Published 16th May 2016


Posted by Clair Roberts, 22nd April 2016

Teaching English as a foreign language (sometimes referred to as TEFL in an academic setting where an acronym is appropriate) refers to the teaching of the English language to students who have prior fluency with at least one other first language.  EFL is often a relevant subject for students who are learning English in or have just moved to a predominantly English speaking region from a region where English is not the predominant language.  However the term can also refer to the teaching of English to a student who has prior fluency with another first language, but lives and has always lived in a predominantly English speaking region.  The latter scenario is also sometimes referred to as teaching English as a second language (TESL for short).

Employment Opportunities For Qualified TEFL Teachers

Many EFL programs focus on teaching English in the area where another language is predominant, rather than targeting foreign learners who have moved to an English-speaking area.  Japan is one example of a country where there is substantial support for this type of education.  Japan’s JET Programme encourages college graduates to come to work in Japan to teach the English language.  Generally these teachers work as Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) or Sports Education Advisors (SEAs) in Japanese grade schools.  They can also work as Coordinators for International Relations (CIRs) in boards of education and even parts of the government.  Aside from this government run program, Japan also is home to the Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT) which is a non-profit professional organization and interest group whose members are foreign language teachers in Japan.

TEFL / EFL Standardisation

Due to the lack of standardization in teaching practices and infrastructure between regions, it can be difficult to gauge the level of effectiveness of a particular EFL course; a number of standardized tests exist to address this issue.  An example of one such test is the EF Standard English Test (EFSET), which is a free online test designed explicitly for non-native English Speakers.  The test comes in different versions, which are different lengths and provide and equivalencies to different regional standardized tests.

Works Cited

About JALT.” JALT. The Japan Association for Language Teaching, n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2016.

The Official EFSET® English Test.” EF Standard English Test. EF Education First Ltd., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2016.