For all of you who laughed at me the other day when I mentioned Warcraft and learning in the same breath, there is a great article over at Inisde Higher Ed. that talks about using fear and humiliation as legitimate teaching aids. A few quotes:
"A 25-person raid is the same size as a class, and like a class its leader can only take it to places places that it is willing to go. Teaching, like learning to down a boss, is about helping people grow their comfort zone by getting them to spend time outside of it. The question is how to push people so that they will be ready to learn, instead of ready to tear their hair out.
"Almost immediately I could see why its members were successful — their raid leader did not pull his punches. In the middle of fight I would hear him saying things like “Xibby, don’t think I don’t see you healing melee — please do your job and focus on the tank.” At times — like when our Paladin failed repeatedly to engage Thaladred the Darkener, who responded by repeatedly blowing up our warlocks — voices were raised.
"A willingness to take risks can also be shored up by commitment and drive. Our guest leader drove my guildies nuts, but impressed me with his professionalism. Does this mean that after graduate school even generous doses of sadism seem unremarkable?"
It's a very good article, I recommend reading the entire thing.