Hahn's educational philosophy was based on respect for adolescents, whom he believed to possess an innate decency and moral sense, but who were corrupted by society as they aged. He believed that education could prevent this corruption, if students were given opportunities for personal leadership and to see the results of their own actions. This is one reason for the focus on outdoor adventure in his philosophy. Kurt Hahn proposed that young people are exposed to six declines:
1. Decline of Fitness due to modern methods of locomotion;
2. Decline of Initiative and
3. Decline of Memory and Imagination due to the confused restlessness of modern life;
4. Decline of Skill and Care due to the weakened tradition of craftsmanship;
5. Decline of Self-discipline due to the ever-present availability of stimulants and tranquilizers;
And worst of all:6. Decline of Compassion due to the unseemly haste with which modern life is conducted or as William Temple refred to it as 'spiritual death'.