Building Better Minds


Why one of Henrico’s best teachers channels Yoda to reach his students

Posted at 6:00 AM, Oct 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-02 06:00:33-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Henrico High School psychology teacher Gregory Lyndaker said meeting and overcoming challenges can turn good students into great ones. His personal challenge was to change the way he taught his students.

Mr. Gregory Lyndaker

"They get to take all their own notes," Mr. Lyndaker said. "They do it all themselves and they really get to take ownership and a sense of pride in their learning."

It's all part of the "jigsaw classroom" concept. "Communication, collaboration and movement in the classroom.  And not just sitting and maybe the old thought of school and the college lecture style."

It's one reason Mr. Lyndaker was named one of Virginia's eight 2020 Regional Teachers of the Year.

He'll tell you it's part jigsaw classroom, part jigsaw puzzles. He has completed puzzles all over his classroom walls, including one of Yoda.

"I point to him and say, ‘Come on.  Remember, you do, or you do not.  There is no try.  I try to bring in whatever I can."

Senior Jayden Spain hopes to use Mr. Lyndaker's Jedi-like teaching to pursue a career as a criminal investigator.

"You can tell that he truly cares about us actually understanding it," Jayden said. "Not just knowing it and regurgitating it back onto a piece of paper.  He cares that we understand it and we can do something with it later in life.  Whether you want to be an engineer or a criminal psychologist or whatever you want to do.  You can always take something from this class and apply it to what you're going to do in your life."

Senior Jayden Spain

"I know that not all of them are going to be psychologists when they leave here," Lyndaker said. “More importantly I want them to be able to collaborate with others, learn how to communicate, especially in this digital age. Communicating face to face is a big skill."

Piece by piece... his challenges... are Building Better Minds.