To improve upon something, we must learn, and to learn, we often seek guidance from others.
For example, Michael Jordan received hoops help from his incredible coaches Dean Smith and Phil Jackson. To sharpen his bridge skills, Bill Gates sought out the advice of professional Sharon Osberg.
But, as Gates details in his latest TED talk, teachers don’t enjoy the same luxury.
“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve,” Gates said. “Unfortunately, there’s one group of people who get almost no systematic feedback to help them do their jobs better, and these people have one of the most important jobs in the world.”
He’s talking about the people who are so imperative to helping our students prepare for the competitive working world. In the 10-minute talk, Gates discusses how the U.S. has a very weak feedback system in place for teachers to improve upon their skills. He points to places like China, where they allow cub teachers to observe master teachers in action and have weekly study groups specifically for teachers to talk about what they’re doing right and wrong.
Here’s what Gates wrote in a blog post about the talk:
It’s amazing to think about how much coaching is given to, say, professional athletes. I have a coach who gives me feedback too. (You’ll have to watch the show if you want to know why.) But most teachers get almost no feedback at all. And the vast majority of countries that outperform us in education have some formal way to give their teachers feedback. So this is an area where innovation and investment can make a big difference for teachers and students in this country.
Gates wants America to build a teacher feedback system, and it’s why his foundation is funding the Measures of Effective Teaching project, which aims to help instructors be more effective in the classroom.
Gates was recently featured in an excellent, wide-ranging 60 Minutes piece that brought the world up to speed on Gates’ life, including efforts to eradicate disease and transform global health.
You can watch the TED talk here.
Previously on GeekWire: Gates: ‘Frustrated iPad users create opening for Microsoft