If you’re one of many people looking to teach English as a foreign language, it can seem quite daunting… especially with the many confusing acronyms and education lingo out there!
Let’s simplify things, shall we? In this helpful guide, we thought we’d clarify a few of the terms that get thrown around in the English teaching world.
You might be surprised to learn that all of these terms are very similar and essentially refer to the same idea – the teaching of English as a foreign language.
However, there are in fact a few key differences that can help you decide which path to take on your journey to becoming a qualified English teacher.
Let’s start with a few definitions…
This is simply an umbrella term that stands for ‘English as a second language’. It refers to the study programme that you teach students once you complete your TEFL/TESOL or CELTA certification.
This stands for ‘teaching English as a foreign language’. The term is most often used when referring to those who teach English to non-English speakers in a non-English speaking country.
This stands for ‘teaching English as a second language’. The term is commonly used in English speaking countries when teaching English to non-English speakers.
They are essentially the same thing, although it depends what country you’re in. In the UK or US, for example, teaching English to non-English speakers will be referred to as TESOL, whereas if you were in Europe it would be referred to as TEFL.
It’s often said that TEFL courses focus more on the academic side of things, while TESOL focuses more on teaching English used in daily life. However, this is not the case.
While TEFL and TESOL are essentially the same thing, CELTA refers to a specific qualification.
The term stands for ‘certificate in English language teaching to adults', which is now known as a ‘certificate in teaching English to speakers of other languages.’
Each of these courses can be taught anywhere in the world, as long as they meet the relevant accreditation standards.
For example, all CELTA courses are moderated and accredited by Cambridge Assessment English. You’ll find CELTA courses offered by 300 schools in over 60 countries around the world.
TEFL and TESOL courses have a much broader definition and, therefore, can vary a lot in terms of quality. It all depends on the organisation that moderates and offers accreditation for the course.
First of all, you should make sure a TEFL/TESOL course is accredited.
TEFL accreditation is a hallmark of quality. An independent organisation will have devised a set of standards that they believe courses should meet in order to deliver a quality programme.
Well known accreditors include TQUK, ACCET and IATQuO. Some top universities and national exam boards can also offer accreditation for TEFL/TESOL courses. These include Trinity College London, who offer an accredited CertTESOL programme.
The CertTESOL (Trinity Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is a TESOL or TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate that’s specially designed for people with little or no experience of teaching English.
That said, it can also be taken by those who have teaching experience, and require an internationally recognised teaching qualification.
Here at TEFL Iberia, we take Trinity College’s comprehensive Trinity CertTESOL course and add our own benefits, to ensure you receive the best possible training on your way to becoming a fully-fledged English teacher. These include:
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