A Distinguished Toastmaster’s Introduction to Pathways

Many Toastmasters (not only new members) are not yet very familiar with Pathways, Toastmasters International’s new education program. As stated on the Pathways website, the “Pathways learning experience [is] an exciting, flexible and interactive way to develop your skills and help others in your club develop theirs. Pathways helps you learn communication and leadership skills that you need to succeed.” Over the next month I will post about different aspects of Pathways. Hopefully you find them helpful.

 

The premise and promise of Pathways sounds intriguing, you are probably tempted to find out more. But when you drill down and want to learn about Pathways, you come across information provided by Toastmasters International and linked to on their website such as this video titled “Toastmasters Pathways learning experience – What is Pathways?” which was produced in January 2017, at the time when the Pathways pilot program was rolled out. District 27, which Old Town Toastmasters is part of, was one of three districts worldwide selected to test the Pathways pilot program. The video might not be as relevant now as it was then or to new members who never experienced the Legacy Program (more below in the footnote if you are interested).[1] Hopefully this series of blog posts will answer some of your questions. Although, please keep in mind that Toastmasters international is still working on and improving the new education program. Over time you can expect some of the information here to become outdated and you will probably experience broken links eventually.

Over the next month I will post about different aspects of Pathways. Hopefully you find them helpful:

  • How to choose a path? – A Distinguished Toastmaster’s perspective
  • How to navigate Base Camp? – A Distinguished Toastmaster’s perspective
  • “Paths and Learning” in Base Camp – A Distinguished Toastmaster’s perspective
  • Where to record your meeting roles? – A Distinguished Toastmaster’s perspective
  • How to use Base Camp to support others? – A Distinguished Toastmaster’s perspective
  • Feedback, badges and documents – A Distinguished Toastmaster’s perspective

In these blog posts I aim to demystify Pathways. I will provide you with information that makes your navigation of the Pathways education program and Base Camp, “your Pathways home base,” as Toastmasters International calls it. I think of Base Camp as the digital platform on which I can access my Pathways projects.

This is probably a good place to note that unless I explicitly refer to something as Toastmasters International verbiage, cite references or provide links to official Toastmasters International material, all statements reflect my opinion and any mistakes are mine alone as well. By no means do I wish to criticize Toastmasters, but some aspects about Pathways and Base Camp are still clunky (as of the writing of this blog). Finally, I will conclude this series of blog posts with “Lessons learned from using Pathways since its inception – A Distinguished Toastmaster’s perspective”.

Last but not least, while I try to address the questions I found most puzzling or pressing, please don’t hesitate to ask the VPE of your club or your fellow club members for advice if you get stuck on your Toastmasters journey. Toastmasters International is also a helpful resource to get answers to your questions. You can browse the website, www.toastmasters.org, or contact them via email at membership@toastmasters.org for general questions or at educationprogram@toastmasters.org if you have questions about paths and path requirements.

Good luck and enjoy your Pathways journey!

Your friendly neighborhood DTM.

 

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[1] Before Pathways was introduced your Toastmasters journey took place in the Traditional Education Program, or as it’s now also referred to the Legacy Program. It was composed of two tracks: the Communication Track, in which you learned about projects that would help you develop your public speaking skills, and the Leadership Track, which contained projects that would help you develop your leadership skills. These two tracks would eventually converge and after completing a High Performance Leadership (HPL) project you would then earn your Distinguished Toastmaster (DMT) award. You started out with two manuals, yes, these were booklets, called “Competent Communicator” (CC for short) and “Competent Leader” (CL for short). The former contained 10 projects covering the basics of how to construct an effective speech, in the latter you would record your meeting roles (and get evaluated for them) as well as other tasks, including but not limited to organizing a speech contest or mentoring a new club member.