Special Educational Section: “Is your club making the most of Pathways?”

Guest edited by John Kendall, DTM

Pathways Learning Experiences

by John Kendall, DTM

Or as I prefer to call it THE Toastmaster Education Program, offers three opportunities

  1. New members get a chance to learn speaking, communication and leadership skills.
  2. Existing members get a chance to focus on aspects of learning more tailored to their personal needs.
  3. Club officers get a way to achieve a higher Distinguished Club Program status for their clubs.

Herein (in the following subsections) are several contributions from D71 members who achieved a Pathways award in the year ending June 2018.

  • Avril Stringer at Linlithgow Speakers achieved Level 1.
  • Darren Walton started on his own at Huntingdonshire Speakers in March and reached Level 1.
  • Vinette Hoffman Jackson started in March after being a Pathways ambassador and reached Level 1.
  • Jenny Chalmers, John Kendall, Elizabeth Jordan, Steve Campion & Sudha Mani all joined overseas clubs with online access, prior to UK launch. This allowed the keener members to start their pathways journey earlier & some to gain higher level awards.

Now every district has full access to pathways locally.

Only John has used the printed manual option.

All these people (except Sudha) were ACG or DTMs.

Pathways – Learning by Doing

by Elizabeth Jordan, DTM (Hertfordshire Speakers Club)

Friday 15th December 2017 is a memorable date in my Toastmaster’s calendar. It is the date I delivered my first Pathways speech, the Icebreaker, entitled ‘TSP’. I delivered my speech to members of my online club, Emperor Mandarin Toastmasters club, a club that was recommended to me because they had embraced Pathways with great enthusiasm and it gave me an opportunity to get started on Pathways three months before the roll-out in Region 11 on 20th March 2018.

I chose to start on the Leadership Development (LD) Path because I wanted to work on a mix of communication and leadership projects, especially planning and implementing small and large projects.

Tip#1: When deciding which path to take I would suggest:

  1. Reviewing all the paths in the Pathways catalogue http://bit.ly/2LCv1a2
  2. Seeking out members who have completed the path you are interested in and learn about their experience 3) Take the Pathways assessment.

One benefit of Pathways is the availability of a rich mix of learning resources in the form of videos, quizzes and reading materials as well as support materials such as templates, evaluation forms etc. With no members in my club on Pathways, I learnt by self-study from the excellent on-line resources available, I attended on-line panel discussions of experts and I sought help from early adopters like Julie Kertesz, Sudha Mani, Zaldy Co and others.

Tip#2: Invest time to learn how to navigate Base Camp and visit the Tutorials and resources page where you can get help on every aspect of working in Pathways.


One of the things I enjoy about Pathways is that the Toastmasters fundamentals are the same: speaking before club members, receiving a verbal evaluation and continuing to do Table Topics and all the things we enjoy as Toastmasters.

Tip#3. Remember to print out the Evaluation form and take it along for your Evaluator to complete.

You can print off the forms from the Speech Evaluations tab or from the project.


When you complete a level, I would suggest printing out the certificate as a reward and an incentive to continue to the next level.

My final two tips are for the club Presidents:

Tip #4) Club President appoints a Pathways Champion in the club to answer questions and to encourage members who choose to transition to Pathways.

Tip #5) Add a 5-7 mins Pathways slot on agenda for the Pathways Champion or Ambassador. This will help to embed Pathways in the club culture and allow members and guests to ask questions.

Having completed L1-L4 of Leadership Development Path by June 2018, I was able to offer the awards to three clubs, all of which achieved President’s Distinguished status. I am now working on the final level – L5 – and plan to complete my first Path in Pathways by Q4 2018.

Experience with Pathways Printed Manuals

By John Kendall, DTM

I joined an overseas club DTM Masters in District 27 with online access to Pathways, to help me be an authentic ambassador and guide. I initially found the online system challenging so I paid extra for printed manuals in another path. Printed Manuals have their pros and cons:

Pros

  • you can see at once all the speeches in Level 1 and Level 2 when the manuals arrive,
  • all the material you can download even how to score quizzes is there,
  • you can plan,
  • You can show others the manuals to explain Pathways,
  • Your evaluations are written into your manuals at the meeting and can show VPEs,
  • It is most like the previous experience – just another manual,
  • It saves you from thinking about which electives to choose, and
  • You do not need a computer or be online.

Cons

  • it costs you more and you must wait for manuals to arrive,
  • you do not get online access to videos, calculators,
  • must wait 3 weeks after finishing Level 2 to get the next manuals (Level 3 and Mentoring),
  • must wait again for last batch of manuals Level 4 and 5 manuals,
  • The electives in Levels 3,4 and 5 are prechosen,
  • It is different and can be more work for VPE to update your progress in basecamp, and
  • you do not get online badges (no real loss).

In conclusion, If I do a third path I will choose an online one, now I know how to use the online system.

However, I as a lone Pathways learner without local support found the printed manuals particularly useful to get a real understanding of the program. Fewer than 1% of members have chosen printed manuals worldwide to date.

Visionary Communication

by Darren Walton, DTM

I expect most people filled the questionnaire in and got presented with a suggestion of paths to choose, as I did. So, I chose Visionary Communication and I have found it to be valuable.

The first three projects were relatively straightforward, thankfully – nothing more than had been seen on the older Toastmaster’s educational program, but the fourth was something else.

The fourth was entitled Understanding Your Leadership Style and I learned that we all use all the styles of leadership that there are, however we use some more than others. I gave a presentation about this and took the other club members, who were present, through the same journey of realisation.

There seems to be some work that needs to be done on the web site – there are some things that aren’t intuitive – for example, the pop-up window that opens needs resizing so the menu at the bottom is shown and that window could be scripted to open at the right size. There are plenty of other examples, but I won’t go on.

I have always been my own sponsor, set my own goals and motivated myself to achieve in Toastmasters and I have continued within Toastmasters because the meetings are very therapeutic for me. It doesn’t matter what sort of day I’ve had; the meetings press the reset button for me.

My advice for anyone is to set goals to get things done by and meet them, even if it means you didn’t do your best because you do catch up eventually. It takes courage to be meaningfully imperfect but there is a lesson in everything we choose to do, and everything we choose not to do. Get outside your comfort zone and fly but listen to yourself and learn!

Overall the Pathways program appears to be useful. I particularly like the way that it mixes leadership with communication and am looking forward to discovering more.

Pathways Interview

with Jenny Chalmers DTM

What helped you choose your path? The only differences are one project L3, L4, and L5

I did the quiz and liked the suggestion of Effective Coaching; I think I had decided on it before I did the quiz! I really knew truly little about what was on offer before I started!

It is only as I have found out more that I realise the choice is something of an illusion. I compared two paths and found that there were only three or four projects that are unique to a path, everything else can be taken in any path so I now see that it’s important to look at the unique features of a path.

I am taking more care in choosing my second path.

Who supported you?  No one in your home club has done it or achieved this award. Why do it? – you are DTM!

I joined a club in North America to join the program before Pathways rolled out here. Pathways was relatively new at the time and fellow club members, apart from those who had joined for the same reason, were not particularly helpful. I did it because I wanted a new challenge after my DTM and I wanted to become a Pathways Guide.

Any advice for others?

Take time to choose your path. Use all the resources available and really think about what you want to get out of it.

Any comments for other clubs, other officers, or new members?

Choose carefully and most importantly get started so that you get experience and can help others.

My Experience with Pathways as an Early Adopter

By Sudha Mani

The Pathways – A New Revitalised Educational Program was rolled out in our district on 20th March 2018. This is my story and experience.

I am basically inquisitive and love to know what is under the hood before anyone does and have always been an early adopter. Wishing to experience Pathways early a chain of contacts led me to Julie Kertez (Witty Storytellers Online) who introduced me to Zaldy Co who was VPE of an online attendance club in the Philippines where Pathways had rolled out. The club is Mandarin Toastmasters.

On 2nd Nov 2017, I called Zaldy and paid my dues and immediately started on the program and took the assessment. Luckily, I got the same paths I picked up before the assessment. As Julie had already shared her Pathways Paths Guide. I had marked which paths I would go for initially along with electives; they were 1. Innovative Planning 2. Persuasive Influence 3. Dynamic Leadership.

I looked at the paths and the required projects. Innovative planning had HPL (High-Performance Leadership) project. I knew it will be difficult because I didn’t know much about what are the projects which could be considered for HPL. I was Area Director and pursuing towards DTM with the then-current Educational program. So, I chose Dynamic Leadership. Oh boy, it was good. I loved elective projects from Level 3 onward. Some of them, I have done in the past as part of my work. I paid few thousands for some of the electives like “managing successful projects”, “Negotiation”, “creating a podcast” and couple more, and I see the same courses or projects, with the same content in Pathways for a fraction of the cost (included in membership fee). This reiterated that I am on the right path. I completed my first path Dynamic Leadership by the end of January 2018; 3 months since I started. First three levels of second path Innovative Planning by the end of February 2018. Then I got busy with Pathways Ambassador and Area Director roles.

Now let me tell you about six revelations after I completed a path and level 4 in the second path.

  1. The result from the assessment is just a guide. You don’t have to go with the result. In my case, I read the descriptions of all the paths, picked my first 3 and then took the assessment. I got the order wrong, but I got what I chose in the first place.
  2. When I chose my paths, the second thing I wondered was how am I going to do 2 icebreakers. So, I booked my Icebreaker for the first path. When the time came for me to do the second path, I had another incident I could speak about. Or you could speak about what you want to get out by doing that path. That’s what I did with my 3rd path.
  3. Selecting electives: You get to choose electives from level 3 of the paths. The projects in the elective list are almost the same for all the paths. Yes, you can repeat your electives. What I did was, I chose the electives before just like paths by reading the descriptions once electives become accessible after finishing the level 2. I changed my mind and did different ones because they were more appropriate for me then.
  4. After completing, 3 levels in a path I found out that preparation for Level 4 and 5 must be from the start of the path. You can use the icebreaker in each path be your “What do I want to achieve”; that way others can help you when you reach level 4 and 5.
  5. Level 4 and 5 projects, you can do outside Toastmaster’s remit. You can ask in your organisation whether you could attempt the project on a voluntary basis. This way you not only gain experience; you have more of a chance of getting that promotion or job switch.
  6. This is about choosing the path; after completing the first path… I started with innovative planning. What I didn’t realise was the HPL (High-Performance Leadership) project is a required project. This is the challenge. I wish I had planned this well.

Pathways Learning Experiences – Summary

By John Kendall, DTM

In 2017-2018 Pathways became a reality. Only a few of us had a chance to really benefit from it and only two clubs gained from it in DCP terms.

Take outs for Members

In general, existing experienced toastmasters e.g. with CC will find Pathways straightforward and will achieve Level 3 quickly. It is at Level 3 and above that the exciting new opportunities and challenges begin. People like the new evaluation style.

These are my key tips for members embarking on Pathways

  • Tip – Open Screen Windows to full size to see all the content more easily.
  • Tip – Always add post project self-ratings and submit them before completing the project
  • Tip – You can download and print the project file (PDF) under the section “evaluation”
  • TIP – Keep a copy of your evaluation safe for later. (no longer in your manual)
  • Tip – If you don’t understand something ask another.

Now there are plenty of real users around to provide help and advice. So now we can really make the most of it.

We can of course still use the traditional program alongside to complete our chosen awards until 30th June 2020- not least to gain CL and ALB

WARNING – pathways is seriously addictive. Once you have a level only three more speeches to get the next, so why not?

Take outs for Clubs

In Distinguished Club Program (DCP) terms – Cornerstone Communicators Advanced Toastmaster (CCAT) was the only club to achieve P1 (four different people with Level 1), P2 (two Level 2s) and P4 (two Level 3s). Hertfordshire and Cornerstone both achieved P5 (one Level 4)

Cornerstone Communicators has members with home clubs and doesn’t usually get CC awards (Goals one and two). The fact that Pathways offered alternative ways of earning education goals that enabled CCAT to achieve President Distinguished status for the first time.

Club officers in planning their DCP program for the coming year can look to new members, who have not joined yet, achieving one or two levels in the year. Whereas, 10 speeches took you to CC, in Pathways 10 speeches gets you to Level 3. Thus, inexperienced members of the club, starting Pathways, for the first time will now also be contributing to those goals within their first year.

However, in this new year there should be more members using Pathways, learning new things, getting awards more quickly and most clubs achieving DCP goals because of it. So, I see 2018/19 as a year for many more awards than last year thanks to Pathways and more clubs doing their best in terms of DCP status.


Bonus pathways content

Talk Show for Talkers Podcast

(supported by District 71)

Shows that are tagged #Pathways. Worth a listen generally, even if the Pathways content features in just part of the show.

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