The Lancasterian Monitorial System of Education

of Joseph Lancaster

Qui docet, discit
He who teaches, learns

Joseph Lancaster (1778-1838) led a movement to establish schools that used what he called the Monitorial System, sometimes called the "Lancasterian" or "Lancastrian" System, in which more advanced students taught less advanced ones, enabling a small number of adult masters to educate large numbers of students at low cost in basic and often advanced skills. From about 1798 to 1830 it was highly influential, but was displaced by the "modern" system of grouping students into age groups taught using the lecture method, led by such educators as Horace Mann, and later inspired by the assembly-line methods of Frederick Taylor, although Lancaster's methods continue to be used and rediscovered today. Problems with the "modern" methods and the effects of the use of them are encouraging concerned persons to re-examine such earlier methods as those of Lancaster and adapt them to the current educational environment. Some of the documents which discuss the method and its use are now presented here.

  1.   Introduction, by Jon Roland (2001)
  2.   My Grandfather on Public Education, by Jon Roland (1998)
  3.      Improvements in Education as it Respects the Industrious Classes of the Community, by Joseph Lancaster (1803)(complete)
  4.   Improvements in Education as it Respects the Industrious Classes of the Community, by Joseph Lancaster (1805)
  5.      The British System of Education: Being a Complete Epitome of the Improvements and Inventions Practiced at the Royal Free Schools, Borough-Road, Southwark, by Joseph Lancaster (1810)(complete)
  6.   A Short Account of the Rise and Progress of the Lancasterian System, by Joseph Lancaster (1821)
  7.   The Lancasterian System of Education, by Joseph Lancaster (1821)
  8.   The Psychology of Monitorial Instruction, Westminster Review (1824)
  9.   Organization of the British and Foreign School Society (BFSS) (1813)
  10.   Monitorial Schools for Girls, by Ann Springmann (1814)
  11.   Address on Monitorial Education, by Governor DeWitt Clinton (1809)
  12.   Reminiscence of the Lancasterian School in Detroit, by B. O. Williams (~1818)
  13.   The Lancasterian Enthusiasm in South America, by James Thomson (1824)
  14.   Monitorial Instruction, by John Griscom (1825)
  15.      The Practical Parts of Lancaster's Improvements and Bell's Experiment, ed. David Salmon (1932)

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