TEFL, TESOL, ESOL, EFL, ELT

So many acronyms! What do they all mean?

1

In practical terms, they pretty much mean the same thing. They all refer to the teaching of English to people whose first language is not English. For the sake of clarity, here is the break down:

  • TEFL: Teaching English as a Foreign Language
  • TESOL: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • ESOL: English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • EFL: English as a Foreign Language
  • ELT: English Language Teaching

EFL and ESOL (and TEFL and TESOL) are sometimes differentiated as follows: EFL often occurs in a country where the first language isn’t English, whereas ESOL usually happens in a country where the first language is English, often for purposes of work or intergration. You might find that ELT is a more general and, perhaps, useful term; but, as always with language, it’s all about context and history.

CELTA vs CertTESOL: What is the difference?

In terms of getting you a job, the difference is usually very little. Both are recognised by the British Council and all respected providers of language teaching as initial qualifications. No other initial teacher training certificates hold the same weight, and they are often the only certificates that employers will accept.

Both have 6 hours of assessed teaching practice and require a number of other academic assignments and teaching observations. Both cover the same type of communicative language teaching methodology and basic language awareness, and both focus on preparing teachers to work in the ELT industry. They are both standardised and awarded by highly respected UK universities (Cambridge and Trinity College London, respectively), regardless of where you do them in the world.

In terms of differences: The CELTA is more standardised in assessment and only focuses on adults (‘Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults’), whereas providers of the CertTESOL have more flexibility in terms of adapting to the local teaching conditions and providing their own versions of assignments that meet Trinity’s syllabus requirements. The CertTESOL can also be run with all teaching practice focused on young learners, which can be very useful as a lot of first jobs involve working with children. The CELTA provides a variety of passing grades, but the CertTESOL is a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ course. However, after a year in your new job, using these qualifications as a springboard, your development as a teacher will probably far outweigh what grade you did or didn’t achieve. This is why you so often see one or two years experience being requested by employers.

Importantly, though, this is also what sets the GET Academy apart from other providers of these certificates and makes our graduates so employable; as well as gaining your CertTESOL when you graduate, you are already hundreds of hours ahead of the game thanks to all the teaching you do on our course – something entirely unique in the world of initial teacher training!


21 March 2019