“Old Tactics” Shouldn’t Mean “Old Attitudes” NYT – Old Tactic Gets New Use: Public Schools Separate Girls and Boys

December 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

They lost me at ” Act pretty at all times!”

I believe same gender classrooms have much merit but the attitudes, comments, quotes and mindsets in the NYT “Old Tactic Gets New Use: Public Schools Separate Girls and Boys” article so amazed me that I checked to make sure the date on the paper was 2014 and not 1914.

Some of the more unbelievable comments/statements included:

  • Supporters say girls have more in common with other girls — and boys with other boys — than with the opposite sex of the same age.
  • The training materials…noted that “gently competitive lessons may be more impactful for boys”
  • …and that “lessons that incorporate emotions and emotional vocabulary” may have more impact for girls.
  • Teachers were also advised to be “more tolerant of boys’ need to fidget or girls’ need to talk during class.”
  • “I am able to push them to their level and include sports and different things,” she said of the boys she teaches for part of the day before swapping with a reading and social studies teacher to work with girls. She added that she liked to turn math sessions into games because boys “like competition.”
  • showed a crate she kept in a storage room of fuzzy pastel blue sweaters for girls, saying they were more likely to feel cold than boys.
  • For spelling and vocabulary lessons incorporating physical activity, Ms. L brought out hula hoops and small rubber balls for the girls.
  • The boys would get yo-yos, bats and badminton rackets.

Full disclosure – I went to an all girls school for grades 1-12. (Yes, all my schooling until college.) I was a “fidgety” student and a talkative student. I was asked by my HS principal “are you a lady?” when I spoke my mind. In a classroom full of girls my voice carried since it wasn’t a typically girl-ish voice and I was often singled out as talking out of turn. (I’m proud to have continued on in my life speaking my mind.) That isn’t the part of the school experience I would recommend. But there was a great deal about it that I would recommend.

One of the greatest things about an all girls school experience was that the best student in all subject matters was a girl. Girls ruled in every subject. Girls ruled in any of our curriculum subjects. The best person for any job was a girl. We got used to experiencing girls in positions of leadership. It was natural.

As a classroom teacher in coeducational classes I faced many challenges (try teaching 28 1st grade immigrant children to speak, read and write English – I dare you.) but classroom management because “boys and girls are different” wasn’t one of them and shouldn’t be the driving force for a same gender classroom philosophy or theory.

As an educator I’ve served in numerous roles including as a classroom teacher, program developer, teacher trainer, director of a drop-out prevention program and as director of a govt. program that coordinated multi-billion dollars of services through 25+ agencies. In all of them I approached children and youth as humans with different strengths, weaknesses, preferences and innate qualities.

Any group of girls will have the fidgetiest, most competitive, difficult, coldest, fuzziest, creative and most emotional girl. Any group of boys will have the fidgetiest, most competitive, difficult, coldest, fuzziest, creative and emotional boy. The challenge is to develop classroom management techniques and lessons that target each of them.

So while my same gender education was problematic in some ways, it was a great experience in others. I think an all girls or all boys class has a lot to offer children. It’s the theory driving it described in this article that are very problematic. What this article should do more than anything is to  get people to raise their voices and speak out about the underlying attitudes and beliefs about ‘boys are/do’ and ‘girls are/do’.

Still speaking my mind and encouraging all of you to do the same – every day,




15 Successful Entrepreneurs Share the Best Advice They Ever Got via Business Insider

November 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

I’m one of those people who’s  sending people articles and other kinds of information all the time. I love reading something great and shooting it on over to someone else who would benefit from it. On Coaching/Edu Twitter and creative arts Twitter I’m always RTing good info that other people post. Great information is just too amazing to keep to yourself! “Once a teacher always a teacher” I’ve been told. :)
The people at @BusinessInsider posted this terrific article today and it’s the kind of information that anyone can get something out of. So here it is – 15 successful entrepreneurs share the best advice they ever got. I think it’s all great advice and well worth incorporating one’s life. 
Which one resonates with you?
Giving thanks to all the amazing people in my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m grateful for each and every one of you and appreciate your being, your uniquenesses, and the joy you bring to my life.
Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving,

Turning “Embracing Failure” into “Failing Successfully” re: Fast Company – Part 2

October 1, 2014 § Leave a comment

In Part  1 of Turning “Embracing Failure” into “Failing Successfully” re: Fast Company and my opposing views included in the article I discuss the hype surrounding the Embracing Failure philosophy. Here, in Part 2,  are some techniques and tips I use with clients for turning a failure into a successful failure.

“Embrace Failure” does have to be part of everyone’s life philosophy. Not embrace as in to run after or strive for failure, but to accept failure in life as a reality. In that way one can prepare for the inevitable and continue on personal and professional missions in order to achieve goals. Then one can Never Give Up. If a person thinks failure will never and shouldn’t happen, then when it does they’re stopped dead in their tracks.

Knowing it will happen allows a person to work with the reality and learn from it. Some questions I work with clients to answer are; 
  • What lessons have I learned? 
  • What can I do differently in the future? 
  • What worked? 
  • Which elements were within my control? 
  • Which variables couldn’t I control? 
  • Am I willing to continue on this path? 
  • Is this something I want as much as I thought I did? 
  • Is there a better way to go about achieving this goal?
  •  Is it time to walk away from this particular method for achieving the goal and trying something new?
  • How can I learn to tolerate the feelings of failing at something I attempted to do?
  • What do I do next? 

By defining “Embrace Failure” as thinking that means a person doesn’t have to try, or trying and giving up too easily instead of trying something different. That would be abandoning a goal that is reachable because one particular method of achieving it didn’t work. As I work with clients to “fail successfully” part of the work is figuring out what’s not working and how to make constructive and productive changes. Those include literal and practical changes, mindset changes, emotional changes and behavioral changes.

As a society I think “Embrace Failure” is becoming a cliche and excuse really fast. We should be treading lightly because we don’t want to set ourselves up to be a failure society where failure is all wonderful and everyone will now get a trophy or kudos for failing in the way they were getting them for trying or just showing up.

The phrase “failure is not an option” has power to it. It doesn’t always happen that way, but when I work with clients we work really hard to set large goals and smaller goals. I also work with them to strategize how to achieve each of the goals. The point being while one might fail in some smaller attempts toward the larger goal, or the larger goal posts might shift as they work toward them, but with the expectation that things might&will sometimes go wrong. Then, working to develop a unique methodology that each person can incorporate in their lives, to match their strengths and work within the parameters of personal challenging areas. Working in a conscious way with that knowledge a person can persevere and continue.

A major issue in all of this is the speed with which people expect success to happen. Especially in our hyperfast, hyper-everything worlds. Success takes work and time. It can be slow and arduous to achieve. It can be frustrating and excruciating. The questions I ask are; how badly do you want it? Do you want it badly enough to work through failure? To tolerate failure? To tolerate the feelings that come along with failure? To learn from failure and fail successfully? 

I‘m not a fan of the phrase “embracing failure” because it focuses too much on the actual failure as an end result and something twee. I work with clients to turn failure into something they can work on and learn from, which is why I use the phrase “failing successfully”. It’s not holding the failure close to you in and of itself, it’s taking it and saying how can I make this an experience I can learn from and use moving forward.

Embracing failure can keep you stuck in the failure. Using failure successfully propels you forward

Enjoy the day your way,



Rebecca Kiki Weingarten M.Sc.Ed, MFA




Turning “Embracing Failure” into “Failing Successfully” re: Fast Company

September 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

I’m not big on hype, which is why I tend to sometimes take the opposite view of things. In a terrific article in Fast Company by Rachel Gillett she writes about the hype surrounding Embracing Failure. My opposing thoughts were included, in short – let’s not glorify failure.

We don’t want to become a society that thinks of failure as a worthy goal. Failure is inevitable in life. Period. Everyone will fail at something at some point. What we can do is learn to use failure as a stepping stone to a future success, which is what I work with clients to achieve when they have failed at something. Learn how to fail successfully and every failure is a learning opportunity and a method for learning to do and think differently. Below are some thoughts I exchanged with Rachel and Fast Company on the topic.

I’m not sure exactly where the “Embrace Failure” trend is coming from. In my opinion, and based on work with clients of different ages my thought is that it’s an almost expected backlash to the “trophy for everyone”&”everyone’s a winner” mentality that we’ve been hearing for a while coupled with the new realities that people have been facing in the years since the economy took a nosedive and the world, work, consumption and expectations have changed.

In the first case, people who were raised with a sense that they “win” merely because they participate are shocked when they hit the world and workforce and find that the world isn’t rewarding them because “they are” or “they tried” or “they participated”. They have to perform, achieve&distinguish themselves and that isn’t easy to do. Sometimes they fail. They now have to learn how to process and deal with it.

In the first case, people who were raised with a sense that they “win” merely because they participate are shocked when they hit the world and workforce and find that the world isn’t rewarding them because “they are” or “they tried” or “they participated”. They have to perform, achieve&distinguish themselves and that isn’t easy to do. Sometimes they fail. They now have to learn how to process and deal with it.

In the latter case, people who worked really hard and did “all the right things” suddenly found themselves out of work, having to reinvent themselves, looking for new positions & careers at a time when they thought they were set. They had it all figured out only the world didn’t play along with the plan. They’re facing failure for the first time in many cases. Including people at the C-level who suddenly find themselves out of work for the first time. It’s a shocking experience. Hence, “embracing failure”.

I think “Embrace Failure” it’s a very old concept and it’s only in recent years that we as a society shifted away from it. I’ve always taught and coached “successful failure” to clients of all ages. The earlier people learn to cope with failure, to experience it and rise above to come back again to fight the good fight and work to achieve their goals, the better off they are.

The people who succeed in life aren’t necessarily the ones that had immediate “luck” and “success”. They’re the people who keep working at what they want to achieve. History in all areas and industries is full of stories of people who failed and continued on. The only real failure is giving up. Then, there’s no hope to achieve goals.

By the way knowing your goals and how best to go about achieving them is a huge part of the process of success. I could quote zillions of quotes here that business, arts, sciences, military, education, psychology leaders and successes have said about never giving up. I’ll use Winston Churchill’s seemingly simple words of wisdom “Never, ever, ever give up.” In order to do that, a person must know how to embrace failure, or as I work with clients to fail successfully.

Next up tips for how to turn failure into Failing Successfully.

Until then, think of a failure in your life that you wish you could have turned into a successful failure and what you’d like to do differently next time.

Enjoy the day your way,


Day of Service. Beyond a #Hashtag.

September 11, 2014 § 1 Comment

Hi All,

On this 9/11 I’d like to suggest that when we speak of activism and service we take the time, effort & energy to make it more than #DayofService or #Activism or #Change. Simple to do really. Do something. Take action. I won’t list the many, many ways there are to participate in changing the status quo, in changing a person’s. You’re smart and resourceful. You can figure it out.

Choose an issue you care deeply and passionately about. Deeply and passionately because anything else and your motivation will fizzle out fast.

Do a bit of research on the issue and where you can fit in as an agent of change.

Do one small thing. Then another. Then another.

This is not a “do as I say, not as I do” thought. I’ve spent my life working to make people’s lives better in many different ways. From some of the toughest neighborhoods in the city to the shiny halls of government. From the page to the stage. I’ve put heels & cowboy boots on the ground and done things. One day at a time, one project at a time. One child at a time. One neighborhood and community at a time.

Do something. Anything. It can feel tiny to you but many people doing lots of small things makes a huge difference.

Do something more than #something.

Remembering and honoring those murdered on 9/11 and those who died fighting to keep us safe and those serving past and present for our freedom and safety. Remembering my friends and colleagues who died that day and those who ran through the ashes and rubble on the streets to get away. With you in spirit and love to all those who suffer the silent wounds of war.

Rebecca Kiki (RKW).

Share “Why You Should Try Psychoanalysi

September 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

Share “Why You Should Try Psychoanalysi.

Robin Williams, Depression, Misinformation and Competence

August 21, 2014 § 2 Comments

Hi All, 

It took me a while to gather my thoughts on Robin Williams’ suicide and the aftermath. It seems like so many people were affected, I know I was. For many reasons. But the area that concerned me most in the aftermath was the (often well-intentioned) misinformation that people were posting all over the internet. 

I have a lot of thoughts on the topic as an individual and from a professional point of view. For right now, I’d like to share one of the better articles I’ve read on the topic. To Know Suicide: Depression Can Be Treated, but It Takes Competence by Kay Redfield Jamison.

 If you’re searching for help be careful who you trust with your thoughts, feelings & mental health. 

Enjoy the day,




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