- BBC World News
Prince Philip, who died on Friday at the age of 99, had a mentor who helped him shape his personality: Kurt Hahn.
The educator was a German Jew who opposed and fled from the Nazis to later become a Duke of Edinburgh’s guide on education, whose influence is seen everywhere, although it is not named.
Hahn was instrumental in creating the program of pRemios Duke of Edinburgh, which has led millions of youth ages 14-24 into outdoor adventure and community service.
Established Gordounstoun, the private school in Scotland that has educated several members of the Royal family, and inspired the creation of dozens more schools around the world.
In a speech, Hahn once said that freedom and discipline “were not enemies.”
“There is more to you than you think” was the motto used by Kurt Hahn during his long and active life.
He advocated “experiential” learning: putting young people in situations that challenge them mentally and physically. He said he wanted to avoid the erosion of the “inherent spirituality” of children.
“If you take a look at the boys of any public or secondary school, you find them up to 13 years old full of curiosity, courteous, animated by joy and good humor,” he said.
“Then they reach the awkward age. They often lose their freshness and charm, sometimes forever“.
Hahn diagnosed six social ills:
- lack of physical fitness
- decline of initiative and purpose
- decline of imagination
- decline of crafts
- decline in dexterity
- decline of compassion.
To combat them, he developed a program to develop “moral independence”, physical well-being, and the ability to distinguish between right and wrong.
Born in Germany in 1886, Hahn suffered a severe heat stroke in 1904 and had the occipital bone at the back of his skull removed. Throughout her life she avoided sunlight and wore a wide-brimmed hat when outdoors, which gave her an air of eccentricity.
He co-founded the School castle (castle school) for boys in Salem, in the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg, in 1920.
Students had to go for a run before breakfast, drink milk at lunch, do 45 minutes of athletics during their mid-morning classes, and, after lunch, lie on their backs for 45 minutes while a teacher or older student told them. read aloud.
They also helped maintain the school.
On Saturdays, the boys they formed “guilds” of explorers, farmers and artists, which, according to Hahn, gave a “sparkle” to the eyes.
Prince Philip, who had been exiled from Greece after a revolution as a baby, arrived at Schloss in the autumn of 1933 at the age of 12.
It was a bad time for Hahn. In August 1932, five months before becoming chancellor of Germany, Hitler had forgiven the murder of a communist by the Nazi military.
Dismayed, Hahn had written a letter to the older boys of Salem, telling them to ignore hitler or break off relationships with the school:
“Germany is at stake, its Christian civilization, its reputation, its military honor,” he wrote.
In March 1933, Hahn was one of many people arbitrarily arrested after the Reichstag (parliament) was burned. He was allowed to leave Germany in July, after the intervention of the then British Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald.
The prince’s first approach
The following year, he founded the Gordonstoun School and took over a manor house in Morayshire, Scotland, an area where he had spent time while studying at Oxford before World War I.
Established it similar to the School castle.
One of her first students was Prince Philip, who had moved to the UK from Germany.
In Gordonstoun, the boys got up at 06:30 to take a cold shower and run, on a schedule very similar to that in Germany.
At 9:15 p.m. there was a quarter of an hour of silence to allow the student to “reap the harvest of his many experiences” before the lights went out.
“After a very difficult childhood, Gordonstoun gave Prince Philip a much-needed sense of stability“says Philip Eade, author of ‘Young Prince Philip’ “.
“Hahn’s spartan educational philosophy impressed the young prince, who sustained her throughout his life and undoubtedly helped him in many ways as the longest-serving consort in British history,” he adds.
At Gordonstoun much emphasis was placed on learning to sail, as it encouraged teamwork. They then went on to mountain and sea rescue, activities Hahn thought would instill in the youth a compassion for others.
Criticisms and defenses
Several opinion formers of the 1930s were impressed by Hahn’s ideas and strength of personality, including the Archbishop of York and novelist John Buchan.
But WB Curry, the principal of Dartington Hall School in Devon, was concerned that his ideas were “incompatible with a true liberal civilization” and that they were “the product of a tortured German soul.”
“I also insist that his psychology has much more roots in his own emotional nature than in the nature of other human beings,” he said.
Some students they complained after the Gordonstoun regime was too harsh and harassment rife.
Prince Charles, who attended in the 1960s, allegedly called it “Colditz in kilts” (referring to a British prison camp in Germany at WWII), while writer William Boyd compared being there to “slavery. penal”.
“It’s clearly not suitable for everyone, as Prince Charles’s miserable time in Gordonstoun demonstrated,” Eade notes.
But Daniel Emery, a student from 1985 to 1989, says he enjoyed his time there: “There is more to life than simple Academic achievements”, indicates. “It is important, of course, but Gordonstoun te gave zest for life“.
The Duke’s Prize
After founding Gordonstoun, Hahn dedicated himself to spreading his philosophy beyond the public schools.
In 1937 he started the Moray Badge program, which allowed children and young Get physical training, go on expeditions, and complete a project to win a prize. I wanted to extend this to the whole country, but the resources were lacking.
In 1941, he founded the Outward Bound School in Aberdovey, Wales, and along the same lines, established the larger Outward Bound Trust in 1946.
And in 1956 the Duke of Edinburgh’s prize scheme began.
Since then, participants can win bronze, silver and gold prizes, in exchange for volunteering for community service, learning activities and physical skills, and going on an expedition, such as a hike in the mountains or a boat trip.
The Duke of Edinburgh Awards are offered in more than 140 countries and territories. Almost 3 million have participated in the UK.
“Goodwill between nations”
Another aspect of Hahn’s thinking was internationalism.
“Nothing but goodwill between nations and courses they can save this generation from wars and revolutions, “he said in a speech in 1936.” And education can help build this foundation of goodwill as the foundation of future society. “
Hahn died in 1974. In 1986, the Duke of Edinburgh co-founded the Kurt Hahn Trust.
“He was an incredibly energetic man,” recalls Nicola Padfield, a teacher at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.
“I was really engaged. Much of the thinking behind the trust was to give people from different countries a voice. It is a fantastic message and it is still appropriate today. “
In 2007, the book Leadership the Outward Bound Way described his philosophy as “a unique combination of two traditions: the Greco-Roman form of tenacity, physical defiance, courage and perseverance, and the Judeo-Christian one of compassion, self-sacrifice, love and tolerance”.
Hahn, unlike other educational innovators of the early 20th century, such as the Italian Maria Montessori and the Austrian Rudolf Steiner, did not claim that her ideas were original.
He said that he had chosen useful elements from the works of figures such as Plato and the master Thomas Arnold of the 19th century.
Since the 1960s, the Round Square organization, with 150 member schools around the world, has promoted Hahn’s experiential philosophy.
And the enthusiasm of his best-known student was no less, more than seven decades after leaving Gordonstoun.
“You were destined to suffer,” Prince Philip joked as he presented the Duke of Edinburgh gold awards at a ceremony in 2013.
Remember that you can receive notifications from BBC News Mundo. Download the new version of our app and activate them so you don’t miss out on our best content.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.