for P4C that was co-founded by James Nottingham
  • The ways in which P4C can be used to develop a growth mindset; enhance student motivation and resilience; and how it links with the SOLO Taxonomy as well as metacognitive and higher-order thinking skills
  • We offer demonstration lessons – give us any group of students and we will show you how effective P4C can be in developing critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinking
Keynote by speaker James Nottingham

Progress & Achievement: Creating an Emphasis on Progress So That All Students Thrive

Prizes and praise are offered to those who perform best. Recognition is given to the most impressive talents within any given cohort. Everyone knows who is the best and who is the worst in each subject. Ability grouping is used to separate out those who do well and those who don’t. In these kinds of environments, the emphasis is placed on a performance-orientation; one in which the most important aspect of learning is to out-perform your peers.

The alternative is much more engaging and, despite assumptions to the contrary, can also lead to improved grades for all concerned: a learning-orientation. With its focus on progress, a learning-orientation can help all students (and staff) to thrive. No matter the starting point, the emphasis becomes outperforming yourself rather than outperforming others. Pleasure (and, if needed, praise) comes from the love of learning rather than the love of beating others. This, in turn, leads to improved grades for everyone because when everyone beats their personal best, then ‘real-life’ grades are improved for all.

Audience takeaways:

  • How an emphasis on progress can lead to enhanced achievement for all
  • How research (e.g. Hattie’s Visible Learning and Dweck’s Mindset) can be used to identify activities that will have a high impact on student progress
  • Why so many forms of praise and reward actually slow student progress – and what can be done to change this
  • How feedback can be used to maximum effect to enhance student progress and achievement
  • Why a growth mindset will only really come alive in a learning-focused environment
Keynote by speaker James Nottingham

Solo Taxonomy: Describing and Planning for Progress in Learning

Many people use the SOLO Taxonomy to describe a learner’s progress from surface-level knowledge through to a deep, contextual understanding.

SOLO stands for the Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes. It is a model first proposed by John Biggs and Kevin Collis (1982) in Evaluating the Quality of Learning: The SOLO Taxonomy. It has strong parallels with James Nottingham’s Learning Pit® and can help guide the feedback process.

Audience takeaways:

  • Understand the relevance and use of The SOLO Taxonomy
  • Recognize the situations in which learners are ready to move from surface-level knowledge through to a deep, contextual understanding
  • Use the SOLO Taxonomy to plan for, guide, and evaluate learning progress
  • Combine preview strategies with the SOLO Taxonomy framework
Keynote by speaker James Nottingham

Visible Learning®: Understanding How Visible Learning® Can Inform Your Decision-Making

The Visible Learning® database was built by John Hattie. It represents Hattie’s synthesis of more than 1600 meta-analyses, covering 95,000 studies and 300 million students. This makes it the world’s largest evidence base on what works best in schools to improve student learning. From that research, Hattie has identified more than 250 factors that have an impact on student achievement.

Hattie’s synthesis shows that when staff use strategies with higher effects (greater than an effect size of 0.4), there is an increased likelihood that student learning will accelerate. Thus, the effectiveness of Visible Learning® comes from helping leaders and teachers make strategic decisions about how best to use their time, energy, and resources to maximize impact.

Audience takeaways:

  • Understand the truths (and debunk the myths) about John Hattie’s Visible Learning® research
  • Identify the key points from Hattie’s analysis of more than 1600 meta-analyses and 95,000 studies in education
  • Gain an insight into why many popular strategies for improving education are wide of the mark and – by contrast – which strategies will actually help raise attainment and improve progress
  • Find the best places to start with Visible Learning®
  • Learn how to use Visible Learning® to identify and respond to all students appropriately

Watch James Nottingham in Action!

See keynotes with James Nottingham


I attended the Mindset congress because of James Nottingham and wow, I was blown away. I enjoyed his presentations so much! I shared his ideas with my secondary school colleagues and they were so enthusiastic.

Monica Blankestijn

Teacher| Netherlands

Your keynote was the perfect! Feedback from delegates identified your inspirational and thought-provoking keynote as the highlight of the day. I am sure the impact will be felt across our schools and nurseries for years to come.

Conference Organizer| Argentina

I thought it was an inspiring lecture by James Nottingham. I wish everyone in education could hear these important messages.

Alexandra Sundelin

Pre-School Leader| Denmark

Thank you so much for a fantastic Keynote speech at our conference yesterday, it was the perfect way to start a conference titled #BeInspired. The feedback from delegates has been fantastic and so many forms refer to your inspirational speech and workshop.

Kylie Spark

Head Teacher| UK
Non-binding request for James Nottingham

Send a simple request. You’ll get a quick reply with fees and availability

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
James Nottingham
James Nottingham

5 out of 5 stars

James Nottingham will help you navigate the world of educational concepts and research with a wonderful blend of clarity and good humor.

Proffessor Carol Dweck See all references

Keynote topics with James Nottingham