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The Lancasterian Education System: History and Overview

In the early 19th century, there existed problems in the education sphere because not many parents could afford to send their children to school. It was evident that a new decision was necessary to make school education more accessible and preserve decent outcomes. Joseph Lancaster, an English developer, made a famous attempt to address this issue and created the Lancasterian system.

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Numerous educational organizations and committees highly appreciated the given method because it allowed to educate up to 1,000 children in a single room and successfully teach them industrial thinking, attention, subordination, and others. That is why further research is necessary to understand how it was possible to achieve these positive results.

To begin with, one should explain that the Lancasterian system of education represented detailed guidance for teachers and educators. Singer (2019) mentions that this method was a code of instructions, rewards, and punishments to help pupils achieve educational objectives. For example, attentive reading was possible when a child stood erect and looked at the speaking person. Lancaster also divided children according to their abilities and knowledge in reading, writing, and mathematics.

The most skillful pupils became monitors who were teachers’ assistants (Dockterman, 2018). This approach resulted in the fact that a few teachers were necessary to educate many students.

However, one should mention that the Lancasterian system also implied essential drawbacks. Firstly, Espinoza (2019) stipulates that the system was effective while governments were supporting it financially. The absence of this support resulted in the fact that education quality decreased. Secondly, the distribution of children in competent groups resulted in reduced motivation for less skillful students (Dockterman, 2018). Finally, Racine (2020) stipulates that the system under consideration was associated with many inconsistencies. One of them refers to the fact that the focus on mass education made the elite lose their privileged position.

In conclusion, the Lancasterian system was an essential phenomenon in the education sphere in the early 19th century. It became possible to achieve successful results with the help of precise instructions and monitors who supported teachers. The system also implied significant disadvantages, including the need for financial support, decreased motivation among pupils, and the inconsistencies in its nature. Consequently, the Lancasterian system was an essential attempt to improve education, but it required significant improvements to become suitable for the whole population.

References

Dockterman, D. (2018). Insights from 200+ years of personalized learning. npj Science of Learning, 3(15). Web.

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Espinoza, G. A. (2019). National education systems. Latin America. In J. L. Rury & E. H. Tamura (Eds.), The [Oxford] handbook of the history of education (pp. 199-212). Oxford University Press.

Racine, K. (2020). Monitors and moralists: The Lancasterian system of mutual education and the vision of a new moral order in Spanish America, 1818-1832. History of Education, 49(2), 143-159.

Singer, A. (2020). What if our schools are working? Base, superstructure, and hegemony in education. In M. Silver (Ed.), Confronting capitalism in the 21st century (pp. 269-280). Palgrave Macmillan.

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