TESOL in China



Understanding Industry Acronyms for TESOL Careers

Understanding Industry Acronyms for TESOL Careers


There are a number of acronyms used for teachers. To fully understand the profession, it is important to understand what these terms mean and the ways they are used to identify teaching.

Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is a popular term (and the name of a professional association) that often serves as a general title for the field of teaching that includes TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) and TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language).

TESL is the term most often used for teaching English to speakers of other languages in the U.S., while TEFL refers to teaching English programs in countries where English is not the primary language.

While teacher of ELLs in U.S. public schools must possess a teaching license and ESL credentials awarded through their state department of education, educators who teach ESL in private language schools throughout the world must generally possess a bachelor’s degree or higher, fluency in another language, and some type of certificate in TESL or TEFL.

Individuals seeking to teach English overseas are best served by contacting the ministry of education in the country where they plan to work for more information about the country’s educational system and academic requirements for teachers.

In the U.S. ESL teachers, in addition to teaching in a public or private school setting, may also teach in private language schools for both adults and children (often referred to as ESOL programs – English for Speakers of Other Languages); at the college/university level; for a private tutoring company; or for international companies, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Further, educators who are skilled in TEFL and TESL are in demand in U.S. government-sponsored organizations such as the Peace Corps and the U.S. Department of State.



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