The conflict between Joseph Lancaster, Andrew Bell and their respective supporters over priority in the discovery and development of monitorial schooling usually appears as a quaint historical episode in work on this pedagogy. This two-part article focuses on it directly. Part one outlines the literature on conflicts over priority in techno-scientific discovery. It examines the early history of monitorial pedagogy and shows that the initial contacts between the eventual protagonists were more or less in a spirit of experimental cooperation. Part two documents the conditions for the emergence of the dispute over priority in invention and follows its course through the periodical, pamphlet and sermon literature. The article concludes by noting that while claims to novelty and invention in pedagogy were ultimately abandoned, nonetheless, agreement on a standard model came to be accepted as the basis of pedagogical practice.

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Keywords boundaries of science, discovery, monitorial schooling, politics of education, Priority disputes
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Journal Paedagogica Historica
Curtis, B. (2016). Priority, politics and pedagogical science: Part I: the mental steam-engine. Paedagogica Historica, 52(6), 661–773. doi:10.1080/00309230.2016.1205636