St Peters Catholic Primary School

St Peters Catholic Primary School

‘The Learning Pit’

The Learning Pit = The Learning Challenge = Visible Learning!

 At St Peter's we have adopted ' The Learning Pit' and are using it as an effective tool to help our children understand their learning journey; why challenge is so important and the power effective feedback. 'The Leaning Pit' also helps them to visualise their learning journey.

We are also encouraging the children to have a Growth Mindset (carol Dweck) and an understanding that making mistakes and not giving up with their learning is okay. Looking at the Learning Pit helps pupils understand that learning is challenging but we can get better at it (i.e. get out of the Pit) by using strategies which can help us.

James Nottingham came up with the concept of the Learning Pit during his time as a teacher in 1999. He found it a helpful analogy to use with children to help them understand why more challenge leads to enhanced learning


 Nottingham outlines 7 core values to his concept of the Learning Pit:

1. Pupils are generally more interested in learning when others around them are curious and more willing to express uncertainty. The ideas behind Visible Learning and Learning to Learn also promote the idea that making mistakes is ok and not knowing something immediately is fine because these things help us learn.

2. The Learning Pit assumes we are all willing to admit, or even draw attention to, our own errors. This approach will help us understand our own strengths and weaknesses in how we learn.

3. Learning is enhanced by participation in guided inquiry.

4. High quality learning comes from making connections and understanding relationships between ideas. Being in the Pit compels us to make these links. In terms of Curriculum for Excellence we want to try pupils to have increased transferability of knowledge and skills across curricular areas.

5. Knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes transcend school subject categories. Therefore attention should be given to the transferability and connectedness of what is learnt.

6. Everyone who takes part in lessons involving the Learning Pit should aim to be thoughtful, reflective, supportive and reasonable. Nottingham believes that within teaching and learning, personal qualities should not be overlooked and that these kinds of virtues tend to be developed in the Pit.

7. Most lessons involving the Pit will result in agreement about the ‘right’ answer but Nottingham says there are occasions where (often in philosophical questions) when no right answer is achievable but this doesn’t make the experience any less valid. It is the process of thinking together, reflecting and giving reasons that is at the heart of learning.