TEFL of TESOL – What’s The Difference?
Having decided to become an English language teacher to foreign students, it is very easy to be baffled by the many different acronyms that are used in connection with this type of career. Just look around at all the various teaching courses and qualifications that are on offer like , TEFL, TESL , TESOL, ESL etc. What’s the difference?
The answer to this question is simply, ‘not a lot’. The theory behind each one is very similar, they all cover a great deal of common ground. However, there still remains a slight distinction between them.
TESL - Teaching English as a Second Language
TESL is usually applied to the teaching of English to immigrants, refugees or students who live within a country where English is the first language (such as the UK, USA or Australia), or citizens of countries where English holds a special status, such as India or Singapore.
In these circumstances, learners need the English language to communicate, integrate and conduct their daily lives.
Students from an ESL background will generally have a larger vocabulary and higher level of English communicative competence, due to their exposure to English outside of the classroom.
TEFL -Teaching English as a Foreign Language
Teachers who have successfully undergone TEFL Courses are qualified to teach students whose first language is not English.
In other words, students from countries where English is not the native language, for example, Thailand or China. In these situations, English is taught as a foreign language and the teaching objective is usually based around academic or business purposes, using the whole range of skills e.g. reading, writing, listening and speaking.
TESOL - Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
This label is now used in many countries and is a common term developed in the USA. TESOL makes no distinction between foreign and second language learners and is therefore a general term for teaching those whose mother tongue is not English.
In summary, whatever the acronym, The Britannia School’s TEFL Course will qualify you to teach in all the above circumstances. You will be able to teach English as a foreign language, a second language, with competence and professionalism, anywhere in the world.