What is ESL? What is EFL? and what is the difference?

ESL stands for “English as a Second Language.” TESL stands for Teaching English as a Second Language.

Now you may have heard of ESL, EFL, ESOL and/or TESL, TEFL & TESOL.

The “T” always stands for Teaching. 

The “E” always stands for English.

The “S” and the “F” is where it may get a bit confusing.

S = Second (Language); F = Foreign (Language)

When the “S” is used (appropriately), it refers to teaching English to non-native English speakers of the language in a country where English is the main language. i.e., You teach ESL to spanish speakers in America.

When the “F” is used (appropriately), it refers to teaching English to non-native speakers of the language outside of an English speaking country, often times in the learners OWN country, i.e. teaching English in South Korea. English is not a second language to them, it is a foreign language.

ESOL = English to Speakers of Other Languages

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