CHIRP: Beyond the Numbers

This week, I’ve been telling you about one of my favorite ice-breaking activities, the CHIRP presentations.

Suitable for both virtual and face-to-face classrooms, the CHIRP can be adapted for any group situation that calls for introductions. This activity allows students to chirp about their career, hobbies, institution, relatives, and other fun personal details.

Since the students follow the pecha kucha format, they use exactly 20 slides, timed to last 20 seconds each, for a total of six minutes and forty seconds.

One drawback: it seems that every week I am reminded of how much older I am compared even to my graduate students. The music that these kids listen to! And their video games! Sure, every once in a while, someone will include the Rolling Stones or Van Halen among their interests… but that’s become increasingly rare. Well, the good news is that I can learn from my students, learn about what’s hot these days. Go ahead, Boomer, ask me about Dua Lipa or Post Malone or SZA. I can dig it.

And even though this activity is meant to be purely positive, a way for students to step carefully out of their comfort zones into a safe space where they get to know each other better, I do recall a participant who wanted no part of this exercise.

While this student did not refuse to present, they did write to my Dean with a detailed calculation of how much of their tuition I had wasted by forcing them to listen to 20 classmates, times six minutes and forty seconds per student, for a total of 8000 seconds… and that’s well over two hours spread out over the course of the semester, minutes during which she learned nothing about marketing.

Or… did she?

Well, she should have… but not with THAT attitude!

I’ll keep asking my students to CHIRP about themselves, anyway.

It’s never a bad idea to learn more about the people you are with.

What do you think?

See you tomorrow!