The New Toastmasters Pathways Program; Writing a Compelling Blog
This is the seventh article in my series for Toastmasters Leadership Development, Level 4, Write a Compelling Blog.
Toastmasters is a formal do-at-your-own-pace education program. There are no “grades” just volunteers working together to develop their communication and leadership skills. Starting March 2018, Toastmasters from Colorado, Western Nebraska, and Eastern Wyoming, embarked on a brand new program known as “Pathways”. Members take an assessment which will recommend a program customized for the needs of each member. Each member is free to follow the recommended path or follow an entirely different path. Details on the paths are here: https://d4tm.org/pathways/paths-and-projects.html
The previous Toastmasters “education” program is scheduled to be phased out at the end of June 2020. After that, Toastmasters will not be able to earn awards under the old program. New members are currently able earn awards only under the new Pathways program. I earned my third Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award just after the new program started. Upon earning my third DTM, I immediately started on the new Pathways program.
What is Pathways all About?
Pathways is a complete revamp of the Toastmasters program. It brings Toastmasters into the modern age. I remembered the old days when Toastmasters presentations were done with overhead slides and projectors. Millennials, do you even know what those are? Toastmasters projects were on paper manuals. Now, new Toastmasters select two paths. All the materials are on-line. Members take on-line self-assessments and view online videos. That’s quite an upgrade from before!
I’ve was in Toastmasters for many years before Pathways began so Pathways is quite an adjustment for me. I’m certain many of the older Toastmasters are having an even more difficult time adjusting. I’m a lifelong computer geek and I admit the transition is difficult even for me. I can only imagine how difficult things are for the non-technical oldtimers.
I try not to resist change. Officers in Toastmasters are expected to be advocates of the new program. As a club officer and former high-ranking District officer, I’m doing my best to be supportive. Fortunately for me, the timing worked out. I completed my traditional DTM program just as the new program was starting. I didn’t have to worry about rushing to complete my awards before the deadline. As time runs out, I know quite a few Toastmasters who are now rushing to complete their DTM’s. Personally, I hope Toastmasters extends the deadline.
Having completed the “traditional” program and earning three Distinguished Toastmaster Awards, I know the “traditional” program inside and out. I’m still learning Pathways. My two complaints about Pathways are Pathways prescribes that projects be done in a certain order. Under the traditional program, completing projects out of order was discouraged but possible and done all the time. My biggest complaint is that levels in Pathways need to be signed off before a Toastmaster can proceed to the next level. If club officers are slow in signing off on completion of a Pathways level, then the member is stuck in limbo and unable to proceed to the next level.
Pathways brings Toastmasters into the modern age. This blog is part of a Pathways project.There was no place for this kind of modern project under the older program. Even so, I am still reserving judgment. I don’t want to be an old fuddy-duddy and resist Pathways, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to enthusiastically support it either.