This is quite an open question since I'm not really after an answer but rather people's opinion on this matter.
I have been playing guitar for a fair bit an I've spoken and played along with many other amateur guitarists during that time.
I personally think of modes as major scales with different roots. This is just the way I learnt. For example, if you asked me to play a D Dorian scale, rather than playing a Dorian shape with D as the root, I would think of a complete (12 fret) Major shape with root C but play starting from the 2nd degree rather than the 1st.
I am aware that others learn the shapes of the modes and others think very abstractly about it, as intervals and relations.
What does everyone think is the best method and what is each method good for. I would like to learn all ways of thinking but I really don't have the time so I'll have to just stick with mine.
Open for opinions...