Springer's Teaching Philosophy

Learning physics requires a substantial amount of time spent not only working problems but on individual reflection on the ramifications of what one has read/calculated/heard. If physics were to be learned entirely in a lecture/discussion format, students would have to spend most of their day engaged in that format. As that is not presently part of the Duke Physics curriculum, instead the lecture/discussion portion is used to let students know what the key concepts are that they need to address, why that is the case, and how these concepts fit in with the larger picture addressed within and without the course. Lectures will contain substantive details and representative calculations. But those details are unlikely to be fully appreciated by students until they work them out (again) themselves. One important side effect is that information will be presented more quickly than it can be assimilated in real time. Hopefully the lecture will cause students to think of questions and of ideas they wish to explore further. I am happy to answer questions, in class or out, e-mail first if you want to make sure I am in my office.

Another key point in my teaching philosophy is that every student should be challenged to do more than s/he thinks is possible. If anyone ever received a perfect score on one of my exams, I would consider that exam a failure in that it did not allow the student to explore the limits of his/her capacity.