“The quality of everything we do depends on the quality of the thinking we do first.” (Kline, 2009)
The Thinking Environment is a philosophy of communication, a practical series of values-based applications which arise from the teaching and coaching work of Nancy Kline (1999 and 2009).
The TeachNorthern programme and Community of Praxis operate as much as possible in a Thinking Environment: it frames the culture of how we are together, on- and offline.
Nancy Kline describes the Thinking Environment as a “way of being in the world” (Kline, 2009) and the same principles and practices are as useful in family, community, campaigning and relationship life as they are in a working context.
A Thinking Environment occurs when the Ten Components, or principles, are held in balance. These provide the most fertile ground in which the Applications of a Thinking Environment can flourish, providing the ideal conditions for decision-making. The Applications dovetail beautifully with other approaches as long as, within each Application, the few simple but rigorous rules are purely held. Over time, a Thinking Environment culture develops, which enables the best thinking of all participants. Respectful, attentive listening and criticality of thought become the hallmark of any group which has learned these disciplines and is carried forward by individuals to each forum with which they engage, and into their lives.
Working with Thinking Environments has shaped my practice and understanding. Because I began to really tackle the untrue limiting assumptions which were stifling my potential, I became profoundly changed as a thinker and consequently as a teacher, parent, daughter, friend, colleague, partner and leader. I now – perhaps belatedly – think for myself, even when that’s difficult, even when it takes time and effort and discipline. I’ve learned that to take this time, saves time (check out Emily Havers’ research around this, here).
The Thinking Environment is subtle and profound and yet the Applications themselves are so simple that they are sometimes dismissed by those who feel “Nancy” is not for them. That’s fair enough. But it might be worth just a few moments thinking what you’re assuming, that makes you think there’s nothing in here for you to learn…
Kline, N (1999) Time to Think London Ward Lock
Kline, N (2009) More Time to Think Burley-in-Wharfedale Fisher King
Available via iBooks. Time to Think is also available in audio format via iBooks or http://www.timetothink.com