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U. Turgut, R. Salar, I. Karaman

Ataturk University (TURKEY)
Each human is different from others in terms of cognitive aspects as in physical aspects. There are cognitive differences between students in education environment. Education environments should be organized depending on these differences if we aim to increase the success. Attention, problem solving, learning, making a decision, understanding, prior knowledge could be given as an example to cognitive differences. These differences that affect students’ successes caused new methods’ emergence in education. One of these methods is differentiated instruction. Differentiated instruction is a design that sustains meaningful learning as students engage in different ways and processes to reach the information. Teacher organizes learning processes depending on students’ differences in differentiated instruction. Differentiated instruction is a philosophy that enables teachers to make a planning that meets each student’s needs.

High school students’ opinions about use of agenda technique that was based on differentiated instruction method in physics course were analyzed in this study. The study was conducted with 30 students at the 10th grade (age of 15-16) in a public high school in Turkey. The research application lasted two weeks. Prior knowledge test was applied to students to measure their knowledge base about buoyancy force. An agenda was created in which duties (i.e. experiments, animations, reading packs, and questions) related to buoyancy force were organized. Duty distribution in the agenda was made according to students’ prior knowledge. Students orderly made the duties in the agenda that was organized according to their prior knowledge in buoyancy force subject. Teacher had a guiding position in this process.

Students learnt the subject by themselves. Qualitative data was obtained from students as conducting semi-structured interviews with them at the end of the application. In semi-structured interviews, students stated that they understood the subject better in this way, participated to the lecture more actively, their interest to physics course increased and this technique’s application to experiment requiring courses would positively affect their academic successes however they had difficulties on time. At the end of the research, positive effects were observed in terms of increase in lecture understanding, learning and success levels according to students’ opinions about differentiated instruction.