Learning the Theories of Communication in BB

Posted on 05-Nov-2014

Written by Sergeant Jack Lim Kuan Wei of 12th Kuala Lumpur Company

October 21st, 2014

As far as I could recall, we started our second batch badge work classes on the 16th of August 2014. We were asked to choose between Physical Training, Safety, Drill and Communications for our first slot of badge work hour. All badge work classes are scheduled to have 10 classes altogether. Around 20 members took part in Communication badgework class. Our instructor is Mr. Yip Wei Jian.           

On the first day of our class, we were given a short briefing about what we are going to learn in the 10 weeks. The schedule originally consisted of the learning of some knowledge related to communications such as phonetic alphabets, Morse code, telecommunication and basics of Internet, as the most advanced means of communication nowadays. We were also told that we would have some exams in between such as public speaking, debating session and PowerPoint presentation of what we’ve learnt.           

It was the first time for those in the Communication class to learn about phonetic alphabets. Personally, I have heard pilots or any military forces using them in the movies. It was a new thing for me to learn as well. Its full name is International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, but people know them as NATO phonetic alphabets. They are a list of words that are critical combinations of letters and numbers and can be pronounced and understood by those who transmit and receive voice messages by radio or telephone regardless of language barriers or the presence of transmission static. They are used by professional communicators, especially police, military and other emergency and armed forces. This system was created by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) during the 1950s. This was the finalized phonetic alphabets as there were different versions of phonetic alphabets. After learning about some basics and history about this, we were given a challenge to remember the phonetic alphabets in 5 minutes. Some succeeded while some were stuck at an alphabet. Everyone was involved and we had a lot of fun.           

The next week, the students were exposed to Morse code. Some were quite familiar with this as they have heard about it few times before. Morse code is a method of transmitting text information as a series of on-off tones, lights, or clicks that can be directly understood by a skilled listener or observer without special equipment. It was invented by an American artist Samuel F. B. Morse, when he and an American physicist Joseph Henry, and Alfred Vail developed the electrical telegraph system. It can be used to transmit by using lights, radio and etc. Each character is represented by a unique sequence of dots and dashes. A dash is three times of a dot. The duration of a space between letters is equals to 2 seconds, while the duration of a space between words is 5 seconds. It is still commonly used in U.S Navy to communicate between vessels. After the process of learning, Mr. Yip asked the learners to get into a group of three and use what we had just learnt in a game. Each group submitted a sentence while another group will attempt to translate it. Two people from a group used the flashlight of their phone while another person translated it. It was truly a nice experience. To many of us, it was an eye-opening experience.

Week 3 was an exam week. Everyone was required to prepare a speech and do public speaking in front of an Officer. As Mr Yip couldn’t make it, so Lt. Lim became the evaluator for this assessment. One of my Members, Corporal Yap Ming Yang has chosen “The Pixar Theory” as his title. It was basically about a theory that existed in all Pixar movies. This theory connects all these movies into the same universe. He said that he thought it’s quite interesting so he used it as his public speaking topic. Ming Yang recalled, “It was a good time to practice my public speaking skills because I was really bad at public speaking before I took up Communications class.” Bravo to my friend!
Next on the plan was the students would learn about the basics of telecommunication. Telecommunication is communication at a distance by technological means, particularly through electrical signals or electromagnetic waves. We learnt about electrical telegraphy. It was experimented and created by a German physician, anatomist and inventor, Samuel Thomas Von Soemmerring. The electric telephone was invited in the 1870s, based on career work with harmonic (multi-signal) telegraphs. The first commercial telephone was set up in 1878. Alexander Graham Bell played the major role in this historical event. We also touched a bit about video telephony and brief history of satellites, radio and televisions.
As there was a short of time, debating session was cancelled from the list and impromptu speaking was added to replace debate. Impromptu speaking will be replaced with a new format of assessment that we will take on. Everyone in the class will be given a topic on the spot and have to think about what to say in 30 seconds. The duration for the talk must be at least 1 minute. Everyone agreed that it is indeed a very challenging task.

We also had a PowerPoint presentation as it consists of 25 marks for our final assessment marks. Captain changed the topic to BB related topic as he wished that all of us can know more about BB, for example BB Asia, and some said that it was quite scary because they had to present this in front of a class of people. True enough, some were so nervous throughout the presentation. As soon as the session was over, everyone heaved a sigh of relief.

So, to those readers out there, BB even teaches us as Brigadiers life skills such as public speaking and presentation which are crucial for our survival later as we move on to college or even when we enter workforce when we are of the age. It may be challenging now, but we are actually preparing ourselves for a better future – as our Officers told us. So, come join us in the BB as we learn many life skills through the Awards and Badges classes made available.

Page Created: 5th November 2014
Last Updated: 5th November 2014