Take math, for example. "You just sort of get dumped into math," he says.
"Why are you learning math? What's the point of this?" Musk says. "I don't know why am I being asked to do these strange problems."
Musk used another example to clarify his point. For example, simply listing the tools you need to take an engine apart isn't enough to learn how to do it. You also need to try it yourself, he suggests.
By "taking the engine apart and putting it back together," he says, "you learn about wrenches and screwdrivers and all the tools that you need." As a result, "you understand the relevance."
And he's right. A 2015 study by the University of Chicago found that students' understanding of science concepts, such as angular momentum and torque, was significantly aided by physically experiencing those forces. Students got higher scores on their science quizzes all thanks to trying things out themselves.
"The why of things is very important," says Musk, especially in subjects like math, physics or economics. Solving the problem yourself is "far more engaging than teaching the tools," he adds.
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