What is the difference between ESL and ELL?

In the world of English language teaching you will come across a number of abbreviations, some of which are very similar and easily confused. One common confusion is between the terms ESL and ELL. The simple answer is that ESL is an abbreviation for English as a Second Language, and ELL is an abbreviation for English Language Learner. The term ESL refers to the course or class, whereas ELL refers to the English student.

What exactly does "ESL" mean?

ESL stands for "English as a Second Language." This term refers to programs designed specifically for ELL students. For example, many schools have an ESL class for ELL students. These classes frequently make use of ESL-specific programs and curricula. ESL is a broad term that refers to the tools and methods used to teach ELL students.

What does "ELL" stand for?

ELL stands for "English Language Learner," and it refers to students who are currently learning English. The term "ELL" refers to students who speak another language and are learning English as a second language.

It can also refer to a student who is struggling to learn English as a second language, though this is not a common application of the term. Regardless, ELL refers to the student and their current situation in learning the English language. These students are also sometimes referred to as ELs (English Learners).