The Knowledge Management Research Group

The problem/solution pattern applied to late mathematics education


Interpretation: A third variation on the problem-solution pattern appears in the later (often called higher) parts of mathematical education and research. This pattern shows the conceptual difficulties being dissolved into academic status, driven by a publicational system that operates according to the well-known principle of publish or perish. This leads to another kind of understanding dys-functionality - where research articles are written, not in order to be genuinely understood, but rather in order to ‘pee in an academic habitat', which means to ‘fend of intruders' and stake an intellectual claim which is as large as possible. This leads to the nurturing of difficulties for yet another reason - namely in order to maintain the status of the professional mathematician: Mathematics is difficult - because - I understand it, and I am smarter than you.

In summary, these three versions of the problem-solution pattern in mathematics education cooperate in reinforcing the opinion that “mathematics is difficult“.

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