The reform pedagogue and founder of OUTWARD BOUND Kurt Hahn (1886-1974) is described as the forefather of experiential education. His educational idea was based on thoughts of Plato, Goethe, Fichte, Pestalozzi and Lietz (founder of the country education homes). Against the "deficiency symptoms" in the youth of his time there was a cure, according to Kurt Hahn, namely the experience therapy. The core of this educational concept was, in modern terms, a compact, nature-related outdoor training. Kurt Hahn gave this program the name "OUTWARD BOUND". This term comes from the seafaring industry and describes the condition of a ship equipped with all the necessary equipment and ready to go on a big trip. Hahn used this description as a synonym for the preparation of young people for the Great Journey into Life.
Hahn defined various elements of character formation to prepare for this "Great Journey into Life." * The four (later five) individual elements can not be interchanged, but are equally necessary from his point of view:
- Physical fitness:
It should counteract the decay of physical fitness and develop and improve physical abilities. The good physical condition was necessary as a basis for expeditions and rescue services. Athletic exercises and diverse natural sports (depending on the area, water sports or snow sports) should enable even lower performers to experience success.
Here, in addition to the increase in physical performance, the youthful urge to explore should be satisfied. In one-day or multi-day tours on foot, by bicycle, canoe or sailing ship, young people - alone or in a group - should have original experiences and discover and expand their abilities.
They should make mental, craft or artistic demands on the adolescents and include "head, heart and hand". A high level of self-employment should contribute to self-discovery. Effort and effort, as well as care and responsibility, were inevitable to reach the goal.
- Service to the next / emergency services:
They served as a measure against the lack of human sympathy and were firmly integrated into the educational program of the schools (Salem!) And short schools.
Later, the concept was extended to include this fifth element. This refers to the renunciation of alcohol, nicotine and other drugs.
With these elements of "experience therapy", which were interlinked, Hahn wanted to counteract the deficits of the public school system and to enable the adolescents a Ganzeitliche personality education. To realize it, he used the visual effect of the founded by him land education home Salem (Gymnasiuminternat).
* (See Ruth Merk: Classroom under Sails, p. 21ff, Czwalina Verlag Hamburg 2006)
The elements of the experience therapy "then and now"
Projects back then
These should provide mental, craft or artistic requirements to the young people, including "head, heart and hand". A high level of self-employment should contribute to self-discovery. Effort and effort, as well as care and responsibility, were inevitable to achieve the goals.
Within the framework of projects, the participants will solve their chosen tasks together with diligence, patience and perseverance. Here, too, the process and the result form an action unit that is reflected on self-critically. On the class trip itself, there is the possibility of teaching tools for independent project work, eg. B. Communication rules for solving problems.
Training at that time
This should develop and improve the fitness and physical abilities to counteract the decay of physical fitness. The good physical condition was necessary as a basis for expeditions and the rescue service. Athletic exercises and a variety of natural sports (water or mountain sports, depending on the area) should allow even lower-powered participants a sense of achievement.
Physical training is about improving one's general condition, increasing sensitivity to the importance of health and physical and mental wellbeing through new body experiences and a more conscious body sensation. This includes not only indications of the dangers of wrong nutrition and addiction problems (cognitive), it is more about practiced responding to the natural needs (sensitive, motor, emotional) of humans. In practice, an experiential education program provides a framework in which the participants tackle challenges together to strengthen their stamina. This means facing situations that require overcoming and approaching them with moderation and care. Excessive stress leads to fatigue, in the worst case to self-endangerment or endangerment of the group. Too high a tempo, or the temptation of wanting to achieve too much at the same time or too fast, jeopardizes the achievement of set goals. A realistic self-assessment of one's strengths and weaknesses, the perception of the strengths and weaknesses of the other group members are prerequisites, these dangers to escape. To learn this self-assessment requires a variety of experiences in which each individual - controlled and assuredly feels the limits at which excessive demands begin.
Expedition back then
In addition to the increase in physical performance and the youthful urge to research should be satisfied and encouraged. In one-day or multi-day tours on foot, by bicycle, canoe or sailing ship, young people - alone or in a group - should have original experiences and discover and expand their abilities.
The expedition means actually going out into the (re) world, where both the process and the outcome of this eruption are significant. For the children and adolescents, the expedition should always be a task of solemn and serious character, the solution of which depends on the individual member and on the whole group. Ultimately it does not come down to overcoming distances, but rather to "getting something for yourself". The expedition offers the possibility of being interdependent in the humanity through the situation. The closeness, wishes and needs of each individual must be respected in order to generate a good success in the group. It is important not only to be careful when dealing with each other, but also with the environment. In this way, reactions to the actions of others can be researched in the same way as their reaction to their own actions is perceived. Mutual appreciation arises by sharing these effects.
In the example mountain tour means not only the independent planning of such a project, but also to take care of each other, as for example the walking speed for each suitably to arrange, or insert if necessary a drinking break.
Rescue services at that time
They served as a measure against the lack of human sympathy and were firmly integrated into the educational program of schools (for example: Schule Schloss Salem) and short schools.
Rescue service today
The ambulance service used to be heavily involved in related fields of activity (such as first aid, fire, mountain and marine rescue). Since these services have become so professionalized that children and adolescents hardly have a chance to be effectively used there, increasingly ecologically oriented tasks are given comparable rank and can acquire practical significance, not least in connection with the project.
Renunciation at that time
This refers to the renunciation of alcohol, nicotine and other drugs.
Phases of processing and deceleration are gaining in value. This is also the deliberate renunciation of social media meant as a break from our current, fast-moving online society. Programs in which soft, meditative, contemplative and correspondingly professionally implemented reflexive elements are meaningfully embedded in addition to the hard actions, make a decisive contribution to the promotion of individual resilience competencies.