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CHARTING COURSE: There is more in you than you think!

Category: Option E Educating

Submitted by on Fri 25/11/16 05:42

Kurt Hahn was the principal of a German boarding school as Hitler and the Nazi Party rose to power. 
He spoke out against them in 1933 after Stormtroopers killed a young Communist in front of the boy’s mother. In response to his protest, Hahn was thrown in jail and later exiled from his homeland. 
From Scotland, he endured the agony of watching World War II unfold. Of Jewish descent, he realised that many of his family, friends, former students and colleagues had been sent to gas chambers and deadly labour camps.
Horrified, he questioned what could make thousands of average men and women willingly play a part in the Nazi death machine? How could still more have stood by and passively allowed it to happen?
He also discovered that human beings could be capable of the mirror opposite. Many Europeans had put their own and their family's lives in danger while harbouring Jews and political refugees. Underground resistance had spread throughout Europe. 
He finally realised that people had the potential to fulfil either destiny.
In his research, he found that young children tended to have natural compassion and strong values and principles. But this could change around the age of fifteen if six elements of contemporary society were not challenged. These were:

  1. The decline of fitness due to modern methods of moving about
  2. The decline of initiative and enterprise due to widespread ‘spectator-itis’
  3. The decline in memory and imagination due to the confused restlessness of modern life
  4. The decline of skill and care due to the weakened tradition of craftsmanship
  5. The decline of self-discipline due to the ever-present availability of stimulants and tranquillisers
  6. The decline of compassion due to the ‘unseemly haste’ with which modern like is conducted

This is what Hahn always told his students: “There is more in you than you think!” 
He wanted to help them become the best version of themselves and this goal was at the heart of his philosophy for educating mind, body and spirit. In 1956, he also helped Prince Philip set up the widely acclaimed Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.
The basis of his experiential programs was to encourage participation of hearts, minds and hands. He targetted four main types of activy:

  1. Fitness training
  2. Expeditions
  3. Projects 
  4. Rescue service

If he could challenge them mentally, physically and emotionally, he found that teenagers tended to become self-reliant, compassionate, disciplined, and determined. 
We also seek to educate students holistically. Not only are we concerned with academic performance, creative power, curiosity and problem solving, we’re also concerned with enlivening ideas and beliefs, valuing diversity and inclusiveness, and fostering resilience, reflection, respect, responsibility, empathy and caring.
All of these character traits serve young people for life and eternity. 
Through involvement in real life experiences such as mission service, peer mentoring, and projects and expeditions, students become ‘crew’ rather than mere ‘passengers’. This is the mindset that will takes them into a future where they can serve God and their community faithfully and well. 


AUTHOR: Principal Leanne Entermann writes a series of articles called 'Charting Course' in which she talks about topics important to the future direction of our College.


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