We use many different acronyms to describe English language teaching. Of course, all of these terms basically refer to the same thing, but they can sometimes cause confusion. If you have heard about terms like TEFL and TESOL, but haven’t quite figured out what they mean, this article should be helpful to you.
TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. It is a method of teaching English to people whose first language is not English. People learn English for various reasons. Some need a decent level of proficiency in English for work-related reasons. Others learn English for fun or leisure. The learners could be children or adults. Many of them demonstrate a high level of motivation and already have proficiency in more than one language.
The TEFL courses use the most up-to-date training methods to impart language skills to foreigners. Note that in many ways, TEFL courses are different from the way English is taught in mainstream schools and colleges.
TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. It is not much different from TEFL. While TEFL is a methodology for teaching English to foreigners who also live in foreign countries, TESOL is all about teaching English to non-native speakers who live in an English speaking country. Although these people are not proficient in English, they are already exposed to the language because they live in a country where English is the medium of communication.
TESL stands for Teaching English as a Second Language. English is used as the language of official communication and administration in many countries. Examples are: India, Singapore, Nigeria and Kenya. Consequently, English is widely taught in these countries. For people living in India or Singapore, English is not their native language. However, a large number of students in these countries start learning English as a second language from primary school itself.