Gender disparities and teachers' soft skills as determinants of learners' attitude towards learning mathematics in Ekiti State Primary Schools, Nigeria
Learners' attitude towards learning mathematics is fundamental to their performance in the subject as well as in other science-oriented subjects in the primary school curriculum. This study investigated gender disparities and teachers' soft skills as a determinant of learners' attitude towards learning mathematics in Ekiti State primary schools, Nigeria. The study adopted the survey research of the non-experimental design. The population of study cuts across all primary school teachers and learners in the State. Purposive and simple random sampling techniques were used in selecting the sample for this study. In all, the study sample consisted of 97 primary school teachers and 150 learners. Two self-developed research instruments termed "Teachers' Soft Skill Questionnaire (r=0.86)" and "Learners’ Attitude Towards Mathematics Learning Questionnaire (r = 0.71)" were used for data collection. The Data collected in this study were analysed using descriptive statistics (mean and standard deviation), and inference statistics (correlation and independent t-test) at a5% level of significance. Results revealed that learners in Ekiti State primary schools possess a positive attitude towards learning Mathematics as a subject; primary school teachers in the Ekiti State have both moderate and high levels of soft skills; significant positive relationship exist between teachers' soft skills and learners' attitude towards the learning of mathematics; negative and non-significant relationship exists between teachers' soft skills and their gender; and there was no significant gender difference in learners attitude towards the learning of mathematics. It is recommended, therefore, that positive attitudes among learners should be encouraged or reinforced; teachers should be professionally trained and retrained on the acquisition of soft skills; suitable working conditions that could foster and sustain teachers' soft skills, should be provided; and equal preference should be accorded both teachers and learners, irrespective of gender disparities.