In-service Teacher Professional Development

Widener’s Science Teaching Center is in the process of creating unique professional development for in-service teachers. Contact Dr. Nadine McHenry for more information.

Widener Partnership Charter School

Teachers at WPCS have been trained in Inquiry based Learning by the Science Teaching Center. Inquiry, as contrasted with more traditional forms of teaching and learning, emphasizes the process of learning in order to develop deep understanding in students in addition to the intended acquisition of content knowledge and skills. Inquiry based learning draws upon constructivist learning theories, where understanding is built through the active development of conceptual frameworks and schemas by the learner.


Research & Implementation of Professional Development to Improve Science Education in Elementary School


SE Delco Middle School

In the fall of 2013, Widener University Faculty began working with SE Delco Middle School Science Teachers focusing on the implementation of inquiry-based teaching and learning practices. The Teachers learned the theoretic bases of inquiry as well as developed familiarity with the 5E model of inquiry. The purpose of the professional development was to increase the effectiveness of their planning and pedagogical skills in the implementation of inquiry based learning experiences.

Once Teachers understood the 5E framework, they created units that they could use in their science classrooms. SE Delco Teachers and WU faculty collaborated on the development of these units during the PD sessions. Teachers then submitted their final units for review by the WU Faculty.

When planning was complete, the Teachers were videotapes via Adobe Connect and WU faculty provided feedback regarding the fidelity of their implementation with the 5E model. WU Faculty conducted qualitative research on their observations and used this research to develop a second iteration of PD for these same teachers.

In the 2014/15 academic years, SE Delco teachers continued to work with WU Faculty as they improved on their planning and implementation practices.  Teachers revised their 2013/14 units and created another unit plan using the same 5E model. Videotaping and review continued through the spring semester while the WU Faculty continue their qualitative research.

Widener Partnership Charter School | WPCS

Dr. McHenry has provided professional development opportunities for the teaching staff at WPCS since 2009. The entire staff was trained in inquiry based teaching and learning practices over the 2009/2010 academic year when Dr. McHenry spent her sabbatical there as the “Science Educator in Residence.” The result of her sabbatical research was the development of an observation/evaluation instrument for monitoring the use of inquiry based teaching practices. This instrument has become the basis of her research with another cohort of teachers from Southeast Delco School District.