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Teaching EFL vs ESLTeaching ESL and EFL can often be confusing for some. ESL stands for English as a Second Language and EFL stands for English as a Foreign Language. The main difference between the two is the status of English in the classroom and the country. Even with this distinction, many might still be unsure if there really is a difference between teaching ESL or EFL. For anyone interested in a career in teaching English to non-native english speakers it will be important to cover the key dynamics of EFL and ESL.
Teaching (ESL) English as a Second Language means teaching English to students living in a primarily English speaking country. Many examples of teaching ESL come to mind. Teaching immigrant students, from a country (such as Mexico or Laos) where English is not the native language, in the U.S. can be considered teaching ESL. In addition, another example of teaching ESL could include teaching in india
where the status of English is significant because of its use in commerce, trade, politics and other sectors can also be considered teaching ESL.
Teaching (EFL) English as a Foreign Language means teaching English to students where English is not the primary language or does not have high enough of a status to be demanded as a second language. For example, teaching (EFL) English as a foreign language would include Japan, china, Mexico, argentina, turkey, etc.
The vast implications and motivations for teaching English vary in cultural and social contexts. The motivations students have in learning English often vary between teaching ESL and EFL. Adult ESL learners in the U.S. are more than likely to have immediate interests in learning English since the U.S. is primarily English speaking country. Some might be looking forward to a promotion at work while others simply might want to have an easier time shopping. Their motivation is often very high as many do not want to return to their respective countries
Although teaching either ESL or EFL has its differences, both share a number of teaching methodologies. A teacher must prepare himself/herself by pre-assessing the class on (or before) the first day of class. This will give the teacher a good sense of how well the students can speak, read and write English, and influence how and what the teacher plans for the course. It is also a tool for teachers to determine what concepts need to be taught, as well as the desired performance. Some teaching methodologies (the author of this article) have found successful are to teach more inductively (for grammar?as an example--, give the example and have students elicit the rule). Another successful methodology would be teaching open-ended activities. Open-ended activities can include brainstorming, since it allows for multiple responses to stimulate and cue further interaction and teaching between students and the teacher.
Whether teaching either ESL or EFL it is critical to the success of the class learning for the teacher to get to know the students, have fun but challenging lessons, and plan lessons that will both motivate and meet their cultural differences.