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ESL‏‎ – English as a Second Language

To read about working here, see Teaching English in the USA.

To read about working here, see Teaching English in the United Kingdom.

TESL stands for Teaching English as a Second Language. It's pronounced TESL to rhyme with WRESTLE.

Simply put, this means teaching English to people who are not native English speakers but who live in a country where English is the main language. For example, teaching English to Chinese speaking immigrants in Canada.

For more, see TESL‏‎ - Teaching English as a Second Language.

When a student learns English‏‎ in order to live and work in an English speaking country we say they are learning English as a Second Language. Compare this to someone who does not live in an English speaking country but learns the language to do business in another country; they learn English as a Foreign Language.

For more see Foreign Language‏‎ and Second Language.

The language a child learns from its parents when it first learns to speak; sometimes known as a first language.

For more, see MT - Mother Tongue‏‎.

EFL is an acronym we use to talk about English as a Foreign Language. EFL students usually live in non English speaking countries and want to learn English mainly to use it on their travels or business trips abroad and to communicate with English speaking visitors to their country, etc.

For more, see EFL‏‎ - English as a Foreign Language.

An Acronym is a word formed by using one or more letters of the words in a phrase‏‎. It's used as an abbreviation of that phrase, e.g. USA, TEFL, NATO.

A Backronym is when we take an existing word and invent a phrase around those letters. It is, if you like, formed in the opposite way to an acronym, e.g.TEFAL = Teaching English For A Laugh.

For more, see Acronyms‏‎ & Backronyms in English.

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Simply put, this is usually used to talk about teaching English to people who live in a non-English speaking country and who want to learn English for business or to take an exam, etc.

It is pretty much equivalent to TESOL and TESL.

For more, see TEFL‏‎ - Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

Learning ESLESL is an acronym‏‎ for English as a Second Language.

ESL students are people learning English as a second language, that is, as another language after their mother tongue‏‎ or primary language.

ESL programs are mainly for people living in an English speaking country, for example many US citizens speak Spanish and learn English as a Second language to live and work in the USA‏‎. Likewise immigrants to a country like the UK will need to learn English to live there successfully and this will be English as a Second Language.

Teachers who teach ESL classes are defined as TESL‏‎ teachers as they Teach English as a Second Language, which is different from teaching English as a native language. To become a TESL teacher you need specific teacher qualifications.

Compare ESL to EFL‏‎ which is English as a Foreign Language. This is taught to students who are living in a non-English speaking country and wish to learn English for business or pleasure, etc.

Useful Links

EFL‏‎ – English as a Foreign Language – all about EFL (compared to ESL)

TEFL‏‎ – Teaching English as a Foreign Language – all about TEFL

TESL‏‎ – Teaching English as a Second Language – all about TESL

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