What Is The Difference Between TEFL and TESOL?
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In the TEFL world there are a large number of abbreviations and acronyms which not many people understand. Long, long ago someone decided that we needed to label each and every different TEFL situation. Since then TEFL teachers all over the world have been confused. These acronyms shouldn’t be a cause for concern. So don’t freak out if you don’t remember what they refer to exactly, but sometimes it’s nice to know what everybody is talking about. TEFL, TESOL, EFL, ESOL… are all used interchangeably and mean the same thing really. So what is the difference between TEFL/TESOL/EFL/ESOL/ESL? Here’s our guide to TEFL terms you will probably come across at some point in your TEFL career:
What is the difference between TEFL/TESOL/EFL/ESOL/ESL?
TEFL – Teaching English as a Foreign Language
This is the acronym used for teaching students who do not speak English as their first language but are studying it. Usually this refers to a study context in a non-English-speaking country – hence the Foreign Language part – but more and more it’s used to describe any situations in which English is taught to a speaker of another language. If you’re in the position as a foreign teacher and the students are local, you can learn all about the culture by giving learners a chance to communicate their experiences.
TEFL is not only just about teaching English, but it’s also the certification needed in order to become certified to teach English as a foreign language. The minimum hours needed to become certified is 120 hours, but TEFL teachers wanting to find the best jobs should get a Level 5 qualification, which will be at least 150 hours in order be considered a level 5 certificate.
TESOL – Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
This is often used as a synonym for TEFL, though it can also be used to refer to teaching English to non-native speakers in an English-speaking country. While TEFL is the term generally used in the UK and Europe, TESOL is more likely to be heard in the United States, Canada and Australia. In this sense, the origins can be understood to refer to non-English speakers who have immigrated to an English-speaking country. In this context, you’ll often be teaching learners that will use the local language to engage with their new surroundings and improve their English for work and study. If you are teaching English in an English-speaking country, your class will be multi-national and multi-lingual. You can find yourself teaching exam preparation classes and general English.
Just to add a bit more confusion, TESOL is also the acronym for the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, which is the American association which is the equivalent of the UK’s IATEFL – the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language.
EFL – English as a Foreign Language
This refers not to the teaching, but the content of what is taught. The coursebooks and other materials that we use in the classroom are EFL materials. So while TEFL usually relates to the practice of teaching and how we can be better teachers, EFL can refer to studies or research related specifically to the learner and how they learn languages. The two are clearly closely related. Lately though, the term ELT (English Language Teaching) is now used as an umbrella term.
ESOL – English for Speakers of Other Languages and ESL – English as a Second Language
These two are usually used interchangeably. They refer to the English learnt by non-native speakers in an English-speaking country. In other words, the students are learning English in order to be able to communicate in the environment directly outside the classroom, either as a second language or as a foreign language.
The difference between ESOL and ESL is that ESOL means that the learner already knows a second or third language. If English is a learner’s third or fourth language then it is limiting to say English as a second language as it is not fully comprehensive in its description. ESOL and ESL classes can include areas such as general English, and specific listening and speaking skills.
Let’s break down some specific areas in teaching TEFL/TESOL/EFL/ESOL/ESL:
EAP- English for Academic Purposes
EAP specialises in preparing non-native English speakers for studying at English speaking institutes of higher education. Students will need to know linguistic and communicative competences to use the English language appropriately for study. This includes being able to write academic assignments in English and give presentations.
ESP- English for Specific Purposes
ESP usually refers to teaching the English language to people already in employment with reference to vocabulary and skills related to their profession. One sort of EAP is Business English. Business English focuses on the vocabulary used in business sectors and typical business communication skills such as presentations, correspondence, and report writing.
Exam preparation classes are typically for students with an intermediate level of English looking to learn new vocabulary and grammar. Learners may need to prove their English language abilities before working or studying in countries where English is the primary language.
As a teacher it’s important to be familiar with language tests like IELTS or TOEFL, so you are prepared and know what to cover in your lessons. You must also prepare your students to complete tasks in a time restrictive environment. An effective exam preparation teacher implements the same time constraints that learners would find when taking the real exam.
Teaching English to young learners is a massive area in EFL, especially in Europe and Asia. There are opportunities for teaching primary age students in private language schools or in public schools. Understanding the stages of language and skills development in children will help you create age-appropriate lessons and increase motivation.
If your head hurts a little by now, don’t worry. There are so many abbreviations and acronyms flying around that most people find it difficult to keep track and to be quite honest. If we know what we’re doing. Is it really necessary for us to know if we’re doing TEFL or TESOL? Will it make a difference to our teaching? We think not.
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Name of course Description Online Level 5 TEFL Course 168-hour Online Level 5 TEFL & grammar course (Plus three free 30-hour Top-Up Online Courses) Online Level 3 TEFL Course 120-hour Online Level 3 TEFL & grammar course (Plus three free 30-hour Top-Up Online Courses) Top-Up Courses 30-hour Online Teaching Young Learners, Teaching Business English and Teaching Online & 1:1 Courses 10hr Online Teaching Practice Course 10 hours of webinar teaching practice course (Learn about classroom management and Q&A with a TEFL expert) Observed Teaching Practice Course 40-hour observed teaching practice course
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Registered company number 13725845, Suite 101b, 21-22 Old Steine, Brighton, BN1 1EL.
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Name of course Duration Combined Level 5 TEFL Course 6 months Online Level 5 TEFL Course 6 months Online Level 3 TEFL Course 6 months 10hr Online Teaching Practice Course 10 hours Top-up courses 6 weeks Observed Teaching Practice Course 2 years
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next three months from the original course date and must be at the same location. All changes are subject to
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- Where a course cannot take place due to trainer illness or other circumstances beyond our control, the course
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possible need for re-submission.
- Please be aware that if you have not completed all required assignments and allowed sufficient time for
marking before your end-date, you will need to apply for an extension.
- You are entitled to sit exams as many times as you need to in order to pass the exam. If you pass the exam you
cannot thereafter seek to resit the exam.
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- The TEFL Academy offers a guaranteed pass, or your money back guarantee. You can retake the exams as many times as needed in order to pass. If you fail to achieve a pass on any assignments after your third attempt we will provide you with a full refund. A full refund will not be provided in accordance with clauses 11.4 & 11.5.
- Native speakers of English will typically be above the minimum standard of English for this course.
- Non-native speakers should have an English level of C1 (Advanced), as a minimum to commence the course.
Students may test their English level here: https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/content.
- Students found not to have a C1 level of English will likely fail the course and not complete the
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LAST UPDATED: 19th July 2022
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- any information that we reasonably need to locate the information you have requested (for example details of the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD offices or staff that you have had contact with and when)
We will not start looking for your information until we receive all of the above. In order to submit your request, or for help making a request, please contact us.
Rights concerning the processing of your personal information
- Right to restrict processing of personal information
- In some situations, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of your personal information. We may restrict your personal information by temporarily moving the information to another processing system, making the information unavailable to users, or temporarily removing published information from a website. We may also use technical methods to ensure the personal information is not subject to further processing and cannot be changed. When we have restricted processing of personal information, this will be clearly indicated on our systems.
- You can require us to restrict processing in the following circumstances:
- You are concerned that the information we hold about you is inaccurate. You can ask us to restrict the information until we can determine whether the information is accurate or inaccurate.
- We are processing your personal data unlawfully and you do not want us to delete the information but restrict it instead.
- We no longer need the information for the purposes for which we collected it, but they are needed by you for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
- You have objected to the processing (see below), and we need to decide whether the legitimate grounds we have to process the information override your legitimate interests.
Processing you think is unlawful
- If you tell us that you think we are processing your personal information unlawfully, but you do not want the information to be erased, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of that information.
- We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the processing is unlawful, and may also ask that you provide evidence to support this view.
Processing of personal information you think is inaccurate
- You can tell us if you think the personal information we are processing about you is factually inaccurate. You can require us to restrict how we use your personal information until we can verify the accuracy of the information. We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the information is inaccurate, and may also ask that you provide some supporting evidence of the alleged inaccuracy.
- If we find that the personal information we are processing about you is inaccurate, we will take appropriate steps to correct the information.
Personal information is no longer needed by ELEARNING FUTURES LTD but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.