This study investigated “Teachers’ communication strategies and students’ academic performance in private secondary schools in Abia State”. The study adopted correlational research design which sought to explain the kind of relationships between the variables. The population of the study consisted of 36,068 students in 481 registered private secondary schools in the 17 Local Government Areas of Abia State. Multi-stage sampling technique was used to generate the sample size of 396 students using Taro Yamane’s formula. Seven research questions and seven hypothesis guided the study. The research questions were analysed using Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient. Linear regression was used to test the hypothesis at 0.05 level of significance. The findings of the study showed that there is a high positive relationship between teachers’ communication strategies and students’ academic performance; moderate positive relationship between teachers’ verbal communication strategies and students’ academic performance; high positive relationship between teachers’ written communication strategies and students’ academic performance; moderate positive relationship between teachers’ symbol communication strategies and students’ academic performance; moderate positive relationship between teachers’ electronic communication strategies and students’ academic performance; moderate positive relationship between teachers’ kinetic communication strategies and students’ academic performance; moderate positive relationship between teachers’ visual communication strategies and students’ academic performance, and all the relationships were significant. Based on the findings, it was recommended among others that government, missionaries/religious organizations and private individuals who own and manage schools should sustain the use of various good communication strategies in the teaching-learning process by organizing seminars and workshops for training and re-training of new and old teachers on the use of ideal communication strategies; providing the necessary facilities including Language Laboratories towards the improvement of students’ academic performance. The researcher is of the opinion that if the recommendations are well considered and implemented, it will go a long way in addressing the problems of poor academic performance of students recorded in English Language and Mathematics in recent times in both internal and external examinations.




Cover page                                                                                                                  i

Title page                                                                                                                    ii

Certification                                                                                                                iii

Declaration                                                                                                                  iv

Dedication                                                                                                                  v

Acknowledgment                                                                                                       vi

Table of content                                                                                                          vii

List of tables                                                                                                               ix

Abstract                                                                                                                      xi


INTRODUCTION                                                                                                     1

1.1        Background to the Study                                                                               1

1.2        Statement of the Problem                                                                               8

1.3        Purpose of the Study                                                                                      10

1.4        Research Questions                                                                                         10

1.5        Hypotheses                                                                                                     11

1.6       Significance of the Study                                                                               12

1.7       Scope of the Study                                                                                         14


REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE                                                                15

2.1       Conceptual Framework                                                                                   15

2.1.1    The Concept of communication                                                                      15

2.1.2    Communication strategies                                                                               19

2.1.3.   Channels of classroom communication and learning.                         26

2.1.4.   Communication process in the classroom                                                       28

2.1.5.    Academic Performance                                                                                  29

2.1.6.   Teachers' effectiveness on students' academic performance                          32

2.1.7    The influence of ineffective communication in secondary schools                35

2.1.8   The impact of internal communication pattern on the school organizational

Climate                                                                                                            36

2.2       Theor1tical Framework                                                                                   39

2.2.1    Communication Accommodation Theory (1971) (CAT) BY Howard Giles 39

2.2.2    Self-determination theory (SDT) (2000) by Deci and Richard Ryan             40

2.2.3    Theoretical model of academic motivation (1970) Frymier                            40

2.2.4    Systems theory (1983) Ludwig Von Bertalanfy                                            42

2.2.5    Climate description framework (1966) Halpin                                               43

2.3       Empirical Studies                                                                                            43

2.4       Summary of Related Literature Reviewed                                                     49



METHODOLOGY                                                                                                    51

3.1       Design of the Study                                                                                        51

3.2       Area of the Study                                                                                           51

3.3       Population of the Study                                                                                  52

3.4       Sample and Sampling Techniques                                                                  52

3.5       Instruments for Data Collection                                                                     52

3.6       Validation of the Instruments                                                                         53

3.7       Reliability of the Instrument                                                                           53

3.8       Method of Data Collection                                                                             53

3.9       Method of Data Analysis                                                                               54


RESULTS AND DISCUSSION                                                                               56

4.1       Results                                                                                                            56

4.2       Summary of Findings                                                                                     68

4.3       Discussion of Findings                                                                                   69


SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS                              76

5.1       Summary of the Study                                                                                    76

5.2       Conclusion                                                                                                      78

5.3       Recommendations                                                                                          78

5.4       Educational Implications of the Study                                                           79

5.5       Suggestion for Further Studies                                                                       79








1.1              BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Communication strategies in any organization like private school are very vital to the survival and smooth running of the system. Without communication strategies, administrative and academic functions will be difficult to achieve in the school. Communication is crucial in the teacher professional involvement. This is because it will help increase mutual understanding between teachers and students leading to the enhancement of academic performance in the private schools. A good communication network in the school therefore helps to orient and increase teacher professional involvement and commitment to the main objectives of the system (Sareen & Kumara, 2011). Communication strategies in secondary schools can be achieved through teaching learning strategies in the classrooms.  It involves sharing experience between teachers and learners and has to do with expression of an intention with the aim of bringing about a desirable change in the performance of the learners. Communication strategies are effective ways to improve students’ communicative competence in the classroom where teaching and learning take place. Effective communication is the veritable tool and bedrock upon which the indispensable and significant roles of the teachers and learners are built and it enhances complete and meaningful interaction between teachers and the students.

It is noteworthy that many of the problems emanating from the schools results from ineffective communication of the entire school system. So, successful teaching and learning can only take place when there are effective communication strategies that facilitate students’ academic performance in the classroom. Communication strategies help students to learn easily, create a positive atmosphere in the learning environment. Communication improves the academic performance of students, foster ability of students to engage in strategic learning to construct their own meaning and in the process become aware of their own thinking. It helps the students to achieve their goals, increase opportunities for expanded learning and strengthens the connections between students and teachers. It also helps the students to understand the different types of communication strategies like kinetic, tone of voice audibility, facial expression, symbols, electronic, visual, verbal communication and create the overall positive experience in their academic performance Teachers have been known to have important influence on students’ academic performance and they also play a crucial role in educational attainment because the teacher is ultimately responsible for translating educational policies and principles into actions based on practice during interaction with the students (Afe, 2012). Both teaching and learning depend on teachers. No wonder an effective teacher has been conceptualized as one who produces desired results in the course of his duty as a teacher.

In terms of ineffectiveness of communication flow, Ekundayo and Alonge (2010) found that there is wide communication gap between the students of private secondary schools and teachers because the school management denies the students the opportunity of being part of policy making in related matters of their welfare. Ineffective communication strategies can result to poor instructional delivery, poor management, poor motivation of students and teachers. It can lead to communication breakdown in the school. Poor specification of function is also a source of communication problem in the school system, poor communication can have drastic effect on students’ academic performance and cordial relationship among the teachers and students, lack of adequate information in private secondary schools lead to frustration with low morale. All these will have adverse effect on school climate. When communication gap occurs in a school, the different units of school management tend to operate in isolation and perhaps in conflict with the other components to the detriment of the overall objective of the school. According to lezotte (2016), this situation is likely lead to a breakdown in communication in a school and consequently leads to confusion and frustration of teachers and school authorities. Considering the observed deterioration in the academic performance, attitude and values of secondary school students in private secondary schools, one wonders if the high failure rates and the failure of the students especially in external examinations is not a reflection of the instructional quality in the schools. Therefore, the ineffectiveness of teachers in classroom interaction with the students could be responsible for the observed poor academic performance of students and the widely acclaimed fallen quality of education in Nigeria.

Teachers’ effectiveness has been accepted as a multi-dimensional construct since it measures a variety of different aspects of teaching such as; subject mastery, effective communication, lesson preparation and presentation. The influence of teachers’ teaching effectiveness on the learning outcome of students as measured by students’ academic performance has been the subject of several studies. The studies suggest that effective teaching is a significant predictor of students’ academic performance. Therefore, effective teachers should produce students of higher academic performance. Poor academic performance of students in Nigeria has been linked to poor teachers’ performance in terms of accomplishing the teaching tasks, negative attitude to work and poor teaching habits which have been attributed to poor motivation (Ofoegbu, 2014) It has also been observed that conditions that would make for effective teaching such as resources available to teachers, general conditions of infrastructure as well as instructional materials in private secondary schools in Nigeria are poor.

The prevailing conditions would definitely show a negative or positive influence on the instructional quality in private schools, which may translate to either good or poor academic performance, attitude and values of secondary school students. The quality of the teaching force in schools is the key to raising students’ performance.

Consequently, Lassa (2010) claimed that education cannot be provided by just anybody. It requires a teacher who plans and delivers the lessons or instruction in such a way that objectives can be achieved. Collaborating this, Owolabi (2010) stated that government should find all possible means to retain veteran and experienced teachers who are still willing to serve so that they can contribute their wealth of experience to improve the system. Although teachers’ strong effect would significantly influence students’ academic performance, other factors such as socio-economic background, family support, intellectual aptitude of students, personality of students, self-confidence, and precious instructional quality have been found and also influence students’ examination scores either positively or negatively.

Communication can be defined as the process through which people, acting together can create, sustain and manage meanings through the use of verbal, non-verbal signs and symbols with a particular context. Communication as a relational process during which sources transmit messages using symbols, signs and contextual cues to express meaning and influence behaviour. Again communication from the view of Nakpodia (2010) is the ingredients which make organization. It is the vehicle through which the basic management and administrative functions are carried out. Similarly, Keyton (2011) saw communication as a process of transmitting information, messages, ideas, knowledge, experience, intellectual ability and common understanding from one person to another. In

other words, communication is the transfer of thoughts from one person to another by post-telephone, tele-printer and messages by other means.

Communication strategies can be verbal, visual, written, kinetic, symbol, electronic communication. Verbal communication is the type of communication strategy which involves talking to one another, face to face interaction between the teachers and the students, students to students, teachers and students and so on. It is the most effective and significant means of classroom interaction among teachers and students in knowledge acquisition. It allows for immediate feedback such that the teacher teaching can be reinforced with simple language, voice inflection and a combination of such other physical devices. This method of communication strategy should be encouraged in the classroom for effective learning and to enhance students’ academic performance.

Written communication is a communication strategy that is practiced in private secondary schools that equally promote students’ performance in the classroom. It occurs when the teacher presents his facts and figures on the chalk board while explaining things to the students. It includes chalkboard summary, writing of questions for students, giving assignment and giving students short note to copy in the classroom. In doing this, the teacher needs to write in a clear and simple language. The hand writing must be legible and his writing on the chalk board must be from left to right hand side. Equally, the teacher needs to check the students note books from time to time in order to ascertain that correct information is written by the pupils as given by the class teacher.

Symbol communication refers to communication that involves a shared message between the sender and receiver. Examples include speech, signs, language, writing, pictures and tactile communication. Symbol is anything one says or does to describe something, and is something that can have an array of many meaning.

 Electronic communication is  any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo electronic or photo optical system, or electronic communication is the meaningful exchange of information at a distance by technological means, particularly through electrical signals or electromagnetic waves (Wayne et al., 2013).

In kinetic communication the real intention of the communicator is shown through body gestures as the eye contact, facial expression, postures, dress, and even physical setting of the classroom (Nwankwo, 2014). This para-linguistic make nonverbal communication to be more effective than verbal and written form of communication.

Visual communication   is equally an effective communication strategy in the classroom. It involves the use of relevant pictures in conveying teacher’s message to the students. The use of teaching aids as pictures, overhead projectors, multisensory communication system and other instructional materials.

A good understanding of the strategic communication could avail the classroom teacher the opportunity to pass his/her pedagogical knowledge and skills across to the students in the classroom with ease. This strategy occupies a central position in the classroom daily interactions as learning only takes place when pupil (student) understood the message of the teacher through the teaching. The three fundamental element of effective communication in the classroom are: The communicator (teacher), the message (the impacted knowledge), and the receiver (students) (Salami, 2010).

The teacher serves as a source of the message, who is obliged to teach certain concept for students to understand and learn in the classroom. The instructional method indicates the  teacher teaching approaches to ensure that learning takes place, the approaches includes among others, the instructional materials, the method of teaching adopted and most essentially the language and style of passing his/her lessons across to the students.  The receivers are the students who are taught to learn and acquire knowledge in the class. This can only take place when effective communication strategies occur. The reaction from the students who are observable in their behavior, serves as a feedback to the teacher. When the students respond positively or knowledgably to the teachers’ questions or evaluation, then the effective communication strategies has taken place.


In the view of Salami (2010) teaching involves a kind of communication that has an impression in the mind of the learners in such a way that he or she accepts the desirable new experience. It enables the skillful or professional teacher to develop the students through certain subjects in the school curriculum in order to facilitate student’s overall development in the school. Certain specialized knowledge and skills are required by the teacher.


A teacher should be academically equipped to teach effectively and confidently. Capable of inspiring the children (students) under his care and be ready to learn throughout life, able to meet the emotional, physical, intellectual and social need of a child’s personality development, capable of exercising intelligent appreciation of the global world sensitive and flexible to changes and effective innovative practice. Ready to promote continuity of thought on the desirable elements in the moral, cultural and social heritage of society he/she serves. Help the students to develop thinking and scientific attitude to life problem solving, able to help children (students) develop attitudes that will promote the desirable solidarity and unity of the society, able to help the children appreciate their cultural and aesthetic value. He should be able to help students learn patterns of relationship and inter-relationship that will help them to function effectively as members of the society.

Academic performance in the school refers to students’ success in learning precise curriculum content as shown by the continuous assessment and examination. Performance is a guage of the extent of success in carrying out explicit task in a subject matter or course of study by students after being exposed to the learning experience (Ali, 2013). Considering the above facts, the teachers in the private secondary school can be seen as a source of information that enhance students’ academic performance. This is the reason the researcher decided to investigate ‘Teachers’ communication strategies and students’ academic performance in private secondary schools in Abia State’.


The ideal situation of teacher communication strategies in private secondary schools seems to create a positive atmosphere in the learning environment. The students can interact with their teachers in a more positive manner by answering teachers’ questions confidently in the classroom. The communication strategies foster the ability of students to engage in strategic learning to construct their own meanings and in the process be able to think for themselves. It also helps the students to perform well to achieve goals, increase opportunity for expanded learning, strengthens the connections between students and teachers and creates the overall experience in their academic performance.


Incidentally, from the researcher’s observations, the communication strategies are not effectively used in Abia State private secondary schools due to inadequate communication strategic skills possessed by the teachers. Some teachers in most cases cannot speak with clarity of voice audibility, some teachers talk aggressively and most of the teachers stand at a distance to teach not minding if the students are understanding or not. This is what is called physical distance between communicators.

The poor academic performance of students in external examinations like WASSCE and NECO can be attributed to poor communication strategies. This has caused a lot of  problems like contradicting verbal, messages, distortions, message overload, wrong timing, learners perception problems, psychological problems, emotional instability, loss of attention and indiscipline. This could be responsible for the deterioration of the academic performance of some students in the private secondary schools. Quite a number of students fail not because they have low mental abilities to cope academically or lack readiness for learning but because of the ineffective communication strategies of some teachers in the private secondary schools. These communication strategies when not properly utilized can shatter the academic ambition of students in terms of academic performance in private secondary schools. It is therefore, based on the above observed gap that the present study seek to examine the correlation between teachers’ communication strategies and students’ academic performance in private secondary schools in Abia State. The problem of this study put in question form is: What is the relationship between teachers’ communication strategies and students’ academic performance in private secondary schools in Abia State?



1.3              PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

The purpose of this study was to examine the teachers’ communication strategies and students’ academic performance in private secondary schools in Abia State. Specifically, the study sought to:

1.      Investigate the relationship between teachers’ communication strategies and students’ academic performance.

2.      Investigate the relationship between teachers’ verbal communication strategies and students’ academic performance.

3.      Find out how teachers’ written communication strategies  relate to students’ academic performance.

4.      Determine the relationship between teachers’ symbol communication strategies and students’ academic performance.

5.      Ascertain the extent teachers’ electronic communication strategies relate to students’ academic performance.

6.      Examine the extent to which teachers’ kinetic communication strategies relate to students’ academic performance.

7.      Ascertain the extent teachers’ visual communication strategies  relate with students’ academic performance.

1.4              RESEARCH QUESTIONS

This following research questions were formulated to guide the study:

1.      To what extent is the relationship between teachers’ communication strategies and students’ academic performance?  


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