The Learning Pit

Our journey is progressing and we took the next step today by continuing to look at mistakes and how we cope with them and learn from them. We also looked at when we learn something new and the strategies and powers we use. But sometimes when we learn something new it doesn’t always happen easily…

I read the book “I can’t do this “by K J Walton to my class this afternoon and they were hooked. The discussion and points of views that came over as we read the book were excellent and really highlighted just how far the learners have come in their journey and how their mindsets are changing. The book tells the tale of Fortitude who has lots of thoughts and that when he links thoughts and thinking together it always gave him something to work towards but one day his thoughts changed and he started to think about mistakes and failing and that he might not be able to do something – he thought I can’t do this. The story continues to how he tried and tried and had to use different things to help him achieve what he wanted to achieve.


From the moment I read this book I knew it had great potential and I couldn’t wait to read this to my class and to start work on it. I felt it was the perfect way to introduce the Learning Pit and strategies we can use – referring back to the Learning Powers and Qualities that we have been working on. The book requires lots of discussion and questioning.

After a lot of great discussion and reflection on times when the learner’s have felt unable to do something, we discussed the analogy of the Learning Pit drawing on the work of James Nottingham – we looked at some examples and we decided to make our own Learning Pit diagrams with ladders showing ways that we can help ourselves to get out of the pit.


The pupils enjoyed designing their learning pits. I enjoyed listening to the discussions within their home teams. The learners are really beginning to change the way they think and approach their learning.

We talked about never giving up and that there will always be a way to get to where you want to be… We decided that Can’t and Fail were quite negative words and after personally reading Carole Dweck’s work and after reading I can’t do this to the class… We discussed the word YET… I asked the pupils what they thought it meant and what feeling did it give them. Some of their answers were; almost there, not quite, almost, nearly, a bit to go. We discussed all these answers and how that when you add yet to the end of I can’t it, it made it seem more positive.

There was a real buzz in the classroom this afternoon… It was lovely to see the learners as inspired and interested in this journey as I am. The journey we are on is taking real shape and I am enthused and excited to continue on with our journey. I feel it is important to take our time and fully absorb and let what we have been discussing permeate and filter through into our classroom environment. I do have our next steps in mind but I also feel it is important to allow flexibility and really let the learners lead the way which can be aided by research and work that I have been doing in my personal reading . It is about taking the data we gathered at the start and making sense of it and mapping out a way through. Small Steps will lead to big changes and we are beginning the see the impact of these small steps already.

We are continuing to use our “What has stuck with me” wall which we have combined with “Mistakes make us learn”. This is a great way for pupils to reflect on their learning and for me to follow their learning process… It is making it visible for them and for me.

Thank You for reading… Stay tuned for more updates.


3 thoughts on “The Learning Pit

  1. This is a great post Kerry. Well done P6 for engaging in such productive discussion. The learning pit pictures are fabulous. I know a lot of schools will be interest d in this development . Let us know if you hear your learners talk more about this pit as the week goes on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantastic work by P6! Sounds like a great day:) think you’ve made a really good point about letting things sink in and see what the impact is. Will be great to hear about what you observe now in their day to day learning!

    Liked by 1 person

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