From about 1798 to 1830 The Lancasterian monitorial System 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.

Lancasterian Society

A Lancasterian Society was organized in the United States in the early 1800s to support the Monitorial System of education developed by Joseph Lancaster (1778-1838), supported in England by the Royal Lancasterian Society. For details on this method, see The Lancasterian Monitorial System of Education. However, Lancasterian schools encountered opposition and a decline in support after Lancaster's death. Its opponents charged that it failed to indoctrinate children in their parents' religions, that it encouraged discontent among the working class, and that more advanced students could not instruct as well as the growing number of persons seeking teaching jobs. Despite this opposition and the dissolution of the main Lancasterian societies, schools using the method persist to this day in many parts of the world and continue to turn out better educated citizens than most publicly funded schools are able to do.

On August 24, 2001, the Lancasterian Society was resurrected in Texas. See its Articles of Incorporation. During the months and years ahead it will seek to build support for the Lancasterian system, adapt it to modern situations, and found and operate a network of Lancasterian schools wherever local support for them can be sustained.

  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)