Monday, July 25, 2011

Interview with Bill Gates on his Educational Philanthropy: WSJ

An excellent interview in Wall Street Journal with Bill Gates:

"I watched the movies. I saw 'To Sir, With Love,'" he chuckles, recounting the 1967 classic in which Sidney Poitier plays an idealistic teacher who wins over students at a roughhouse London school. "But they didn't really explain what he was doing right. I can't create a personnel system where I say, 'Go watch this movie and be like him.'"
Instead, the Gates Foundation's five-year, $335-million project examines whether aspects of effective teaching—classroom management, clear objectives, diagnosing and correcting common student errors—can be systematically measured. The effort involves collecting and studying videos of more than 13,000 lessons taught by 3,000 elementary school teachers in seven urban school districts.
"We're taking these tapes and we're looking at how quickly a class gets focused on the subject, how engaged the kids are, who's wiggling their feet, who's looking away," says Mr. Gates. The researchers are also asking students what works in the classroom and trying to determine the usefulness of their feedback.
 It is important for us in India to carefully follow what Bill Gates is doing in the educational space. Over the last 65 years we have invested a lot in education (not enough, but still a lot). It has not achieved what we wanted.

We need to look at improving the quality of education as much as the quantity of education.

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