ESL Acronyms

What does ESL, TEFL, and TESOL stand for?

Getting accustomed to ESL acronyms (there, I already used one) can be difficult, which is why we have created this handy guide for ESL teachers.

To start with, ESL stands for English as a Second Language and refers to practically all non-native English students who are actively engaged in studying English. ESL has come to be used widely as a term to describe matters related to the study of English by individuals who are not native English speakers. Given that more and more countries involve English as a mandatory program to be taught in schools to non-native English speakers, individuals currently regard ESL as one of the most important terms related to schools and English as a whole. It is thus mandatory for a teacher to be experienced in matters concerning ESL in order for him or her to be successful in his or her work with non-native English speakers.

TEFL is an acronym for Teaching English as a Foreign Language and relates to teaching English to students who are not native English speakers. Students typically attend TEFL courses in their own country and lessons are provided either by the state authorities or by tutors in after-school classes. Similar to TESOL teachers, TEFL teachers have to be either native English speakers or fluent English speakers. TEFL has experienced a significant rise in popularity during the recent years and its main sphere of influence deals with literature focused on children.

TESOL stands as an acronym for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages and taking a TESOL course enables one to embark on a journey of teaching English to non-English speaking students.

The CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) is yet another certificate enabling a teacher to teach ESL to adult students.

A TEFL, TESOL, and CELTA certificate, all certify ESL teachers to teach TEFL courses. Any one of these will be of great assistance to a teacher interested in teaching abroad, especially considering that the industry is expanding and that schools are constantly looking to develop their ESL-related enterprises. There is no official accrediting institution to accredit either the TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA certificate. As such, teachers should only consider ESL certificate programs which are associated with reputable job programs – like those recommended by Educators Overseas. We stand behind any TEFL certificate we partner with and have verified that our employing schools will hire a teacher with one of our partner’s TEFL certificates.