Background: The purpose of this survey was to assess the knowledge of rural schoolteachers with respect to vision, ocular conditions, and other visual-related aspects of the classroom. The educational level of the respondents was also attained.
Methods: A series of two surveys was handed out at the four schools in Gooding, Idaho to ascertain education level and familiarity with vision or ocular terms that related to the classroom. In Gooding, there is a grade school, middle school, high school, and alternative school. The survey was handed to each teacher and completion was voluntary and anonymous. Of approximately 80 teachers, 39 responded to the first survey and 41 responded to the second. The survey data was compiled for graphs and conclusions.
Results: The education level of teachers in the Gooding School District is approximately 34% BA, 43% BS, and 24% Masters. Many of the teachers were familiar with myopia, astigmatism, and ocular anatomy. Few were familiar with other refractive errors, binocular vision, accommodation, and treatments for visual problems. The majority had no college and CE training about vision in the classroom. Few had basic training from a college course, textbook, or CE. Approximately half of the respondents were interested in learning more about vision in the classroom, a third showed some interest, and the remaining showed no interest.
Conclusions: Though this is not a large-scale survey, the results show a trend for the average educator in rural Idaho. This information may also be applied to the average person or parent since most of the respondents had little or no training about vision. The survey shows a definite need for teacher education with regards to vision and its effects in the classroom. Teachers are in a unique position to observe students and recognize vision problems. With the appropriate treatment, most vision problems can be corrected and a student's academic performance enhanced.
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