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What Do All the ESL Acronyms Mean? -by Dr. Robert W. F. Taylor
Summary : Every industry has its acronyms and Teaching English is no exception. If you are new to the world of language teaching, you may very well find these a tad confusing.
Every industry has its acronyms and Teaching English is no exception. If you are new to the world of language teaching, you may very well find these a tad confusing. Let me run through most of the acronyms you are likely to come across in ads for teachers and education articles:
ABE: Adults Basic Education (Canadian version of GED).
ACT: The ACT is America's most widely accepted college entrance exam. It assesses high school students' general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work. The multiple-choice tests cover four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science. The Writing Test, which is optional, measures skill in planning and writing a short essay.
CAI: Computer-Aided Instruction (like CALL but not necessarily for teaching the English language).
CALL: Computer-Assisted Language Learning (using computers to teach English).
CELTA: Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (Cambridge). Very popular in Europe and accepted elsewhere as an alternative to TESOL, particularly if the school follows a British curriculum or uses British teaching materials.
Certificate IV in TESOL: This is the Australian version of the TESOL certificate. See below for the definition of TESOL.
CELTYL: Certificate in English Language Teaching to Young Learners is Cambridge's version of TEYL. See TEYL below.
COTE: Certificate for Overseas Teachers of English (British course for non-native English teachers). This has been replaced by ICELT. See below.
DELTA: A diploma program from Cambridge that takes CELTA to a deeper level.
EAL: English as an Additional Language (where people already know two or more - such as in Europe).
ECE: Early Childhood Education (You need this to work in a day-care facility).
EFL: English as a Foreign Language (People have usually had little or no exposure to English. More a European term.
ERIC: Educational Resource Information Center in the USA (great online resource for teachers).
ESL: English as a Second Language (People have usually had some exposure to English).
ELT: English Language Teaching (or Training).
ESOL: English for Speakers of Other Languages (usually interchangeable with ESL/EFL).
ESP: English for Special Purposes (English for New Immigrants/Survival English, Academic English, Business English, English for Accounting and Finance, Legal English, Medical English, Technical English, English for Tourism and Hospitality).
GED: General Education Diploma (High School diploma for mature students primarily in the USA).
ICELT: In-service Certificate in English Language Teaching. This is a new course offered by Cambridge ESOL to replace COTE. See above. It is for experienced teachers who perhaps do not have as much basic training as they should, want to deepen their understanding of the teaching process or who have been away from language teaching for some time.
IELTS: International English Language Testing System. This is a British-based English test used primarily for college and university entrance. It is popular in the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. They are making inroads into North America. The test is receiving criticism in Canada because the British accents used in the Listening test are so different from Canadian accents. IELTS recently launched a USA site so hopefully the accent issue is being addressed and that will spill north across the border.
K-12: Kindergarten through Grade 12.
KET: This Key English Test from Cambridge is a basic English test poplar in overseas schools at junior high school level. Students will usually be at the Elementary ESL level. PET follows it. See PET below.
PET: The Preliminary English Test is a Cambridge test for ESL students at the intermediate level. Often given in schools the year following the KET.
P/SAT: PSAT/NMSQT stands for Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. It's a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT Reasoning Test™.
RSA: Royal Society of Arts. Cambridge University took over administration of their RSA course and renamed it CELTA. See CELTA above.
SAT: Scholastic Aptitude Test. US Colleges use this as an entrance test. It tests English language skills, reasoning and math problem solving.
TEFL: Teaching English as a Foreign Language
TEFLA: Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Adults
TESL: Teaching English as a Second Language
TESOL: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (usually interchangeable with ESL/EFL)
TESP: Teaching English for Special Purposes
TEYL: Teaching English to Young Learners (combines ECE and ESL). Now, Cambridge have brought out their version called CEYTL
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language (Used for university entrance for foreign students primarily in North America)
TOEIC: Test of English in International Communications (used by companies primarily to test the English of new employees)
WALL: Web-Assisted Language Learning (using the Internet to teach English)
Did I miss any? I did but I tried to give readers the main ones. If there are more you think should be added to my list, let me know and I'll add them in.
If you would like a copy of my eBook "Introduction to Teaching Overseas", contact me at rwftaylor(at)gmail.com. Dr. Robert Taylor has been teaching English in Thailand for close to ten years. He also teaches the e-learning TESOL course
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Common ESL Industry Acronyms:
English as a Second Language (ESL) | Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) | English as a Foreign Language (EFL) | Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) | English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) | Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) | English Language Teaching (ELT) | English Language Learning (ELL) | Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) | Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) | Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC)