During a webinar attended by our Using Data Online Course participants, one data coach posed a question about the amount of time it typically takes for schools to go through the Using Data process and the amount of time it takes to get teams to the point where teachers are fully engaged in a continuous process of analyzing and monitoring their data, seeking new research to answer questions, and most importantly, continuously committing to doing whatever it takes to improve learning opportunities for their students.

These data coaches have all experienced how difficult it can be to sustain regular, weekly meetings with their teams, and they have all experienced how fragmented the time becomes between sessions. It was agreed that it’s important to get teams through the entire cycle of UDP so that they see how all parts of the analysis come together. It was also agreed that coaches shouldn’t try to rush the exploration that leads teachers to begin to ask the hard questions. The kind of introspection that enables teams to get beyond assumptions to question their own beliefs can’t happen in a compressed amount of time. I’m always reminded of the metaphor of a microwave versus a slow cooker: sure, you can cook something more quickly in the microwave, but it tastes a lot better if you take your time!

Go Slow To Go Fast is the caution we’ve always included when beginning this work.