Tomales, CA (PressExposure) March 11, 2013 -- Virtually all educators agree that "critical thinking" is of primary importance to instruction, and is an irreplaceable part of every child's learning process. But despite this agreement, there are surprisingly few children's books that illuminate a deep conception of critical thinking.
Dr. Linda Elder, educational psychologist and president of The Foundation for Critical Thinking, is helping to bridge this gap. In her new children's book, Fairminded Fran and the Three Small Black Community Cats, Elder introduces her readers to the growing plight of "feral cats", while simultaneously introducing them to critical thinking as a transformative concept. Many animal rights advocates and teachers across the nation have expressed strong support for the book as a teaching tool.
The book tells the story of Fran, a young girl who finds three, small, black cats living behind her school. Fran's concern for the cats' well-being compels her to find the best way to help. In the end, Fairminded Fran must use her newfound knowledge to convince her classmates to understand feral cats by using critical thinking skills to make better choices.
Elder said that "I hope - through this book - to contribute to the literature on humane education, while highlighting essential critical thinking concepts and dispositions. Through the book, children can see fair-minded critical thinking, selfish critical thinking and naÃ¯ve thinking... all of which play divergent roles in human thought. When students learn critical thinking in connection with important issues like those surrounding community cats, they come to see, increasingly over time, the value in fair-minded critical thought. When we as a society value fair-minded critical thinking in every domain of human life and thought, we will begin to create fair-minded critical societies."
Elder has written several books and guides for elementary level instruction, including The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking for Children and its accompanying teacher's manual. She has co-authored four books on critical thinking and 23 "Thinker's Guides", including the recently revised and expanded 30 Days to Better Living Through Critical Thinking. In addition, Elder has taught psychology and critical thinking at the college level and has given presentations to more than 20,000 educators at all levels. Elder has also developed an original stage theory of critical thinking development. Concerned with understanding and illuminating the relationship between thinking and affect, and the barriers to critical thinking, Elder has placed these issues at the center of her thinking and her work.
To see book reviews, media images and page samples from Fairminded Fran, visit: http://www.fairfranscommunitycats.org
For other publications from the Foundation for Critical Thinking, visit: http://www.criticalthinking.org
About the Foundation and Center for Critical Thinking
The Center for Critical Thinking was established in 1980 (with the first International Conference on Critical Thinking) by Dr. Richard Paul, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, at Sonoma State University. Paul is considered one of the founders of modern critical thinking, and is internationally recognized for his contributions to the field of critical thinking.
The Foundation for Critical Thinking, a recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization, was established in 1990 to integrate the Center's research and theoretical developments, and to create events and resources designed to help educators improve their instruction. The Foundation's materials include books, thinker's guides, and videos. The Foundation sponsors the National Academy: Training for Trainers, the International Academy on Critical Thinking and various workshops on critical thinking. The Foundation also works with institutions in designing critical thinking professional development programs.
Both the Center and Foundation for Critical Thinking are internationally recognized for advancing the concept of fairminded critical thinking within education and society. They receive more than 150,000 unique visits per month to their website, from more than 100 countries. The organizations reach out to educators at all levels, in all subjects and disciplines, and develop curriculum materials to achieve this end. They also develop critical thinking books and guides for people of all ages interested in developing their reasoning abilities. In addition, the organizations sponsor conferences, academies, seminars and workshops in critical thinking. Tens of thousands of educators, government officials, business leaders, home study parents, graduate students (and others) have attended their conferences and workshops since their inception.