Bill Gates: Teachers Need Real Feedback

Bill Gates: Teachers Need Real Feedback

Just like other professionals, teachers need feedback. As teachers receive quality evaluation, it can help them to grow and improve. In a 2013 TED Talk for Education, Bill Gates explained the impact that real, quality feedback could have on our teachers and on America’s education system. The United States is currently not a world leader in academic performance, and the countries that are have found teacher feedback to be a key to success. Still to this day, one of Gates’ biggest priorities is to improve the education system in the U.S., as stated in his appearance on The Ellen Show in February 2018.

“We need a system that helps all our teachers be as good as the best.” -Bill Gates

As one of the best academic performers in the world, Shanghai, China does things differently. According to Gates, they ensure that teachers have a chance to improve, through weekly study groups, colleagues observing and providing feedback to each other, and allowing younger teachers to learn from the masters.

Measures of Effective Teaching (MET), a three-year research project the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation conducted, showed that classroom video is an effective system for evaluating teacher performance. Teachers, in the program, found the recorded observations to be very helpful at demonstrating areas they could improve. Sarah Brown Wessling, a teacher who took part in the MET project, said, “I think what video offers for us is a certain degree of reality. You can’t really dispute what you see on the video, and there is a lot to be learned from that, and there are a lot of ways that we can grow as a profession when we actually get to see this… It really has been a simple but powerful tool in my own reflection.”

“I think what video offers for us is a certain degree of reality. You can’t really dispute what you see on the video.” -Sarah Brown Wessling

As Gates explained, every teacher should have this feedback. “There are some really phenomenal teachers. The dream is that you can take the top 10% and have them help the others to get best practices and the best teaching ideas to spread across the country,” he said on The Ellen Show. Ideally, teachers would be able to learn best practices from the best teachers and evaluate their own performance. This would not only provide teachers with quality feedback, but also the means to improve.

With a classroom video solution such as Audio Enhancement’s VIEWpath, teachers are able to record and store their lessons for later reflection, and share the recordings with PLCs and coaches. The EduCam360 is a discrete camera that is installed in the ceiling, so teachers can get a more accurate reading of their classroom practices. The teacher controls the camera and can schedule recordings ahead of time.

According to Gates, a quality teacher evaluation system is what schools across America need. “It would put us on a path to making sure all our students get a great education, find a career that’s fulfilling and rewarding, and have a chance to live out their dreams.” Surely, academic performance across the nation will improve with classroom video as the solution.

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