Acronyms Unlimited – TESOL, TESL, TEFL!

TESOL, which stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, is a general name for the field of teaching that includes both TESL and TEFL. Thus a TESOL teachers training covers teaching English in any environment. That is why membership organizations like TESOL International and universities, for example Bachelor of Education(TESOL) use TESOL in their terminology.

TESL refers to Teaching English as a Second Language: programs in English-speaking countries for students whose first language is other than English. For example, a TESL teacher would be qualified to teach a Chinese student in Australia.

TEFL means Teaching English as a Foreign Language: This is for programs in countries where English is not the primary language and is not commonly used. For example, a TEFL teacher would teach English to Chinese students in China.

Which is right for me?

While all of these certifications equally qualify you to teach English to English language learners, choosing the right certification for you depends on where you want to teach and what you plan to do with your qualification.

What does it mean?Teaching English as a Foreign LanguageTeaching English as a Second LanguageTeaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Who is this course for?A TEFL certificate is for individuals of all experience levels who plan to teach abroad in countries where English is not a first language.A TESL certificate is suited for individuals who plan to teach domestically in countries where English is a first language.A TESOL certificate is for individuals who are interested in teaching English as a career in both native and non-native speaking countries/
Where can I teach?With a TEFL certification, you can teach abroad in countries where English is not the native language, for example Korea, China, Brazil etc.TESL-certified teachers commonly teach in private native-English language schools in English speaking countries such as the U.K. and U.S..TESOL certified teachers have been trained at teaching English to students in both English speaking and non English speaking countries.
What is the benefit of this course?– Easy to obtain
– works as an addition to any undergraduate degree to allow you to teach abroad
– normally government regulated
– often credit bearing towards undergraduate and graduate degrees
– normally government regulated
– often credit bearing towards undergraduate and graduate degrees
– prepares teachers to teach English in ANY environment.
What are your plans for the future?I’m only interested in teaching in a foreign country for a few years and then I’ll go back to another career.I want to become a professional teacher and do not plan on teaching abroad.I want to become a professional teacher and hope to travel the world while teaching.

Where to study?

It’s important to note that not all programs TEFL/TESL/TESOL are created equal, and as there are few international standards for regulating this type of training, it is always wise to do some research before investing in a training program. After consulting with applicants, employers and graduates, we’ve created a list of some questions to consider when selecting your training. This list is by no means exhaustive, but will hopefully give you a starting point in your search.

Questions to consider:

  • Where in the world do you want to teach? What are the general requirements for English teachers in that country/region? If your primary goal is to teach overseas, do you also want the option to teach in native English speaking countries in the future?
  • Do you hope to complete more advanced training for this profession in the future? Or would you at least like that to be an option?
  • What are the admission requirements to the program? (This will give you a sense of who the other students will be, and the rigor of the program)
  • Who accredits the training program? Programs that are accredited by professional organizations (e.g. TEFL International) are evaluated/reviewed regularly to ensure standards are maintained.
  • Who are the instructors? What are their credentials/qualifications?
  • Do potential employers want you to complete a practicum placement?
    • Is there a minimum # of hours that are required? Do employers have requirements or qualifications required of practicum supervisors?

A revolutionary new TESOL program.

Previously students wanting to try teaching English to non-Native speakers had to study either a TEFL or TESL certificate course to get started. These certificate courses are limited to where they can be used and what skills they give these teachers. Also there is no guarantee this study will be recognized by a university if you decide to go on an join an undergraduate or graduate program in TESOL.

Paris College of International Education in conjunction with TEFL international have decided to rectify these problems by introducing their comprehensive TESOL certificate course. For only $150 students can gain all the skills needed to teach English regardless of where they are. The will also receive a credit bearing transcript from a private university in France, covered by the Hague convention.

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