TEFL, TESOL, TESL – What’s the difference?

When it comes to teaching English as a foreign language, there are lots of acronyms out there, with TEFL, TESOL, TESL being the main ones.  It’s easy to get confused when you’re new to the subject, but what you’ll find is that many of them are very similar in meaning.

TEFL, TESOL, and TESL are three of the most common and here’s a quick guide to what each stands for:


This stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language and is normally used to define teaching abroad.


This stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and is most commonly used for teaching to non-English speakers within the United States, but can be used for teaching abroad too.


This stands for Teaching English as a Second Language and is much the same as TESOL in that it is teaching non-native English speakers.

In practice, the skills needed for all three of these disciplines are the same, as you are still training someone who wants to improve their level of English – no matter their first language, or where you are teaching.

TEFL/TESOL methodology is designed to get across concepts such as grammar and vocabulary in an effective way to students who don’t speak the language.  They pick up these language items through an immersion class that’s conducted entirely in English, as this is the most effective way of learning a new language.

With the courses from TEFL Org, you will have an in-depth study of these methodologies and will learn just how to plan and deliver the best English lessons you can.

What’s more, our courses will certify you in both TEFL and TESOL, so no matter where you choose to teach you can do so with confidence.

For more information about our courses, feel free to get in touch via email , live chat or call us on 332.255.2417.

To view our range of course options visit our Courses page.

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