9 Jun 2017

From "Old" to "present" to new Program

Is it Toastmasters Pathways a new, for others, still the "future" Education Program?

Yes, of course it is. 
"Revitalised" as they called it before. Modernised. Revised. Modern. Looking towards the future and more integrated Communication and Leadership. 

Like it was, in many ways at the beginning. In "old" times.

It was in 1905 (and not 1928) that Ralph C. Smedley created the first club, that he called Toastmaster, in the basement of YMCA (Young Male Christian Association) for which he worked, to help those young he was in charge helping educate to learn speak in public. They cooked and served a dinner at the same time. When I joined, Monument Toastmasters in Silver Spring Maryland in 1977, (and even later in 2009 when I revisited them), they also met during a dinner in a basement of an Italian restaurant.

Later, then other less young man, heard about the great program and asked Smedley to create a club so they also can learn to speak in public. The education program, has not come from air, it was based partly from 2000 years of public speaking experience and writing, and partly by the newest finding in USA at the time Smedley created it.

Smedley also refers in his manual Basic Training, (I found through Amazon a copy from 1945) to one of the great speakers and trainers, public speech professors in New York, Richard C. Borden, "Public Speaking as Listeners like it!" I did find a copy of Borden book also. What a delightful writing full of images put in our mind! That book was copyrighted when I was 3 years old, 80 years ago!

Both were fighting against the audiences so bored as falling asleep!

Toastmasters become International and incorporated in 1928 and it is that anniversary it remembers. But its Education program started longtime before that. First, Smedley offered it on typewritten pages instead of "printed" and later, a book for "adults" was printed without any images in it. Now, we can find even online the Basic Training for Toastmasters as a manual offered free from TMI. I also published some pages of it, a few years ago. That was the really "old times".

Through the years, many other books coming after the "Basic Training" come out, each teaching us different skills and the main manual was renamed Competent Communicator. From 12 projects I found in Smedley manual of 1947 it went up to 15 projects as I got in my manual in 1977; then down again to 10 projects I found as I rejoined Toastmaster in 2009. But each time teaching the basic skills - the minimum to speak with confidence in public.

Alas, too many never arrives even to finish the 10 project CC (as it is called) so TMI decided that awards has to be given faster to encourage to continue. 

A few of us go farther.

In the Pathways, we have 10 path as to now from which we can chose. In each of them there are 5 "levels"

In fact the first two levels are almost identical, as we do indeed need the same "basic skills". Already, in level 1 after the Icebreaker, same title even if it asks already more from us; there are seemingly "only two" more Projects.

In fact, as you could see at the beginning of my blog, the "Evaluation and Feedback" has three tasks hidden inside it; together they teach by experiencing it the importance of feedback or "evaluation" as they call it now. Smedley liked more the word "criticism". First, a speech, then by incorporating feedback to a next speech. Then giving a feedback so it can help progress someone else.

The level 1 ends, in the "future" coming soon Pathways to all of us, by a Research Project, getting us to understand that from now on, as Google is there, books, videos, images can be found online, not to stop with any new project till you learn as much as you can (and want) about the new projects and subjects. That is new of course. 

In my opinion, "online" is more important then the user interface, more important then the reintegration of Communication and Leadership track, more important that the material is available on different "platforms" from personal computer, laptop, iPad or even the tiny iPhone I have. It does work. (PS Not on iPhone alas)

If you remember first, to disable the popup stopper of which the new program abounds and needs. I did forget at the beginning to do so on my smaller devices, and they all the time asked me "allow popup?" 

Till I did not, it did not work, as all paths, levels and Projects are on a popup, and of course, instead of being angry of myself... I believed I misunderstood. I believed I can not "have the Pathways with me on any device". Now, I understood, I can. Even if some times it ask me again "really, let them pop up?" Who of you could draw of caricature of that?

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