Pedagogy of Thinking in Community

Integrating the modality of thinking to balance four modes of thinking in community

Caring thinking : Critical thinking : Creative thinking : Collaborative thinking

How Thinking in Community provides Integrative balance between

  1. Caring thinking: being appreciative, normative, affective and empathic

  2. Critical thinking: being self-corrective, sensitive to context, reliant on criteria and making judgements

  3. Creative thinking: being imaginative, holistic, inventive and generative

  4. Collaborative thinking: being enactive of dialogue, coactive in dialogue and proactive as a result of dialogue

Collaborative Thinking

Enactive (core inquiry process)

Reading (reflecting on & responding to a shared stimulus) / Questioning the reading / Discussion of reading / Thinking for oneself / Facilitating the thinking of others / Impartiality / Reasonableness / Challenging as a procedure

Coactive (beneficial inquiry affects)

Quest for meaning / Progress in caring, critical and creative thinking / Shared cognition / Inclusion

Participation / Face-to-face relationship / Feelings of solidarity / Deliberation

Proactive (outcomes beyond the inquiry)

Organising / Committing / Experimenting / Managing / Executing / Building / Contributing / Performing / Saving / Mobilising / Playing / Working / Practising

Creative Thinking


Defiant / Bright / Expressive / Passionate / Visionary

Fanciful / Articulate



Self-transcendent -striving to go beyond the previous level you reached

Unified / Concordant / Integrated / Coherent / Orderly / Organic / Holistic



Experimental / Surprising / Original / Fresh / Inquisitive /New

Independent – ‘thinking for yourself’/ Undogmatic



Maieutic – like midwives bringing out the best thinking of others as offspring to nurture

Productive / Fruitful / Fertile (ready for sowing and growing thoughts)

Controversial  (generating alternative possibilities not considered by the status quo))

Stimulating (stimulating creative thinking in others)

Regenerative (process of coming back, growing anew, rebirth)

Critical Thinking


Pointing out errors in other’s thinking / Acknowledging errors in own thinking, / Disentangling ambiguous expressions / Clarifying vague expressions / Demanding reasons or criteria if not provided / Identifying inconsistencies in discussions / Pointing out fallacies in reasoning / Questioning whether inquiry procedures have been correctly applied

Sensitivity to Context

Differentiating nuances of meaning stemming from cultural or worldview differences / Differentiating nuances of meaning stemming from personal perspectives or points of view / Recognising differences due to different languages, disciplines, frames of reference/ Contending to establish authenticity & integrity of interpretations / Contesting accuracy of translations/ Pointing out how meanings can be modified by contextual circumstances / Noticing changes in meaning due to alterations of emphasis or shifts in intention / Noticing differences between a present situation & seemingly similar past situations

Reliance on Criteria

Invoking shared values: ideals, purposes, goals, aims and objectives / Invoking conventions: norms, regularities, uniformities, precedents and traditions / Invoking common bases of comparison: shared respects, properties, characteristics / Invoking requirements: precepts, specifications, stipulations, limitations / Invoking perspectives: areas of concern, frames of reference, points of view / Invoking principles, rules, laws, regulations, directions / Invoking standards (degrees of satisfaction) and definitions (agreed meanings) / Invoking facts (warranted assertions) and tests (eliciting empirical findings)


Seeking settlements of deliberations / Seeking verdicts of trials or inquests / Seeking decisions / Seeking determinations (conclusive findings of investigative proceedings) / Seeking solutions to actual or theoretical problems / Seeking clarifications or categorisations / Evaluations and assessments

Caring Thinking


Prizing, Valuing, Celebrating, Cherishing, Admiring, Respecting, Preserving, Praising


Requiring, Obliging, Compelling, Appropriate, Enforcing, Demanding, Expecting


Liking, Loving, Fostering, Honouring, Reconciling, Friendly, Encouraging


Considerate, Compassionate, Curatorial, Nurturing, Sympathetic, Solicitous, Mindful, Serious

Modality Toolkit

The leading theorist of this modality is the educationist Matthew Lipman, founder of the worldwide Philosophy for Children movement.

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Recommended Reading

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Questions for Synthesis


Questions for personal synthesis

How would you stack its four modes in order of relevance to your own personal philosophy of teaching?

Where would you place this modality in order of preference in the practice of Integrative Teaching (compared to meta-pedagogy, depth didactics, thinking in community and curriculum synergy.

Where would you place this modality in overall order of preference out of all sixteen modalities?

Questions for technical eclecticism

Which of the four component modes could enhance learning in your core Integrative practice?

How might this modality as a whole enhance any other modalities you are using?

Which techniques would you want to experiment with to improve your practice?

Questions for theoretical integration

What is the sixfold interplay between these four modes of practice?

What are the contrasts between the modes which make it difficult but still important to practice together?

Why is this modality essential to enhancing the other modalities of integrative teaching?

Questions for assimilative integration

How could the construction of this modality be improved?

How well does it correlate with other fields of practice not included in the EduSynthesis map?

Which missing aspects of theory might provide a better alternative in a map of your own practice?

What  are your personal preferences for imaginative teaching as an adult learner?

How you can appreciate different uses of language for educational purposes: oral language, writing, theoretic writing, reflexive writing?

How can you enhance your own academic writing in higher education?

How can you utilise imaginative teaching resources in your practice to engage learners?

How could you include all four kinds of understanding in one framework?

Teaching Exercises

How would you stack its four modes in order of relevance to your own personal philosophy of teaching?

Mentoring Exercises

Which of the four component modes could enhance learning in your core Integrative practice?

Leadership Exercises

What is the sixfold interplay between these four modes of practice?

Sustainability Exercises

How could the construction of this modality be improved?

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© 2024 EduSynthesis

Centre for Mindful Educational Leadership

Tim Saunders PhD


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