HSE DI Nation News
Team Manager Training
This year we are trying a new format with our experienced TMs doing most of the training sessions. Training will include:
o Help make realistic goals.
o Team achievements.
o What do individuals and team goals on learning skills.
o Team expectations.
o Ground rules
o How to read the challenge.
o What to look for in the challenge.
o Highlighting required elements.
o Skills discussion.
o Parent skills.
Running a practice
o Practice example from experienced team managers.
o Team building.
o To Do lists.
o Task assignments.
Questions and answers session
The DI Road Map
If you have never managed a DI team before, your best friend is the Roadmap. The Roadmap, in fact, should be an experienced Team Manager’s best friend as well. The Roadmap is a meeting-by-meeting activity guide that takes you from the first meeting of the season all the way through tournament and beyond to your team’s celebration.
Your primary role as Team Manager is to facilitate your team’s journey through the creative process, a role in which you may or not have previous experience. Competition can be a part of that creative process, but it is only one of the stops along the way. The Roadmap is filled with team-building activities and practice Instant Challenges, as well as activities that teach you how to ask open-ended questions and for your team to learn how to work through effective brainstorming and decision-making sessions. While they do so, they are making progress in solving their Team Challenge.
Are Team Managers required to use the Roadmap? No, but it is highly recommended that they do so.
This is a great resource for Instant Challenges for your team to do throughout the season. If you are not practicing or meeting for ICs at HIJH you will need to make sure your team continues to practice these each week.
Understanding Team Roles
Description: In team-building resources, you’ll often read about the importance of team roles. Your team should understand who occupies each role, and what exactly the responsibilities of each role are. But how do you decide what constitutes a role, or who is best-suited to fill it? This is a discussion designed to help your team understand how they work as a group and learn how to divide the labor in a way that doesn’t pigeonhole them into jobs that may not maximize their synergy.
Discussion: It’s essential to understand that every team will have a different dynamic. Don’t limit yourselves to roles like “timekeeper” and “team leader.” Some alternative roles might be:
• “Lawyer” – This person dissects the problem and plays devil’s advocate as other team members suggest solutions
• “Storyteller” – When the team is struggling with script writing or trying to organize a performance based Instant Challenge, this person will dictate the action and/or define the characters
• “Cheerleader” – This person is responsible for getting the team excited about solutions and bringing attention to the ideas of team members who may be getting drowned out.
• “Harmonizer” or “Interpreter” – Particularly on teams with a wide gap in age groups (e.g., a single third grader and 6 sixth graders), this person is responsible for facilitating understanding and making sure everybody on the team actually understands everyone else.
Extension: These are just a few suggestions for team roles beyond the traditional builder, timekeeper, etc. Have the team sit down and decide what other roles, unique to the way they work, would be appropriate. If the team decides that traditional roles are more well-suited to them, that’s great too. What’s important is that assigning team roles is something that all members are actively engaged in, and fully understand.
Check out this page from DI. It has great ideas for teams to do together to help make this decision while you still maintain your sanity.
Interference Is Easy-Avoiding it is a Challenge
The DI Roadmap explains for team members and for managers exactly WHAT interference is and how to steer clear. Go over this with the team at the very beginning and make sure their parents understand, too.
You CAN provide is a place where the kids can experiment and build, access to the resources they need and time to do it. Solutions in Destination Imagination are entirely the children's work. ENTIRELY…that's the tough part. That means you can't hold the wood while they saw, you can't tell them it would be a little stronger if they'd put hot glue in the joint, you can't suggest painting the cardboard box yellow, etc. etc.
If the kids can't do something safely, they need to invent or create a way to solve it that is safe and up to their skill level. Or do something else entirely. If they determine they need to cut wood, for example, you can give them (or have someone else give them) a lesson in sawing safely and accurately. BUT you may not give the lesson on the exact wood that they will use in their solution. That piece of wood needs to be measured and cut BY THE TEAM ONLY. (You can however, drive them to the lumber yard or the scrap wood alley and drive them back after they pick out what they need. Or they can tell you they need XYZ specific kind/size of wood and you can get it for them.)
Remind them a lot "this is YOUR solution" and everything the audience and judges see will represent their work, their ideas and their creativity. Let your team know they can give you a warning if they think you're stepping over the interference line.
Subject: Is This Interference?
The learning is IN THE DOING. You can teach them the skills of how to safely use a tool…how to use a sewing machine for costumes, or how to do other skills that THEY have decided that they need to know in order to create their vision of what they want…but it MUST come from them. It is their experience in DI, not yours…they own this…not you.
The trial and error part of this PROCESS is key to their learning experience. It is an essential part of students learning how to make adjustments and learn from their mistakes. Please help them to take these life skills and make them their own.
Interference Examples-Team Supplies and Materials
It would be interference to listen to the kids plan, say, a costume, then say, "I have just the thing for the headpiece," and drag out that old steam iron that no longer works. It would even be interference to say, "When you get around to planning costumes, I have a box of old fabric you're welcome to use." It would NOT be interference for you to give the team a tour of your stuff, pointing out that you have many things around the house that they're welcome to use. Just do it in a general way, saying, "If you think of a use for this or these or those, then you're welcome to them." It's good to do this before they've laid a lot of plans--too easy to GUIDE them to use something if they've already gotten ideas about what they need to make. Do it early, and avoid suggesting WHAT things can be used for. Just offer them for use.
If you can, designate a place for storing these items and let them know anything in that location is theirs to take. I strongly suggest you have them check with you before they use anything you have lying around. If you don't do this, your brand new sofa cushion or tablecloth or vacuum cleaner will suddenly turn up (dismantled or painted, of course) in their presentation. BELIEVE THIS!
The key here is that it is interference to provide specific materials intended for use by the team for a specific purpose. It is also interference to suggest materials they might acquire for specific purposes. It is NOT interference to provide a stack of raw materials for which there might be many different uses, as long as you refrain from making suggestions about those uses. Many teams use fabric, paints, glitter, glue, tools, old motors, cardboard, wood, etc., sometimes in surprising ways. Providing these general-purpose things is part of the team manager's job, in my opinion and not interference. It is also NOT interference to say, "What kinds of things do you think you could use for that?"--even to suggest they look around them for ideas--as long as you haven't carefully "seeded" their supplies with things you think they should use.
An important point to make here is that it is not the intent of DI to force young kids to do dangerous things by themselves. If they have designed a solution which they cannot build safely without adult assistance, then what they must do is to modify their design (or scrap it altogether) and come up with something which they can build safely.
There is a tendency for the adults to want to jump in and help the kids with the sawing or the drilling because the kids are just too young and inexperienced to use the devices safely. You must understand that it is still interference.
Safety comes first, but the correct response to a design which can't be built safely is NOT for the adults to do it, it is for the kids to modify the design or to use simpler tools.
You also may be surprised at what the kids can do if you take the time to train them on the tool and how to use it safely. When you're done, not only can the kids be proud that they accomplished a difficult task by themselves, but you'll have taught them a skill they'll use for the rest of their lives.