Bill Gates begins his TED Talk by focusing on the importance of feedback when trying to improve at any job or skill, even if it’s just bridge playing (Gates’ presentation includes photos of himself playing cards with his bridge coach).
“Unfortunately,” Gates says, “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. I’m talking about teachers.” According to Gates, “until recently, over 98% of teachers just got one word of feedback: satisfactory.”
“The system we have today isn’t fair to them,” he continues. “It’s not fair to students and it’s putting America’s global leadership at risk. So today, I want to talk about how we can help all teachers get the tools for improvement they want and deserve.”
Gates goes on to look at other countries where there appears to be a correlation between students’ academic achievement and the fact that the country has a formal system for helping teachers improve. He then suggests an evaluation system and tools to help teachers, developed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.