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Multidimensional Thinking in a Community of Inquiry vs. Critical Thinking

Farzaneh Shahrtash


John Dewey’s most basic assumption was that learning improves to the degree that it arises out of the process of reflection. Dewey initially used the terms ‘critical thinking’ and ‘reflective thinking’ interchangeably by putting critical thinking as the main part of reflection. As time went on, terminologies concerning reflection proliferated, spawning a host of synonyms such as “Critical Thinking” (CT), “Problem Solving,” “Inquiry” and “Higher Order Thinking” (HOT). Reflective thinking now refers to the whole process of thinking, while critical thinking is simply a type of thinking accompanied by creative thinking. The “Community of Inquiry” (COI) however, is both cognitive and affective. It includes empathy and insights that make students more competent in making good judgments. The Philosophy for Children (P4C) movement adopted the COI methodology to enhance the dialogical and multi-dimensional thinking skills to help students do philosophy instead of merely learning about Philosophy.


reflective thinking; Inquiry; critical thinking (CT); “Community of Inquiry” (COI); “Philosophy for Children” (P4C)

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