It is the natural tendency of adult facilitators to want to be helpful to students solving a Destination Imagination® (DI) Team Challenge. In DI, however, the rules of Interference provide clear instructions about where the lines of Interference are drawn.
A Destination Imagination team is charged with interpreting its own Challenge, generating its own ideas, selecting its own resources, doing its own research, and constructing its own solution. When non-team members get involved in these activities, Interference rules have been breached, directly affecting a team’s success.
The success of a team is determined not only by its standing at tournament, but also by the knowledge and experience our students gain from the process. Competition is only one aspect of the Destination Imagination program. Most of the season, in fact, is spent learning about the process of creativity from imagination to innovation, and gaining life-long learning lessons in analysis and problem-solving, teamwork, performance, technical skills, time management, budgeting, organization, priority-setting, and more. When non-team members contribute to the solution of Team Challenges or Instant Challenge, this takes away from the team’s ability to learn these lessons and skills.
The importance and seriousness of Interference are highlighted by the fact that DI requires every team member and Team Manager to sign a Declaration of Independence at tournament. By signing this Declaration, the team members and Team Managers promise that the presented solution and all its ideas and research were produced by ONLY the team members, that they understand the rules of Interference, and that they do not know anything in advance about the Instant Challenge performed at competition.
Interference is one of the most serious obstacles for teams. If a tournament official observes Interference, then the tournament official gives a warning (if it is a minor matter of Interference), or a deduction to the team. In Instant Challenge, a team may be disqualified from competition because of Interference. Tournament officials are required to act in order to maintain a level playing field for all teams. We strive to promote a fun and fair competition; part of that involves giving warranted deductions, if Interference gives an unfair advantage to a team.
What can Team Managers, Coordinators, parents, teachers and audience members do to avoid Interference?
1. Early in the season, review the rules of Interference with team members and parents. Have everyone read and sign the Interference Contract found on page 28 of Roadmap.
2. Discuss the Interference Triangle, found on page 14 of Rules of the Road. The Solution makes up the top of the Interference Triangle, and represents the area where the Team Manager(s) CANNOT help the team. The bottom of the triangle, Skills and Challenge & Rules, represents the areas where a Team Manager CAN assist the team. For detailed information about Interference, refer to pages 14-16 of Rules of the Road. (Note: Veterans of the program would benefit from reading the rules about Interference.)
- Skills are both those the team already has, and the new ones it acquires during the course of the DI season. It is the responsibility of a Team Manager to help a team acquire new skills. How? A Team Manager can arrange for a speaker or demonstrator to teach a broad range of general skills to the team. However, please note that these skills may not suggest a specific solution to the Challenge; it is up to the team to apply the skills they learn to their Challenge. In general, if a team does not know the skills to accomplish a task, then students either must learn those skills, or find a different way to solve the Challenge.
- Challenge & Rules include the printed Challenge, Rules of the Road, and Published Clarifications. Published Clarifications supersede all other rules, and can be found HERE. Follow Destination Imagination on Facebook and Twitter and you will be alerted when a new Published Clarification is posted. It is the job of team members, the Team Manager(s) and tournament officials to know and understand these rules. If a team does not understand the rules, it can write for a Team Clarification. Each team is allowed to ask up to 10 Clarification questions by visiting http://www.diatlas.org/clarifications/login.php. The deadline for submitting Team Clarification questions is February 15, 2013. A Clarification will not be shared with any other team. Keep in mind that it is not the answers in Team Clarifications that are a secret. The answers come directly from the Challenge or the Rules of the Road. It is the team’s questions that are completely confidential and will not be shared with any other team. This is because the question often reflects the thinking and direction of the team’s solution.
Before your team submits a Clarification question, remind students to re-read the Challenge carefully, paying special attention to grayed text that provides special definitions or explains special rules. Encourage your team to use a standard dictionary if they don’t understand terms, and to discuss their understanding. Remember that it is NOT the Team Manager’s job to interpret the rules! A Team Manager may point out where the team is violating a rule by asking the team to re-read that section of the Team Challenge, but it is up to the team to come up with a solution.
3. Encourage your team to develop independence. One excellent way to do this is through Instant Challenge practice, where team members learn to rely on each other. Each week through November, you’ll find new Instant Challenges in cre8iowa’s Instant Challenge Library. This week’s Instant Challenges are:
- Performance-based: Frame of Reference
- Task-based: Snatch the Stuff
- Rising Stars!®: Three Little Bags
If you have questions about Interference, feel free to contact Judy Nolan, Co-Affiliate Training Director, by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.