As with any academic field, TESOL has its own language and commonly used acronyms. These terms are easy to confuse with each other! The following is a list and explanation of some of the most commonly used acronyms to describe the field of TESOL education.
TESOL - Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (the professional field that prepares teachers to address the needs of ELs)
ELs (or ELLs) - English Learners or English Language Learners (the students we serve)
ESL - English as a Second Language (the service offered to students)
ESOL - English for Speakers of Other Languages (the content area studied by teachers)
EFL - English as a Foreign Language (the teaching of English outside an English speaking country)
English Learners (ELs) are the fastest growing segment of the US student population.
While the EL student population continues to increase dramatically, the number of well-trained teachers that can provide effective instruction to these students has not dramatically increased.
About 50% of teachers in the field report that they are unprepared to meet EL students’ needs.
ESOL is one of the areas that are hard-to-fill in Kansas.
ELs are much less likely than Native English Speaking peers to graduate from high school or meet state & national standards.
“The courses I have taken in the TESOL program at Emporia State University to obtain ESL certification and a Master's Degree impact my teaching every single day. I teach English at the middle school level and the strategies that I have learned have helped me become a better teacher. I have learned to make the classroom more visual, using more posters, visuals and graphics. I have learned to help English language learners to feel more confident and comfortable with learning in my classes. I have learned to scaffold assignments and to differentiate lessons so that all learners can be successful. In my classes we celebrated diversity so my students do learn that all learners are different, but that differences are very, very cool.”
– Melinda Rose