Ocean College is partially inspired by Kurt Hahn, in 1941, Hahn developed a program called “outward bound”. Its core principle is allowing students to learn from real environments and experiences. The term outward bound is borrowed from English navigation and describes a ship, equipped with all the necessary materials and knowledge, ready and able to sail out to sea. Hahn saw this as a metaphor for the preparation of young people for the great journey of life.
The student’s day to day tasks, where they are accompanied by experts in multiple departments, provide a supportive educational environment where they can experience and learn about various activities. Additionally, students will be confronted with new social situations on board, that they may encounter again later in life.
Ocean College’s philosophy has also been influenced by Heinrich Pestalozzi’s “learning with head, heart and hand”. Understanding is not possible without experience – an approach still in use today, supported by studies on the neurobiology of learning, which says we learn with all our senses. Experiences bring profound understanding and leave a lasting impression.
What these two great thinkers had recognized and implemented during the 18th and 19th centuries, has been reinforced in recent years by prominent scientists and personalities. Recognized experts in neurobiology, such as Gerhard Roth and Gerald Huether, Richard David Precht, an honorary professor of philosophy, Harald Lesch, in physics and natural philosophy and Manfred Spitzer, a prominent German psychologist, all bring harsh criticisms against the conventional school system. In an increasingly complex, multi-faceted, networking world, the old approach to education is becoming increasingly useless. The challenges of the 21st century can no longer be overcome with traditional schooling methods, which are often based on uniformity, memorization and linear curriculum. When an organization such as the German Rail System no longer puts any value on school grades when selecting an apprentice, it should become clear to most that the traditional schools and their grading systems are no longer relevant. Students should be educated on sustainability, learn how to deal with complex situations and how to communicate in a global world. Young adults should be given the opportunities to develop their personalities and answer important questions about themselves. Who am I? What can I do? What do I want?
Adolescents should be able to bring their own strengths to their challenges and environments. We know that our lessons are comprehensible and can be practically applied to life outside of school. Going slowly is a strength in an increasingly fast-paced world. Instead of just learning in school, we want our students to learn through life and thus be better prepared for their futures.