Beyond the Blackboard: Building Character in Public Schools

Audio not yet available
Email a Friend
The hallway in an Expeditionary Learning school in Springfield, MA.

In the 1940s, a British headmaster named Kurt Hahn set up a wilderness school called Outward Bound to teach young men the skills they needed to survive World War II — skills like leadership, persistence, and working together. Hahn believed these were skills conventional schools should focus on too.

Fifty years later, Hahn’s ideas about education inspired the founding of a network of public schools in the United States. Students in these schools outperform their peers when it comes to test scores and graduation rates — and also motivation, academic engagement and problem-solving ability.

This documentary from American RadioWorks explores the “Expeditionary Learning” approach, traces the history of ideas that led to its inception, and investigates what American schools could learn from its success.

This special is the last in a four-part education series from American RadioWorks. Revisit the first episode, the second episode and the third episode.


  • Saturday, September 26 at 6am on 93.9FM/NJPR
  • Saturday, September 26 at 2pm on AM 820
  • Saturday, September 26 at 9pm on NJPR
  • Sunday, September 27 at 8pm on AM 820 and 93.9FM