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Bill Gates Seems To Think Teaching Is Like Writing Computer Code


In an interview with NPR today, Bill Gates:

said if Microsoft didn’t have evaluations, “it wouldn’t have worked.”

He said that seniority and educational degrees didn’t correlate with “who was writing the best code.”

I “tweeted” this NPR interview when it first came out.

Here’s Jason Middlekauff’s response:

He seems to think teaching is analogous to code writing. Codes have learning styles, distractions, apathy, home influence.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. Thanks for posting my quip, Larry. More importantly, thanks for the wonderful resources you compile on your blog and the work you do as a teacher.

    There’s another issue I have with Gates’s point. I don’t doubt Microsoft has had young code writers who are more talented than some of their more experienced colleagues. Likewise, there are some young teachers who are better than some veterans. Still, do the already talented code writers not become even better with experience and further training? Why would the same not hold true for teachers?

  2. I doubt that Gates would say that training is a waste of time. He appears to be saying that a college degree is not necessarily a good indicator of an individual’s ability to do a job well, and that’s certainly true. Four years of university training is helpful for getting graduates off to good starts, but it does not guarantee good performance in the workplace. Hiring employees is a numbers game, and education is one indicator that a job candidate may perform to a certain level, but no guarantee of it. Thanks for raising an interesting question.

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