- General

Abbreviations, Acronyms and Terminology in the World of Learning English

Once you have started out to teach TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) lessons or if you are simply interested in the basics, you will encounter important terms that are usually abbreviated. These terms are essential when you want to communicate with your trainer and teacher associates. Teaching English as a second language has its own vocabulary, so it is wise to take notes:

  • EFL is short for English as A Foreign Language. This term is commonly used for students, usually a non-native English speaker, learning the English language in a non-English speaking country.
  • TEFL means Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Usually, this is a term relevant to the teacher who teaches the English language in a non-English speaking country.
  • ESL stands for English as A Second Language. This term is used when a non-English speaking native is learning the English language in an English-speaking country. Immigrants studying English in the United States are commonly called ESL students.
  • ESOL is for English for Speakers of Other Languages. This is a broad term, which is almost always inclusive of ESL and EFL.
  • TOEFL simply refers to Test of English as a Foreign Language.

In addition, here are important teacher terms you need to be familiar with:

  • L2 is an abbreviation for “second language”. Usually the term refers to students speaking a second language.
  • Task-based Learning is a teaching methodology. In ESL, as a student, you are given open-ended tasks, wherein you are given a problem to solve or a goal to accomplish. You are given the freedom to accomplish this task at your own approach.
  • Sheltered Instruction refers to giving instructions custom-tailored to the needs or characteristics of specific students. For TEFL or ESL teachers, this means giving content-based instructions to non-English speaking natives in simplified English.
  • Affective Feedback is a teaching method with the purpose of promoting student participation. This happens when teachers show signs of interest in their students’ learning comprehension and understanding. This is usually done in a form of encouragement by using facial expressions, intonations, and body language so that the student will be more willing to proactively ask questions if they do not understand the lesson.
  • Student-centered Learning (or Learner-centered) is a methodology of teaching which gives responsibility to the ones studying. This method translates into activities and methods which are centered on the students. Group work is an example of a student-centered activity. A student’s input on what the curriculum will be is another example.
  • Teacher-centered Learning is the traditional form of studying as we know it. Basically, this means that the teacher will decide how the class will be run, what the class will be learning and what is to be tested with little input from the students.

The world of learning English, in many aspects, has its own “language game.” Needless to say, teachers and students of English must also be familiar with these terminologies to make the most out of their experiences.