What is the format of the OPA 2?
There are two (2) sections of the Oral Performance Assessment 2: The lesson and the office visit. The candidate prepares a 10 minute lesson with a one-page handout to present to a team of raters. The candidate then holds an office visit with one of the raters. Two to three raters are present during the test, which is also videotaped.   The raters may stop the candidate and ask questions at any time, much like what might occur in an authentic lesson.

How can you give your best performance?
Speak loudly enough so that raters can hear you easily. Articulate clearly but do not slow down your rate of speech unnaturally. Although your teaching skills are not the focus of the evaluation, your presentation and delivery skills do affect the quality of your communication. Your knowledge of your field is not being evaluated; what is of greatest importance is that you use appropriate strategies and language to explain what you know. To enhance your comprehensibility, emphasize key words, link phrases fluently, and pay attention to the rhythm and cadence of your language.

How can you prepare for the OPA2?
Make a list of 100 basic technical terms in your field and read them to a native English speaker. Ask this individual for help with the pronunciation of difficult terms, possible recording them on tape.

Practice giving simple definitions for several of the terms on your list, including example is you can. Give thorough definitions, not just synonyms or related terms.

Practice describing and discussing information presented in a graph or chart. This usually involved talking about numerical data, percentages, and trends. Suitable graphic material appears in English-language textbooks, periodicals, and newspapers.

Assume the role of the instructor on the first day of class and practice giving your students information about the class schedule, location, test dates, textbooks or lab materials.

What topics have been used in the past?

  • How to make mutant mice by gene targeting
  • Mapping Disease Genes by Association Tests
  • Link between government spending and aggregate employment
  • Alcoholism and alcohol metabolism.

Do you have advice on how to prepare for this presentation?
Prepare a discussion or lesson that would be suitable for an introductory course in your field. You can assume your audience would be Yale undergraduates who may have some background in the field but are not experts and indeed may be inexperienced with the concepts and vocabulary you may choose.

Your primary objective is to communicate your topic clearly and well to your audience. The panel will rate you using a form that covers the following areas:

  • Language Skills: Pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, intonation, fluency, comprehensibility.
  • Nonverbal communication: body language, use of whiteboard and visuals, teacher presence and confidence. 
  • Teaching Performance Skills: Explains clearly/identifies major points; organizes ideas; responds well to questions and comments. Candidate interacts successfully with audience and office visitor.

Most important is your overall communication of the material; no single item above should be regarded as more important than any other and certainly not more important than how well you communicate. In this regard you energy and passion for your subject will compensate for any discrete language issue.