Acronyms are an integral part of all professional and technical communication, effectively serving to minimize word count. However, without knowing what an acronym stands for, it can become a hurdle to comprehension. This holds especially true in the ESL (English as a Second Language) teaching sector, where acronyms abound. Let us decipher some of these, paying particular attention to TESOL.
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Some useful teaching acronyms are:
ELT: English Language Teaching, a broad term referring to teaching English to both native and non-native English speakers.
ELL: English Language Learner, a universal term applicable to anyone learning English, regardless of their native language.
ESL: English as a Second Language, refers to the process of teaching and learning English for those whose first language isn't English.
TESOL: (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and TEFL (Teaching English as a foreign language) are often considered synonymous, despite subtle technical differences. Both refer to the teaching of ESL and learning of ELLs. To become a TEFL or TESOL teacher, you usually need to obtain a TEFL or TESOL certificate. These certifications can be pursued through on-site courses at training centers or online at your convenience.
TESOL teaching typically occurs in government or private schools, language centers, and online platforms. The prerequisites for becoming an ESL teacher largely depend on the teaching context. A 120-hour TESOL certificate is generally the universally accepted minimum qualification.
ESL teachers are in demand globally, from bustling cities to quaint towns, and there are often more vacancies than there are qualified candidates. Contracts usually span 9 months to a year, and accommodation is often provided for teachers.
Work schedules and teaching days can differ based on the country and the teaching context. For instance, government schools follow regular school hours, while language schools for adults operate mainly after normal work hours when learners are free.
ESL teachers are found in virtually every corner of the world, with large urban areas sometimes housing hundreds of language schools. Numerous websites offer TESOL job opportunities worldwide, and completion of a TESOL certification is typically a prerequisite for employment.
Owing to the diversity of school types, ESL jobs cater to a wide age group, from kindergarten students to adults. Therefore, specialized courses are available for TESOL teachers who wish to focus on specific areas such as young learners or business English.
Teaching English as a Foreign Language presents an exciting opportunity to explore a different country, immerse yourself in its culture, and potentially learn a new language while teaching your own.