This new decade is marked by one major educational event in Toastmasters International: the legacy educational program as we know it – the combined communication and leadership tracks - will be defunct by end June 2020. Toastmasters around the world, whether in districted or undistricted clubs, and irrespective of their number of years as club members, will have Pathways as support for their educational journey as from 1st July 2020. If you were working towards achieving your Distinguished Toastmasters Award (old DTM), you should have either stopped your journey to the old DTM, or you are stretching yourself to complete this latter award.
How do you think we are faring at Plateau Toastmasters, the second oldest club in Mauritius which prides itself in being a regular leader and performer amongst other clubs on the island? Here’s how:
- From time of official rollout of Pathways in 2018, until now less than 20% of club members were on Pathways in 2019, there has been an improvement with Pathways adoption in 2020, with 65% of the membership registered on Pathways at time of writing of this article..
- This implies that around 18 club members have not registered on Pathways, and on 1st July 2020, will be in Pathways wonderland
“what do I do now?”, “where do I sign up?”, “who can help me?” are potential questions that the club executive committee would be receiving.
Let’s try answering these questions. What do I do now?
REGISTER yourself on Pathways AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! If you need help, you have not one, but THREE Pathways Basecamp Managers, in the form of your club VPEducation, Secretary and President (in this order!) to assist you. Here’s a list of steps for you to go through:
- Log in to https://www.toastmasters.org
- Go to “Choose a Path” and take the Pathways assessment.
- Once you have chosen your first path, you can access your first project on Base Camp, by clicking on the module “Education Transcript”
- Your modules: Go first through the module “The Navigator”. After you have logged into your basecamp, go through the module “Navigating Basement”
- Remember to go through “Check Compatibility” as you log in for the first time from your desktop/laptop/smart device. Common issues are pop-up blocker and screen resolution.
Where do I sign up? Who Can help me ?
Beside your club Basecamp Managers, you can, and should reach out, to your fellow club members who are already on their first path, and are enjoying the experience.
It’s always better to learn from people who are “doing”. If you have questions which your club members or Basecamp managers cannot answer, you also have a Pathways Discussion Forum on Facebook, which you can join and get those queries answered. If you want to know more about Pathways, you can visit https://www.toastmasters.org/pathways-overview
End of the day, Plateau Toastmasters Club wants to have 100% of its membership on Pathways by May 2020! This would give the club executive committee one-month time to support any club member who has not registered due to unforeseen challenges. Let’s work towards making this happen, and help the club maintain its status as one of the leading clubs on the island.
About DTM Krishn
DTM Krishn Ramchurn is a member of Plateau Toastmasters Club since Oct 2011 and is currently member of 4 Toastmasters Clubs. He was active as Online Pathways Guide for Mauritius Toastmasters Club. DTM Krishn achieved his first DTM status in Pathways in January 2020.
Meaning of Toastmaster
When I first heard about Toastmasters, I thought it was related to coffee shops and toast making, but quite later I understood that it was about public speaking.
When I was invited to attend a Toastmasters Club meeting, I thought it would be like a public political meeting in front of some two thousand persons and that the then President of the Republic would be present as I was told that the President is a Toastmaster. I had already made up my mind to ask him for some political favours.
While I was expecting an audience of some two thousand persons, I was disappointed as I came across only three persons when I first entered the club meeting. They presented themselves to me as follows:
- The first was the President of the Club, not of the Republic!
- The second one called himself the SAA. I thought he told me he works for SAA - South African Airways. When I asked him whether he is a pilot or steward, he burst out laughing and clarified that SAA means Sergeant At Arms, whose responsibility was management of the club property, preparation of the meeting room and welcoming of guests (hospitality).
- The third one presented himself as the IPP. I queried whether he works for the CEB and looks after Independent Power Producers. He smiled and told me that in fact IPP means Immediate Past President.
Soon the audience grew to some fifteen members and the meeting started. I was relieved when they spoke in English rather than French, in which I am not fluent at all. However, I was told that even informally, I had to speak only English and they informed me that as per the club policy, creole was not allowed. I was confused, thinking that I had landed in a British Council English Course class instead of a Toastmasters Club.
Toastmaster of the Day
When the meeting started, someone called Toastmaster of the Day presented the agenda. He stressed on pronouncing it as “Urgenda”.
The presence of the Grammarian and the explanation of his role reminded me to be very careful with my spoken English by avoiding any French, creole or Hindi words. In fact, having worked a lot with Indian consultants and having worked in Mumbai for several months on several occasions, my English got “hindianised”, such that my English was a “Kitcheri” of English, Bhojpuri and broken Hindi words. I was amazed and amused hearing his misspelling of the “WORD” as he repeatedly supressed the “r” from “WORD”. It was only later that I realised that he was referring to WOD, an abbreviation for word of the day.
Next came the Ah-counter, I thought he was an accountant counting how many err, um, ah we would do while speaking. But my doubts were cleared when he clearly explained his role, yet he overused filler words like “so”, “and”, “well” and I gathered that he followed the “Do as I say, not as I do” policy.
Looking at the Timer, and his lights, I thought he was a policeman giving traffic signal here as a part time job. I presumed he would take out his big light box and go outside the hall to control the traffic when the huge crowd of two thousand persons I was expecting would come for the meeting. He even had a small bell which I thought he would use to control the traffic just like in Madagascar where they use a whistle.
Ice Breaker and Prepared Speech
I was surprised with the word Ice Breaker especially because the person delivering the speech was talking in a British accent and had a small ship as prop, which caused me to believe that he would talk about new versions of Titanic that could break icebergs instead of the other way round. I kept listening to his speech but throughout the six-minute speech, he kept talking about himself and his achievements - making him sound like an audible version of Facebook wherein you talk about yourself, your likes and dislikes. However, I later understood that Icebreaker was in fact your first speech made at the Toastmasters Club where you are actually encouraged to talk about yourself, your likes and dislikes.
Evaluators of speeches
I also came across this role known as Evaluators who are supposed to give feedback on the prepared speeches. I was surprised to see a very young lady being called to evaluate the speech of a more matured speaker. I said to myself that such attitude of youngsters trying to find faults in the work of elders was a sign of disrespect and how the society has degraded wherein students-like persons dared give advices to rector-like adults. In my mind, I already thought of posting a comment on Facebook where I would blame the schools, the teachers, the rectors, the Minister of Education and the Government for such disrespectful behaviour of young students. I later understood that in Toastmasters, there was no hierarchy as we were all learning, especially from one another, such that it was perfectly normal for a younger person to evaluate and give recommendation to someone even of a higher age. Evaluation is, as stated, at the heart of Toastmasters educational program.
Enjoyed the article ? Read more in our next Edition of our e-Newsletter in July 2020
The word with stress on the first syllable is a noun, which refers to ‘a dry, sandy region’. The word with the stress on the second syllable is a verb that means ‘to abandon or leave’. In this case, the word stress not only changes the meaning of the word but also the part of speech (noun vs. verb).
Intonation is the way someone’s voice rises and falls as he/she speaks. It is about how we say things, rather than what we say. Without intonation, it is virtually impossible to understand the expressions and thoughts that go with words and incorrect intonation can change the meaning of a sentence
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION? (Few tips)
- Watch BBC/CNN channels (depending on which accent you wish to teach yourself) to learn the formal speech style of English and pay attention to the pronunciation/sound. Watching myself in the mirror and being mindful of how my mouth, lips and tongue moved whilst uttering different words have helped me tremendously as I grew up.
- Buy books on pronunciation or watch pronunciation tutorials online. Record your pronunciation and listen to it.
- Learn English Phonetics and Phonology. This will give you scientific understanding of the English pronunciation – sounds, sound clusters, weak forms, stress, intonation and rhythm.
- Talk slower. Give yourself time to pay attention to the pronunciation of the words you use while speaking
- Read aloud. This will strengthen your muscles for the accent. Practice daily and consistently. Practice makes perfect!
HOW CAN YOU PRONOUNCE A WORD YOU’VE NEVER HEARD?
Founded in 1886, the International Phonetic Association created the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) to help school children pronounce words in foreign languages and to aid in the teaching of reading. The IPA consists of a set of symbols – currently, 107 sound symbols, 52 diacritics (accents) and 4 prosodic marks (intonations) – that can tell you how to pronounce any word in any language on Earth!
Although the alphabet comprises of only 26 letters, there are 44 unique sounds (also known as phonemes) to master in the English language. Phonemes are the smallest units of sounds in a language. If a phoneme is changed, the word may change. The 44 sounds fall into 2 categories, consonants and vowels, and help distinguish one word or meaning from another. Various letters and letter combinations called graphemes are used to represent the sounds.
- www.youtube.com (Interactive phonetic chart for English pronunciation)
FUN CORNER (by TM Azra Muslun)
The word of the day or word of the evening (applicable for our club – Plateau - given our evening sessions) is introduced by the Grammarian at the start of any meeting. The short term challenge is for every role players to use it in speeches during the meeting itself, while the longer term challenge is simply for members to be able to use it in daily conversations or in other form of speeches. In short, the goal of introducing such words is to expand our vocabulary.
So, if in a month we have two meetings, the total number of words would come to 6, covering period January to March 2020. But guess what – we have one more, from our first online session of Plateau, introduced in February this year.
Do you still remember all 8 of them or have you got your memory like a sieve ?
Here they are below.. Work out your brain and match them to their correct synonyms:
Newcomers at Plateau.. (by TM Dosheela Ramlowat)
Relevant Tips from Toasmasters Magazine (by TM Dosheela Ramlowat)
Club Activities (January 2020 - March 2020)