Annual Conference for Middle Level Education

Nashville, TN • November 7–9, 2019

Jessica Lahey

Author of New York Times bestseller The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed and The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence, to be released in 2020, Jessica Lahey is a teacher, writer, and mom. Lahey writes about education, parenting, and child welfare for The Atlantic, Vermont Public Radio, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. She is a member of the Amazon Studios Thought Leader Board and wrote the educational curriculum for Amazon Kids’ "The Stinky and Dirty Show."

General Session

Friday - November 8, 2019
Coming of Age in the Middle: Why Middle School is Prime Time for Failure
Middle level educators bear witness to remarkable leaps in autonomy, competence, and connection alongside tragic missteps, mistakes, and outright failures. Educators who have chosen to spend their days with tweens and teens are in a unique position to teach and model positive, adaptive responses to the highs and lows kids face as they become their best, fully-realized selves. Lahey will outline the research on human motivation, learned helplessness, and individuation and offer concrete, actionable tips for making middle school a place of positive change and optimal learning and growth.

Featured Sessions

Friday - November 8, 2019
Intrinsic Motivation in the Classroom
Strand - High Impact Classroom Strategies

In order to promote intrinsic motivation among her students, Jessica Lahey had to change many of her favorite lesson plans, switching over from a teacher-centered, teacher-driven classroom toward a more autonomy-supportive, competence-building lesson format. In this session, Lahey will explain the rationale behind intrinsic motivation, autonomy-supportive classrooms, teaching for competence rather than confidence, and the vital role of student-teacher connection in learning.

Saturday - November 9, 2019
Evidence-Based Substance Abuse Prevention in Middle Schools
Strand - High Impact Classroom Strategies

The average age of first drink is 11 for boys, 13 for girls, and kids who start drinking at this age are 7 times more likely to develop addiction during their lifetime than kids who delay first use until 21 or older. Despite these statistics, less than half of U.S. schools implement substance abuse prevention programming, and just 10 percent implement an evidence-based curriculum. In this session, Lahey describes the elements of evidence-based substance abuse prevention, and offers advice for educators and administrators on how to implement these programs for maximum positive effect.