Jessica Lahey - The Gift of Failure

Jessica Lahey – The Gift of Failure

Jessica Lahey is a teacher, writer, and mom. Over twenty years, she’s  taught every grade from sixth to twelfth in both public and private  schools. She writes about education, parenting, and child welfare for The Atlantic, Vermont Public Radio, The Washington Post and the New York Times and is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed. She is a member of the Amazon Studios Thought Leader Board and wrote the educational curriculum for Amazon Kids’ The Stinky and Dirty Show. Jessica  earned a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of  Massachusetts and a J.D. with a concentration in juvenile and education  law from the University of North Carolina School of Law. She lives in  Vermont with her husband and two sons. Her second book, The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence, will be released in April 2021.

Key Takeaways:

00:25 Her favorite age group of learners to teach and why

07:24 How learning opportunities get lost when parents rescue their children

00:09 The effect of helicopter parenting on motivation and learning

11:01 The red flags about our parenting and teaching that we might need to take a look at

12:50 The difference between directive and autonomy-supportive teaching

17:52 Getting support in non-directive and free-range parenting styles

31:35 What parents should look for in a school

36:00 Her take on self-directed education

42:12 Screentimes and how students are learning differently during COVID

53:26 Building intrinsic motivation


“Kids who have had what’s called autonomy-supportive parenting, teaching, coaching tend to have a little more comfort with frustration, tend to be the kind of kids who can take a breath, figure it out and push through without having to sort of go to someone else for the answer.”

“What is great for learning is frequent formative assessments. It helps the kid exercise a little bit of metacognition, because they’re on a constant basis having to reevaluate what they thought they knew and what they didn’t know.”

“The reason that so many colleges and universities are switching, moving away from lecture-based teaching and towards small group teaching is that we know it works better.”

“There’s all sorts of emotional engagement that has to happen. It’s not just about interpersonal relationships, but engagement and relevance and all that stuff. That’s where the secret sauce of teaching is.”

“Being more controlling of kids has the opposite effect. It undermines their motivation to want to do the things that we’re trying to get them to do. Giving control to kids will help them feel less out of control.”

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