TEFL vs TESOL – Navigating the world of TEFL. Differences between TEFL, TESOL, TESL, ESL, EFL, ESOL

Posted on July 3, 2013 by admin in TEFL TESOL Courses, Trinity CertTESOL

The world of TEFL loves an acronym. There is no getting away from them – TEFL vs TESOL, TESL vs ESL, EFL vs ESOL. They often actually more confusing than the words they stand for. Here is a quick acronym dictionary to help you navigate the world of TEFL:

TEFL  = Teaching English as a Foreign Language. This term generally refers to the teaching of English to non-native learners who are choosing to learn for business or for leisure.

TESOL = Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. This term generally refers to the teaching of English to non-native learners who are living in an English speaking country and need a level of English that will allow them to integrate into the country’s systems and culture.

TESL = Teaching English as a Second Language. This term generally refers to the teaching of English as a second language in the context of official communication and administration in countries where English is the common second language – India, Kenya and Nigeria for example.

ESL = English as a Second Language. This term generally refers to the acquisition of English as a second language by non-native learners for official communication and administration reasons.

EFL = English as a Foreign Language. This term generally refers to the acquisition of English as a foreign language by non-native learners for business or leisure reasons.

ESOL = English for Speakers of Other Languages. This term generally refers to the acquisition of English as a language by non-native learners living in English speaking countries who need the language for integration reasons.

Once you understand these terms the industry suddenly becomes a lot less difficult to understand! The differences in meaning are not massive but instead subtle differences, however it will be much easier to differentiate between TEFL certification courses or jobs when you understand the differences in acronyms.

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