: Gordonstoun School: The History of Dr. Kurt Hahn and the Duke of Edinburgh Award

Dr. Kurt Hahn was a German educator and philosopher with a vision for education to change the world.

He spent his childhood in exile, traveling around Europe as part of his father’s diplomatic service.

This experience had a profound influence on him, which is apparent through his future accomplishments in finding Gordonstoun School.

He created many initiatives, such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award and Outward Bound International.

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Hahn was born in 1886.

He went to school at the University of Berlin, where he studied philosophy and pedagogy, earning degrees in both areas by 1910.

As a young man, he traveled around Europe with his father, who served as the German ambassador to Italy and Turkey until Hahn’s parents divorced when he was thirteen years old.

After the divorce, Hahn’s father received custody of him and his brother.

His sister had already moved out with her mother.

The time after this was tough on the boys.

They were isolated from their former social circle in Berlin, ostracized for having divorced parents.

It was also tricky because they lived in separate homes; Kurt only visited his brother during vacations.

Hahn Hahn found an interest in education after he taught at a school he had attended as a child.

He was immediately dissatisfied with how students were being educated and felt that something was missing from the German educational system.

He later wrote about this experience:

“I felt driven to find a better way of educating young people, one geared more closely to the interests of growing boys and girls.

So I made up my mind that I would have to build an experimental school in which teachers would be free to try out new ideas without being hampered by convention.”

Hahn’s vision for education was rooted in his experience of exile as a young man.

The isolation that the Hahn brothers experienced because of their parents’ divorce seems to have had a lasting effect on him.

He believed that it was important for people to be part of one another’s lives and that isolation prevented personal growth.

Because he felt so strongly about this, Hahn focused on creating an educational system that would promote understanding.

Learn more about Gordonstoun: https://which-boarding-school.com/school/gordonstoun/