Integration of Abilities
The "Integration of Abilities" was a philosophy and set of pedagogical practices that Paul Baker developed over the course of his career. In his pathbreaking 1972 book Integration of Abilities: Exercises for Creative Growth, Baker explained that the foundations for this philosophy were laid during his childhood in West Texas, where the sparse but beautiful landscape and sounds of nature filled his mind with possibility. This environment served as his classroom, and he explained that his lifetime "class in creative work began, its formulation began, out of the experience in space, rhythm and time, direction, line, movement, sound and silence, silhouette which I had as a child" listening to bees hum, a few tenacious fruit trees sway in the wind, and the birds sing.
The Integration of Abilities employed a series of exercises intended to nurture student creativity. Through theater, dance, music, and the arts, studens considered a set of core "elements of form" that Baker identified: space, movement, color, silhouette, line, sound and silence, rhythm, shape, and texture. Exploring these elements of form across different disciplines and types of artistic expression allowed students to discover unifying connections and become more creative thinkers in the process.
His ideas transformed educational practices broadly as well as the teaching of theater, not just at Baylor and Trinity, but across the state of Texas and beyond. In 2015, the Texas Education Agency even approved a course for high school students on the "Integration of Abilities."