State teacher of the year helps Lyndonville kick off school year

Posted 5 September 2014 at 12:00 am

Provided photo – Greg Ahlquist, the 2013 New York State Teacher of the Year, addresses Lyndonville teachers last Thursday during a staff development day to kick off the new school year.

Press release
Lyndonville Central School

LYNDONVILLE – Greg Ahlquist, the 2013 New York State Teacher of the Year, a last Thursday with Lyndonville Central School District teachers. Superintendent Jason Smith invited Mr. Alhquist to address the staff on the topic of Growth Mindset relating it to education.

Mr. Ahlquist, who teaches Social Studies at Webster Thomas High School, shared the findings of Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, who believes that every person has either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

“Basically if you are a fixed mindset you believe that intelligence and talent create success without effort. The person thinks this is who I am and what I do,” Mr. Ahlquist explained. “In a growth mindset, people believe with time and effort you can enhance your abilities. If you can instill a growth mindset into your students you can develop their love of learning and it will help them with their motivation and productivity.”

Along with his PowerPoint, Mr. Ahlquist shared remarks his students made in his Advanced Placement World History, European History and Holocaust elective classes about what they were most proud of at the end of the class. The responses ranged from the funny, “I didn’t cry,” to “I realized that I am smarter than I thought and I can do this.”

Mr. Ahlquist explained that if a student is of a fixed mindset they feel judged and evaluated where growth mindset students are always looking for ways to improve.

“It is our responsibility as educators to change what they believe about themselves and education,” he said. “Praise effort, not achievement.”

Mr. Smith said he is very grateful for the time that Mr. Ahlquist with his teaching staff.
“He is an exceptional educator and his message of moving students from where they are to whom they can be is a very important one to have reinforced at the beginning of the school year,” Smith said. “It falls in line with our Vision statement to being committed to continuous improvement of student learning and it was very generous of Greg to share his knowledge and insights with us.”