I'm considering reteaching a skill to some students who need a second chance, but the black binder points out I am already behind our corporation's curriculum mapping pace and cannot take time to reteach. I must stick to the map. Teach them. Test them. Fail them. Move them on.
As wrong answers continue, the shock increases in intensity until the learner begs to be released. Finally, after severe shocks, the learner become silent, presumably unconscious.
Milgram polled students and colleagues, "What percentage of 'teachers' will shock the learner with the maximum 450 volts, even though the learner has begged the teacher to stop?" Their estimate averaged 1.2%.
In repeated trials, teachers shocked learners with the massive blast 60 to 65% of the time.
Milgram's true purpose was to test the "teacher". When faced to obey an authority figure whose directives conflicted with their conscience, what would people do? Milgram had this to say about the results of the experiment:
"Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority."And so it goes in education today.
I have the tools of the destructive process on my desk. No wonder I am stressed and demoralized.
Am I to be the state's agent? No way. But unlike the experiment, I cannot get up and simply walk away. Instead, I wrote this down. And now I share it with you.