Memphis City Schools is looking for about 1,000 teachers who will agree to have their classrooms observed — and videotaped — by a Harvard University researcher closely tied to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, reports the Memphis Commercial Appeal. The initiative is part of the Gates Foundation’s effort to conduct research "to define and promote effective teaching practices." Thomas Kane, professor of education and economics in the Harvard Graduate School of Education, is leading the project in Memphis and in New York, Charlotte, N.C., and at least one other unnamed city. The video sessions are expected to start this year and continue next year. Stephanie Fitzgerald, president of the Memphis Education Association, said teachers will receive a stipend for participating. "The whole idea is to be observed by uninvolved, dispassionate people," she said. "There is great interest nationally in trying to identify what makes a great teacher. No one has done the research to define what that is."
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