Types of communication

Communication is the process of sending and receiving messages or information. Messages or information may be in the form of ideas, news and feelings, sent from one person to another, and from one place to another.

For communication to take place there must be a sender and a receiver of the message. The different ways in which messages are sent and received are called means or systems of communication. Sender of information → Channel or means → Receiver of information of communication.


Traditional means of communication

Traditional means of communication are the means of communication used in the olden days or in traditional societies. Our forefathers had traditional means of communicating with each other before the introduction of modern systems.

The traditional means of communication include:

1 The gong: Using the sound of the gong to draw people’s attention, in order to give them some important information. The Igbo are an example of those who use the gong.

2 The talking drum: The use of the talking drum is common among the Yoruba.

The talking drum is beaten by a professional drummer. The sounds produced from this drum form different words, giving information.

3 Town criers: The town criers are messengers sent to deliver messages to people inside and outside the community. A town crier also usually beats the gong to attract attention before delivering his message.

4 By using sounds and signs: People can communicate with others this way.


A person may shout in a particular way to inform others that he is in danger, or needs help. A person may also sigh to show that he or she is worried or fed up with something.

People carry certain marks on their faces to show what tribe they belong to, or what title they hold in the community. Certain leaves may be put in front of a person’s compound, or on the gate of his house, to indicate that nobody should enter the place.

5 Other traditional means of communication include smoke signals and the sound from horns, bells and flute.


Modern means of communication

Modern means of communication are more complex and sophisticated than the traditional means. They include:

  1. Printed information: These are ideas, words, and feelings printed or written down in books, magazines, newspapers, leaflets, bulletins, billboards, letters and handbills. A lot of people get information by reading printed matters like books, newspapers and magazines.

A town crier delivering a message

2 Telephone (Telecommunication): Most towns and villages in Nigeria have telephone services. With the introduction of the global system of mobile telecommunication (GSM), Nigerians can send and receive information and new ideas over long distances by their cell phones. The cell phones give greater range of options such as voice call, text messages, and access to the internet.

Some of the GSM providers in Nigeria are Globacom, Airtel, Etisalat and MTN.

3 Radio: Information such as news and other important messages can be sent and received through the radio.

4 Fax, email and the Internet: These are the most modern means of sending and receiving information. The telephone and fax machines are both used in sending letters and messages from one place to another. The computer, cell phone and ipad are used in the case of e-mail and the Internet.

In the case of the Internet, millions of computer users around the world can send information and messages and receive such information at the same time. Messages are also sent through the facebook and twitter on personal (mobile) phones today.

The internet is fast, cheap and easy to use. The internet is also used to call.

The skype, facebook and other social media are developed for this purpose.

5 Television: This is also used to send news, advertisements and other messages to many people at the same time.

6 Satellite systems: People can watch or listen to live events such as football matches, local and international news, beauty competitions and religious programmes via the satellite system. The satellite uses a dish or antenna and a decoder to transmit information to the television and radio set.


Differences between traditional and modern means of communication

The following are some of the differences between traditional and modern means of communication.

1 The traditional systems use more of natural and local materials for communication, (e.g., gongs and drums) while the modern systems use complex and sophisticated systems such as machines.

2 The traditional systems are simple and easy to use, while the modern systems are more difficult to use.

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3 The traditional systems are very slow in sending messages, while the modern systems send messages faster.

4 The traditional systems cost little or nothing, while the modern systems cost a lot of money.

5 The traditional systems can reach only a few people at the same time with the same message but the modern systems can reach millions of people at the same time with the same message.

6 The traditional systems cannot preserve the messages and reproduce them if necessary, but the modern systems can preserve the messages and reproduce them or present them all over again after a period of time.

7 The traditional systems cannot carry messages to far distances, but the modern systems can carry messages to far distances.


Problems of communication

1 Modern communication systems are expensive to get. Maintaining the communication equipment is also expensive.

2 Sometimes our telephone systems offer poor services. This is because the telephone networks are sometimes bad.

3 Some of our communication systems transmit negative practices and alien cultures which tend to influence our people especially youths negatively.

4 Some of our communication systems, like the computer and the fax machine, the internet and cell phones such as the androids are very complicated and sophisticated and cannot be used by everybody.

5 Sometimes people cannot use some modern communication equipment because of poor electricity supply.

6 Some people defraud others through the Internet.



1 Government should make laws against poor services rendered by telecommunication service providers.

2 Government should set up a body or an effective organisation to monitor and control the quality, nature and content of programmes and films transmitted by television and satellite operators. This is to prevent the transmission of negative practices and other social vices.

3 Government should encourage the production of locally made telecommunication gadgets, in order to make communication more affordable, and easier to use.

4 Telecommunication service providers should make their services very effective and regular.


Strategies & Activities

Step 1: Teacher revises the previous topic.

Step 2: Teacher introduces the new topic.

Step3: Teacher explains the new topic.

Step4: Teacher welcomes pupils’ questions.

Step5: Teacher evaluates the pupils


Assessment & Evaluation

1 Defines communication.

2 Mention at least two examples of traditional means of communication.

3 Mention at least two examples of modern means of communication.

4 List at least five differences between traditional and modern ways of communication.

5 Mention at least five problems of communication in Nigeria.

6. Explain at least two ways of solving those problems.



A Choose the best answers for the following questions.

1 The process of sending and receiving messages or information is known as


A transportation B communication C text messaging

2 For communication to take place there must be __________________________.

A a sender and a communicator B a receiver and a channel

C a sender and a receiver

3 The person that starts the communication is called ___________________.

A a sender B a receiver C a channel

4 The means of communication is also known as ________________.

A sender B receiver C channel

5 The use of talking drum is a _____________ means of communication.

A modern B traditional C faster

6 The systems of communication used by our forefathers is ____________ means.

A modern B traditional C electronic

7 Messengers that are sent to deliver information to people inside and outside

the community are called ____________________.

A town criers B clerks C information officers


See also

Wages and Income


harmful substances

drug abuse


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