Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

What are the differences between EFL and ESL?

Teaching English is defined by who do you teach And where do you teach. Teaching English to students whose first language is not English but who live in an English-speaking country such as Canada or Australia English as a second language (ESL)

English as an Additional Language (EALE) always a . Does not happen Second language (it can be third or fourth); Thus, EAL is preferred. Teaching English to students whose first language is not English, who live in countries or regions that are not considered English speakers, countries in which English is recognized as one Foreign language is called teaching english a foreign language (EFL)

what is the reason for the difference

The different terms illustrate the context, or learning environment, in which students are studying the language. EAL students live in English-speaking countries, which means that their study of English is either a part of their schooling, to further their credentials, or as a way for them to learn what to do with a new migrant. How to live in your community, how to catch the bus and buy groceries etc.

In this context, students learning English will experience the language outside the classroom, such as with people in the community, on television or radio, and through readily available books and magazines. It will be a language that they will speak and use frequently in their daily lives, even if they speak their first language at home with their family.

Speaking a first language at home paradoxically helps with learning English, so always advise parents to maintain their first language with their children if possible.

Teaching Culture as an EAL Teacher

women of different culture

When we teach a language, we also introduce culture because the two are inextricably linked. Your context as an EAL teacher (including who your students are) will determine the level of cultural learning you would like to incorporate into your program.

For young children who grew up in an English-speaking culture, not many explanations would be needed; They’ll probably learn as they go. Older children and adolescents will have access to out-of-school culture. They probably won’t look to you for help and to understand the situation; For this they often turn to their friends or colleagues.

Simply letting these students know that you are there for them if they need it will probably be enough support for older children unless they have arrived recently, in which case they may need more help understanding their new culture. Is.

However, adults migrating to a new country will require you to be a cultural ambassador and explain how society functions and what is expected in particular circumstances. They may also have a number of questions that you should devote time to your teaching.

Teaching Culture as an EFL Teacher

teacher in class

Learning English as a foreign language means that only the time it takes to speak and use English in the classroom allows a student to use English in their day to day life.

Less exposure will mean that students will be more dependent on the teacher to understand the ins and outs of the English language and the cultures associated with it. In an EFL setting, you will be a cultural ambassador of sorts and an English teacher.


sign of hard work

Students’ motivation to learn English will be influenced by the context. English as a Foreign Language will often be learned as a subject in school or other institutions. Students’ aptitude and proficiency in the language can dramatically affect their options for further education, which will mean that many students study too hard.

Often in the context of the EFL, schools prefer reading and writing in English rather than speaking and listening because that is how the test is taken. No matter how much you want to balance their skills, you should consider what the students need from you.

Do they need to speak and listen to English with a high proficiency level? Or does the school prioritize reading and writing in their learning at this stage? These are tough questions, and these issues have to be decided by you, the students, the institution and sometimes the parents.

In addition, motivation can be variable in the EAL context. Sometimes students don’t want to attend EAL classes because they don’t appreciate being labeled and told indirectly that they don’t speak or write English like their classmates. These classes can then be a source of embarrassment for some students.

learning rate

progress chart

In general, students learning in an English-speaking context will typically progress much faster than students learning English as a foreign language, which is a direct result of the extracurricular English language exposure they have.

Therefore, learning programs cannot be automatically transferred from an English-speaking context to an EFL context; Learners are not the same and should not be treated as such.

Context influences and informs learning

The context in which you teach can affect either the EAL or the EFL.

  • what is taught
  • how is taught
  • motivation of students
  • how long it takes students to practice the language (especially speaking and listening)

final remarks

What and how the students are taught depends on each particular context. Schools around the world have different curriculums and different expectations of students, and it is your job to make sure your students meet these expectations.

Motivation can be influenced by context; However, an enthusiastic, welcoming English teacher can inspire and enhance even the most resistant student. Finding out what your students need from their English language lessons is the place to help your EAL or EFL students get exactly what they need from your classes.

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