Moving teaching contexts: ESOL

Alex Solvyev

If you're used to working in one particular teaching context, it can be really daunting to move to another. Alex is a teacher who has moved from teaching EFL to teaching ESOL - find out what the differences are and what the experience was like. 

ESOL? EFL? TEFL? What are all of these?

It can be difficult to work out exactly what all these terms refer to and whether the mean the same in one country as in another, so here's a quick overview. 

 In the UK, most language school teachers would say that they are in 'ELT' or English Language Teaching but that they teach 'EFL', (English as a foreign language) or ESL (English as a second language). There's a difference in academic research and writing between EFL and ESL, but most teachers don't distinguish between the two. 

In contrast, if you work with migrants and refugees in a further education college, then you are teaching 'ESOL' or 'English to speakers of other languages'. These classes usually take place in further education colleges and the learners' goals are usually more focused on integration into the new country. 

Do you have the same distinctions where you teach?

Now that's out of the way, let's hear from Alex and his experience of changing teaching context!

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What did you learn about this context?
Would you like to teach in this environment? Why / why  not?

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