Overcoming Objections to Arts Integration

By |2023-03-17T14:30:11-07:00February 2nd, 2023|


Overcoming Objections to Arts Integration

What are the 3 biggest objections to Arts Integration? Time, Buy-In, and Seeing It’s Possible. In today’s episode, Susan walks you through 3 frameworks for addressing each of these barriers, so you can bust through the blocks and start having success.

Resource Download

Enjoy this free download of the Overcoming Objections to Arts Integration resource.

Susan Riley: Hello my friend. I’m so excited to be here with you today on the Artworks for Teachers Podcast because I have some exciting news to share. Our Arts Integration Certification program is now officially open for enrollment, and so I wanted to take today to talk about some things that are really important when it comes to arts integration, and that is how to overcome objections. 

Now, here’s the deal. When it comes to arts integration, there’s a lot of objections that crop up. I call them little weeds that need to be constantly cultivated. You know, when you’re weeding in the garden, the, one of the most frustrating things is that when you take the weeds out, at some point the weeds are gonna come back.

It’s not a one time job. So you’re constantly having to pull those weeds, right? The same is true when it comes to arts integration and objections that we hear about arts integration. It’s a constant job. We constantly have to pull those weeds, but it helps if we have a framework to do so, if we know how to get to the root of the issue of whatever the objection is.

And so one of the things that happens when we open up arts integration certification enrollment is that we get a lot of questions about arts integration itself, not necessarily about the program, but the actual approach to arts integration and specifically these objections or these kind of roadblocks that have gotten in the way for so many people.

And so today I wanna give you some of the frameworks that are gonna help you weed out those objections over and over and over again so that you can feel confident in using arts integration in your school, in your district, no matter whether or not you have objections, because they’re always gonna be there, but you know how to handle them and move through them so that you can use the approach as effectively as possible.

So the first the first most common objection we hear is about time. I don’t have time. Right? Or our school doesn’t have time, or there’s no time in the curriculum, or there’s very little time in order to be creative. So many things around this idea of time. Okay? Now this is really important because time is a finite resource.

It is the most important resource I believe that we have, it’s more important than money. It’s more important than most other resources that we have access to because time is finite. There’s only so much of it, however. That being said I have found some ways around the time objection that are really helpful actually, and actually gets you time back that actually buys your time back and gets you more time if you use arts integration, not less, which sounds like an oxymoron, right?

Because arts integration as an approach sounds like it’s one more thing to add to the. Which therefore takes up more time. But what’s actually happening here is that we have to shift our mindset about arts integration, how to use it, what strategies are involved, and be really purposeful with it. And when we can do that, when we shift our mindset around arts integration, we actually buy back more time and we have more time in available to us for creative endeavors.

So I’m gonna show you how this works. But first of all, know that as a part of our enrollment program, we have a bonus, a very special bonus this year, never received before. It’s brand new. It’s called Time Bender, and it’s a new mini-course where I’m gonna teach these principles of time bending and making more time for arts integration and other things that are important to you.

I’m gonna teach you how to do that in a mini-course. The mini-course is set up into four sessions. There’s a 15 minute video or less in each session, along with a time sheet to allow you to work on what it is that I teach in those videos. You can also download it as an audio file if you’ll like to listen rather than watch.

And in each of those sessions, we take a deep dive into the things that I’m gonna share with you today. So I’m gonna give you the basic frame today, but know that in that mini course, I really dive deep into strategies and templates and tools in each of these four. 

But what’s important for you to know today is that if you have control, if you can be intentional in these four areas that I’m gonna highlight, you’re gonna be able to make more time for what’s important. And that’s critical, right? So here’s how we do that. 

First. The first component of a time bender is to have a different time mindset, and what that means is that we’re gonna take a look at our common understanding of time and shift it on its head. Understand that you can make room for your own priorities.

That’s the trickiest part though. Oftentimes we feel like we do not have an influence of control over our time. We feel as though others are taking our time, right. The curriculum is already set. Our administrator has already decided, the school day hours are already set. Okay? Yes and no.

We all have constraints that we have to work in, right? However, you do have control over how you perceive that time and what you decide to be the priority. Listen, if you decide that arts integration is gonna be a priority in your classroom, then you will find time for it, even in the midst of a packed curriculum.

Even in the midst of the school day that you have set, even in the midst of student disruptions, you’re gonna find time for arts integration because you have decided to make it a priority. And while that sounds a little tongue in cheek, it’s absolutely true. You have total control over what you decide is gonna be a priority for you as an educator.

This year, we see this with our Arts Integration certification candidates as well when they’re enrolled in the program. You know, life. Right. We’ve had people who have lost loved ones, whose family members have gotten sick, who have had to take on a new job, who’ve gotten fired from their job and needed to find a new one.

There has been a ton of things that have happened to our candidates in the past. We had an entire year of candidates who went through this program while also teaching virtually over Zoom and having to figure out all of the nuances to that. Here’s the difference between a successful candidate and somebody who was not able to complete the program.

The successful candidates decided at the get-go that this program was gonna be a priority for them to complete, no matter what, they were gonna finish it and get it done. And we have a set of coaches and mentors and people to help you through it. And we have a pacing guide to get you through it.

There’s so many supports available to you, but you have to decide that it’s a priority. The candidates who did not, were not successful and did not move through the rest of the program, it was because they did not make it the priority in their life at that moment. And that’s okay. There are competing priorities.

Just know that in a Time Bender’s point of view, a mindset is important. 

You have the ability to decide your priority. So if you’re gonna make arts integration a priority for you this year, how do we find that hidden time, that step number two, there is hidden time disguised in our curriculum. Everywhere. And I’m gonna show you one example right now and we’re gonna do a little bit of math together.

Don’t hold me accountable to the math. I’m not a mathematician, but this is easy math. We can do this together. Let’s say in your curriculum guide, you have a unit that’s coming up that you know is gonna be a struggle. It’s a struggle every year. Your students always struggle with it. Typically, in elementary school, it’s usually a unit around fractions.

In math, there’s so many specifics in each content area, you know, the, the unit where your students are gonna struggle the most, right? You also know that in your curriculum map, in your curriculum guide because it’s a challenging unit and because everybody knows it’s a challenging, you spent a lot of time on it.

So that means that you have usually have a lesson that directly teaches the concept, and then you have usually three or four lessons that allow students to practice the concept, to reteach the concept, to extend the concept. And to expand on the concept, right? You have three or four lessons that essentially are a reteach or an extension of the original direct instruction.

Make sense? Okay. Here’s the problem with that. The students who didn’t get it the first time are not gonna get it on times 2, 3, 4, or 5. If we’re teaching it the same, that’s why they’re struggling. Right? So what makes more sense continuing to do that or crafting an arts integration lesson around that concept after you’ve taught it directly, that allows students to apply the knowledge that you’ve taught them, to practice it, to extend it all within the concept of an arts integration.

When you do it that way, usually your arts integration lesson is gonna be one, maybe at the most two class periods long. What you’ve now done is bought back additional time in your curriculum. Let’s do the math, right? Your original unit took five total days, okay? First day for direct instruction, and then four additional units that allowed students to practice, extend, get into a group, all of that good stuff.

Now you’ve decided you’re gonna take that challenging concept and create an arts integrated experience around it. And so that lesson is gonna take you two days because it’s a really in-depth arts integrated lesson. So instead of five days, now you have the direct instruction lesson and you have two days for the arts integration lesson.

You’re now spending three days instead of five. You have bought back two days of instructional. Do you see how that works? And I guarantee you, when you use the arts integration, you’re gonna find the holes, the gaps that students have that you may need to go back in and use one of those two days to directly reteach or identify that gap and work on that gap component.

Because the arts integration lesson’s gonna bring that to light. It’s going to engage students in a way that your other lessons will not. And so all you do is take out some of the old and replace them with an arts integration lesson. That’s how you find time in a curriculum that’s already packed. Okay.

Number three is to set yourself up with systems. Systems are not sexy. Systems are boring. Routines are boring, but you know what else? They are really efficient, and so when you set yourself up with systems in terms of setting up a system for your classroom management, setting up a system for classroom design.

How are you gonna have students come into the classroom? What are they first gonna work on? Where do they go next? Essentially, a framework for how your class is gonna run in during each lesson, which is the same during each lesson, your students become accustomed to it. It becomes a routine, and you can find the areas then in your classroom day where you can plug in a creative strategy or a warmup and have that be a part of just your regular classroom routines.

Again, finding hidden time that’s available to you. You can set up systems in regards to your email. You can set up systems in regard to your planning, to your lessons, to your assessments. There are so many different ways that you can set up systems around each of the things that you are responsible for.

Because what’s helpful here is that the more systems you have in place, the more boundaries you end up setting for yourself. And so if it’s outside of that boundary area, you don’t do it, right? So you say no to the extra committee work, you say no to having an extra planning session that you definitely don’t need cuz you already have it in place.

Again, this helps free up your time. So setting up systems is really important in terms of getting time back. And then finally building efficiency. So looking back at your mindset and how you’ve set up your time and looking at the additional time that you got. Looking for any additional leaks. We call them time leaks, and plugging those leaks.

In looking for ways to eliminate, delegate or automate tasks that need to be done, can you eliminate any extraneous tasks that you don’t have time for, can you delegate some of those tasks to students? Can you automate anything using technology? Get creative in that and you will find even more time available.

So when we hear there’s no time for arts integration, there so is, you just have to know where to find it and have the right mindset. So using those four things, right? Mindset, finding the hidden time, setting yourself up with systems and getting really efficient at it, that’s going to give you the time that you need to use arts integration if you’ve made it a priority for this year.

Number two, the other objection that we often hear is, how do I get buy-in from other people in my staff, right? Like, I really wanna do this, but how do I get others to buy into? Well, if you’ve ever taught middle school, you’ll know exactly how to do that. As Elena Aguilar, who I just interviewed, shared middle school teachers are excellent at getting buy-in.

And the way they do that is by asking their students. What it is that they want to know and then teaching them what they know. Here’s the deal. That’s human psychology. So the first part is that you need to understand human psychology. What is it that drives other people? And the good news is that we know that there is a great book out there called Influence, and if you read that book, you’ll find six essential principles of human psychology that you can leverage anywhere that will help to build that buy-in capacity.

Now, this is not about manipulating people. This is about understanding what drives humans and then responding to those drivers, right? That’s important. The second thing is to listen first and respond later. Oftentimes, when people are telling us stuff, right, like, I don’t buy into this, this is not gonna work for me. How am I gonna use arts integration in the PE classroom? I have to make so much time on literacy. I don’t have time for creative stuff that doesn’t belong in the classroom. Anyway, when you start to hear this, what you really need to do is listen first. And then respond, not listen to respond.

Many times we need to understand and listen, what are they really saying? And that means asking clarifying questions. So I don’t have time to use creative crafts in my reading classroom because our test scores are so low. I need to focus on literacy. I need to focus on teaching directly. Literacy. I don’t have time for creative stuff.

If you listen to that objection, what is really happening here? If you dig to the root of that, it’s fear-based, because the trigger word was there are test scores and they’re low, right? Which means I’m afraid that they’re not learning literacy. What that person has not yet discovered is that sometimes students need a different access point in order to approach literacy to learn it?

Okay. There’s a difference there. So being able to listen to what they’re actually saying and get to the root of it and then respond rather than listening to immediately respond and say, no, no, no. That’s not what arts and integration is, and here’s what you have to at least acknowledge it. Understanding what they’re concerned about definitely goes into that.

The other thing is you have to truly know your people. What do they want? Ask them upfront. What do you want? What do you want to learn? What do you want to know? If I had to present arts integration to you, what is it that you want from that? Do you want increased test scores? Do you want increased student behavior, better student behavior and engagement?

Do you want a more joyful classroom? What do you want? Okay, hear what they want and give that to them first, and then look at what they need. Oftentimes when we’re approaching other people, we’re approaching it because we know that they need something and we wanna help them. But when you approach it from that respect, people are resentful.

They think that you think that they, that you know what they need and you really don’t. Instead ask them what they want and then just deliver that to them. Give them what they want. Even if it’s just a set of strategies. Show me one strategy that I can use in every single class. Okay. I can give you, I will show you that strategy, and then once you give them what they want and they actually use it, then you can start asking more questions.

Okay, what do you need now? Now that you’ve used that strategy, what did you find out? What do you need more of that I can help you with? Once you meet their wants, they’re more open to having you address their needs, and then you can start to build, which leads to this last idea of using a concerns based adoption model, also known as CBAM.

We’ve done a previous episode on this. I will link to it in our show notes. The CBAM approach essentially looks at seven different stages where people live in terms of a new initiative. All the way from, I have no idea what this thing is to, I’ve been doing this for 20 years now, and understanding where they fit on that spectrum so that you can then address the next step.

It is a seven step continuum. If you try to take somebody who has never heard of arts integration and move them all the way over to the far side of the continuum where they’re using it every day, you will fail. The better idea is to take a look at that spectrum and understand here’s where they’re starting.

What is the next step that they need in order to get to the next stage? Just that next stage so that you’re doing it step by step by step, and you’re honoring where people currently are and where they need to go. So those are ways that you can get around the buy-in. What’s great is that as a part of our certification enrollment season, we have a new bonus, totally new this year developed, called the Buy-in Booster.

It’s a PDF document that has a framework in it. It’s a seven step framework that’s gonna walk you through how to get buy-in from your staff so that you can move. Okay. Again, we’ve never shared that before. Brand new development. I’m really excited to release that with this year’s enrollment season.

And when I talk about these bonuses, these are only available during our enrollment season and they’re gonna only be available for people who have applied and been accepted into the program. Because I believe that these bonuses are gonna help you succeed the most as an arts integration specialist. 

Now, the the third thing that often comes up in terms of objections is, are other people doing this? Because nobody wants to be out there on their own. Humans like to know that they’re a part of a group, that they are doing things that other people are doing. It’s why social media works so well because it’s based around this idea of you belong with people like this. And you have this group, right? So when people ask, are other people actually doing this?

It’s because they don’t know anybody who’s doing this, right? They’ve not seen that other people are doing this or that. It is possible. So one of the reasons I love our organization and and doing this podcast and offering some of our free materials is because it invites people to come in and say, look, this is possible. This works. This is how other people are doing it. This is this is what’s happening with other arts integration specialists this entire last four weeks of the podcast I’ve been interviewing previous certification grads, our alumni, because I want people to know this is possible and this is what can happen if you go through this program.

So when people are asking this question if are others doing this, they wanna ensure that they’re a part of a group, right? That this actually works. And so that’s part of it, being able to showcase, yes, here are other schools that are making this happen. Here are resources that are available that are designed for schools like this.

That’s important. Being able to show people that others are using it, the sometimes the underlying root of that question. I’m interested in arts integration. I’m interested in becoming an arts integration specialist, but what if there aren’t jobs for this? What if I get a certification in this, or what if I take a course in this and there’s nothing around me to be had?

So then you get to address a different question, and that’s about job market. And so what I can tell you is that there’s been over $2 million earmarked from the federal government to to provide arts integration specialists in various grants around the country, which means that’s a huge job pool when you look at it.

And there’s so many opportunities for arts integration specialists popping up in literally everywhere. Because what the pandemic showed us is that what, what worked before is not gonna work now. And so schools are looking for creative approaches and different ways that are research-based, proven to be effective, that maybe they haven’t tried before.

And so, yeah, there’s a lot of job openings that are happening now. Is it in your specific district? Maybe, maybe not. But what we have found with our alumni is that if a job does not exist in your district, you can take your finished portfolio from the program, show it to an administrator, and literally create the job for yourself.

I can tell you that we have had a large portion of our alumni do exactly that. They’ve just shared what it is that they created, and then they talked with their administrators and said, you know, we really need something like this. And they’ve created that. So that’s one way to do it. There’s also, I can tell you from our own data, there’s been a hundred, 150% increase in requests for arts integration resources over the last two years.

So I can tell you that arts integration is definitely on the upswing and that we are seeing more and more and more schools who are using this kind of an approach. And so when others are asking this question of, are others actually doing this, yes, yes, yes, yes. It is one of the hallmarks of our Accelerator program is that we have hundreds of school groups who are going through the Accelerator together.

Knowing that there are other schools out there who are using it and, and using it well and seeing great results. So when you have those three main objections, I don’t have time. There is no buy-in. And what other, you know, jobs or who else is out there doing this? You now have a frame that you can answer those questions.

That’s my whole hope for today’s episode, is that you’re able to answer those three big objections and, they’re like weeds. They’re gonna keep popping up. So as long as you remember those three items and how to approach them in that framework, you’re gonna be good to go. You’re gonna be able to address those obstacles over and over and over again, and you will see faster success by overcoming those roadblocks.

Now if you yourself are ready for the next step in your career, if perhaps you’re considering becoming an arts integration specialist, or you just wanna be able to get certified so that you are the certified expert in your school or your district, please know that our certification enrollment period is open.

Right now it’s only open from February 1st to February 15th, 2023. After that, it will close again. And while you’ll be able to still apply independently throughout the year, all of the bonuses will go away. These bonuses are only available during our special enrollment season. Now, a couple of changes have happened to our certification program that I wanted to let you know about that I think are really exciting, and they’re based on the needs of our learners over the last five.

So previously when we opened up enrollment, it was only for the interactive, what we called the interactive strand, which is that you were automatically gonna be matched with a coach and a cohort, and you were gonna go through the program within one year so that you could get certified in one year no matter what.

But the problem with that is, as I described earlier in this episode, life happens. And so a lot of people had to make some tough choices. And what that meant was that they weren’t able to complete the program in the interactive strand and then had to go into the independent version, what we called the independent or self-study version, where they lost access to a coach.

They can’t really participate in that again, and then they have to move through the program on their own. So, that really didn’t sit well with us. So here’s what we’ve decided and here’s how the, the program has is now structured. The program itself, the general base program itself is a self-study program. So when you apply and are accepted, you will be provided with full access to the entire program.

So nothing is held back. You can go through at your own pace if that’s all you want to do, if that’s how you learn. That tuition is $1,997, and it gets you access to everything. So you get access to the bonuses, you get access to the core program, you get access to all of the resources. You don’t have to buy anything else, and you can move through that program on your own.

You can submit your projects for feedback one time each, and then submit your final portfolio. That is a base, a general base that everybody who applies and is accepted, gets access to right away. We’ve also now added the ability for anyone who is accepted to now add what we call a sprint intensive to any sprint that you’re working on.

Now, let me back up. Our certification program is broken down into four, what we call sprints, which are really, if you’re thinking about a grad program, one semester, right? We call them sprints because you’re working really fast through one area, and then by the time you’re done, you’re exhausted, but you feel really good about it.

So now we have the ability to offer these sprint intensives throughout the year. And a sprint intensive is a coaching component. So it’s it’s open for eight weeks with a coach that you have one-to-one along with a cohort group for that coach. You’re gonna work together with that coach and that cohort group to complete that sprint within that eight week period of time.

And then after you can then move into your next sprint, or you can take another sprint intensive. It’s up to you. Essentially your sprint intensive is the ability to add one-to-one coaching to your experience. We offer these intensives throughout the year. So sprint one and sprint two will always be running.

You will always be able to take a sprint intensive in sprint one or sprint two. You can also take a sprint intensive in three, which is our PD approach, and then sprint four is a seminar that you take along with a preview of your portfolio to make sure it’s ready for evaluation. Those are our four intensives that you can sign up for and you can sign up for them at any time so you can complete the program in up to three years.

Or if you wanna fast track it, you can add on coaching for the sprints where you feel you need coached. Now here’s what typically happens, here’s the reason we offered this. People who get in to the independent version, our old, independent version. When we started this, they get really excited and then they start sprint one and they realize, Ooh, I need some help with this.

And then they stop and they stall for a long period of time. And we don’t want that. We don’t want you to waste your money. We don’t want you to stall. We want you to be able to move ahead. So if that happens to you, you now have the ability to add on a sprint intensive, a coaching component. You don’t have to, to go through each of the all four.

You can just pick sprint one. If you need help with sprint one or sprint one and two, and then not sprint three and four, that’s up to you. You can customize how you move through the program. Now each sprint intensive is $250. When you think about it, it’s eight weeks of one-to-one coaching time with a dedicated certified level two coach.

That’s really cheap for 250 bucks. But what it does is it helps you to move through faster and it helps you to make sure that you really understand the concepts that are available in each of the sprints. So those are now optional. You can add on the coaching option if you feel like that is something that you need and that would be a benefit to you, but it’s not mandatory.

And then the last piece is that if you want graduate credit, yes, we offer six graduate credits for this program. The only catch with the grad graduate credits is that you have to take the coaching in order to be eligible for grad credit because we need seat time. Based on our partner who provides those grad credits, that’s California State University San Marcos, they need that seat time in order to PR to grant those grad credits.

So you have to enroll in the coaching in the sprint intensive. Now what if you decide to just go through it on your own no matter what? You’re not really interested in the coaching. You don’t need the grad credits. You are able to get 520 PD hours just going through it on your own. And 20 CEUs along with getting certified.

If you go through a sprint, the sprint intensives, you get 720 PD hours and 23 CEUs, along with the ability to add on that grad. So, and that’s a lot to kind of take in, but that usually answers people’s questions about the program. Know that this enrollment season also includes those very special bonuses that I talked about that are gonna help you overcome these objections of time buy-in and whether or not there’s a job for this.

And that is it for this week’s episode. We’re really pumped for this enrollment season here at the Institute. I am so passionate about it because it is the one thing that I love to do most, which is to empower others to use this approach to become specialists into this approach and become leaders in this, in this work with us.

And of course our alumni are like family, so I love to welcome new people into the family. If you are interested, definitely go visit Get your application in before February 15th. Also know that school purchase orders are accepted. So if, and we highly encourage that you leverage the kind of benefits that are offered to you at your school, if one of those benefits is reimbursing your tuition.

Definitely use that option for this opportunity. All right, make sure you get that application in by February 15th. Arts forward slash certification. Until then, I will see you next week. I will have a new interview next week. I’m very excited. Here we go.

The Art Works for Teachers Podcast helps teachers crack the code of creativity and use it as a hidden advantage in the classroom. Each week, we’ll use “creative clues” from authors, artists, and teachers to unlock the power of the arts and where it can take us in education today.

susan riley arts integration and steam Hosted by Susan Riley, Founder of The Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM