Hahn's Educational Principles
Major Educational Projects
"I regard it as the foremost task of education to ensure the survival of
an enterprising curiosity,
tenacity in pursuit,
readiness for sensible self denial,
- Kurt Hahn
(Quotes by Kurt Hahn)
Speeches by Kurt Hahn
- Hahn, K. (1936). Education and Peace: The Foundation of Modern Society.
Reprinted from the Inverness Courier, March 26th.
- Hahn, K. (1940). The Love of Enterprise, The Love of Aloneness, The
Love of Skill. Speech, 22nd December, Liverpool
Hahn, K. (1947).
Training for and through the sea. Address given
to the Honourable Mariner’ Company, 20th February, Glasgow.
K. (1958). Address at the Forty-Eighth Annual Dinner of Old Centralians
Grocer's Hall, London, 17th Nov. 1958. The Journal of Old Centralians.
London, No.119, Feb. 1959, pp. 3-8.
- Hahn, K. (1960).
Outward Bound. Speech, 20th
July, Outward Bound Trust Annual Meeting, UK.
- Hahn, K. (1965). Harrogate Address on Outward Bound. Speech, 6th
May, Harrogate, UK.
Biographies of Kurt Hahn
Recommended Kurt Hahn Online
Kurt Hahn Articles &
Related Links On This Site
Introduction to Kurt Hahn
Robert Martin Hahn
(5 June, 1886 - 14 December, 1974)
- Eccentric, charismatic educator, who born into a cultured Jewish industrialist
family in Germany in 1886.
- Inspirational founder and significant contributor to many well-recognized, innovative experiential,
social development, and outdoor education schools and programs.
"no one else in our day
more original educational ideas
and, at the same time,
possessed the gift
of getting them into practice"
(London Times, December, 1974).
- Believed in
education which called forth and developed the deepest qualities of
character and compassion. Due to the ills of modern life, Hahn
believed in the need for real,
hands-on, practical challenges for the development of character.
- Educated at
Wilhelm Gymnasium, Berlin, University of Göttingen and Christchurch,
Oxford (where he studied philosophy and classics).
- While he was in high school,
Hahn spent a summer vacation (1902) in the Dolomites with friends from
Abbotsholme, an English public School. During this trip, in discussions
about the English Public school system, a fascination with educational
ideas was sparked. This led to a later obsession about education
that was strongly influenced by studies of
- Baden Powell,
- Cecil Reddie,
- Dr Arnold of Rugby,
- Herman Lietz and others.
- Two years later (1904), at the
age of 18/19, Hahn suffered severe sunstroke which required a long period
of recovery during which he studied and formulated in greater depth the
educational system which he promoted throughout his life. The
sunstroke also left a degree of permanent disability that nurtured Hahn's
courageous aphorism "your disability is your opportunity"
- Hahn believed that each child
is born with innate spiritual powers and ability to make correct judgments
about moral issues. However, in the progression through adolescence, the
child loses these spiritual powers and the ability to make moral judgments
because of, what Hahn calls, the diseased society (see the
6 declines) and the impulses of
- To ameliorate the social
declines/diseases, Hahn prescribed 4 antidotes. One of these was the
pursuit of physical fitness and physical challenge through physical
education. Hahn believed in helping students to strengthen their natural
physical aptitudes and overcome natural physical weaknesses.
- As a result of
the destruction of the first world war, Hahn became determined to promote peace
- At the end of the first world
war, Hahn was personal assistant to Prince Max von Baden, a scholarly and
humane man. In 1920 they co-founded Salem Schloss Schule, a boarding
- Hahn publically
protested the rise of Hitler and the Nazi regimen. Due his
opposition he was arrested (1933)
and then exiled, subsequently living most of his
life in the UK.
- Encouraged by his friends in
Britain, Hahn founded a new school, Gordonstoun, in an abandoned
castle, Scotland (1934) based on his evolving educational principles.
- Hahn considered there to be
nothing new in his schools. He claimed that his educational philosophy
was simply a pastiche
from a variety of other sources. Hahn's argument was that he preferred material that was already
proven to work rather than to experiment. The secret of success,
however, lay in the unique selection and combination of the principles
that Hahn decided to "borrow", combined with Hahn's charistmatic
energy and persuasive ability to put his ideas into action.
- One phrase Hahn used to sum up
the philosphy of his educational prgrams was that "there is more in you than think" (plus est en vous)