The Knowledge Management Research Group

The discriminator-questions pattern

Interpretation: This pattern shows the filtering influence of a series of discriminator-questions that confront people that participate in the later (= higher) part of the educational process. The first discriminator is given by the question: “Do you understand?“ If the answer is ‘yes', the next discriminator-question is “Do you want to make money?“ If you answer this question by ‘no', then you probably go into some form of Academia, where you are confronted with the third discriminator-question: “Are you creative?“. If your answer to this question is ‘yes', you probably become a researcher, otherwise you probably become a (academic) teacher. This is the pattern that operates behind the well-known academic contempt that the successful researcher has for the successful teacher. Within academia, if you are a good teacher, you are considered by default to be a bad researcher - until you have delivered evidence to the contrary.

Going back to the second question, if you did understand your later education, but you do want to make money, then you go into business. In this case, if you are creative, you become a consultant and market your skills in various ways, whereas if you are not, you become an employee. In both cases you work as a specialist (= dealing with special problems, i.e. trouble-shooting) - the difference is mainly the form (= security) of employment: F-skatt for the consultant, A-skatt for the employed specialist.

Going back to the first question, if you didn't understand your later education, but you do want to make money, then you also go into business. If you are not creative, you get employed as a “routine-ist” (≈ clerk). This is a person that takes part in operating the everyday schedule of things - as opposed to a specialist, that deals with special situations.

If, on the other hand you are creative, you become an artist, and often a commercially successful one. Going back one level, if you didn't want to make money, but you are still creative, then you also become an artist, but in this case you are not so commercially successful. Instead you tend to “realize your inner artistic potential“ in various ways, often enduring substantial forms of economic hardships on the way.

Finally, if you didn't understand the material of your later education, didn't want to make money and weren't creative, then you are subjected to the fourth discriminator-question: “Are you socially conscious?“ If your answer is ‘yes', then chances are that you become a teacher in the earlier parts of the educational process.

The Discriminator-Questions pattern has a bearing on why early teaching has become so dominated by women. The social form of intelligence displayed in the traditional female role-model is very lowly valued by the economic society, which is reflected in the low salaries associated with early teaching.

An important aspect of the Discriminator-Questions pattern is the order in which the questions are asked. In this pattern the question concerning social intelligence is the one that is asked last, which reflects its lesser degree of estimated importance. Since there are four different questions involved, there are 24 different ways to order them. Each one gives a different filter of discrimination. It is an interesting exercise to play around with the order of these questions and reflect a bit on the corresponding labeling of categories.

The Discriminator-Questions pattern has a profound impact on the educational situation in general, but its effects are probably most pronounced in mathematics. The aspect of the pattern that concerns this issue is the following: Many people who did not understand the material presented during their later education in mathematics (= higher courses) are recruited to teach the earlier parts.

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