What is TESOL?

Teacher with students


What’s the difference between TESOL and TEFL?

In theory, TESOL encompasses both TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language). However, in practice, TESOL and TEFL are both used as catch-all terms to describe teaching English around the world. TEFL is the most-widely used term internationally. However in North American countries and Australia the term TESOL is more popular.

In reality there’s very little difference between TEFL and TESOL. Both focus on teaching English to non-native English speakers – and the teaching methods and techniques are pretty much the same, regardless of where in the world you teach. Individual schools and countries can ask for specific qualifications though – so it’s always worth checking, if you’ve got your heart set on a particular location.



TEFL teacher with tefl student

What is TESOL certification?

Both TESOL and TEFL are generic terms that refer to the industry as a whole. In other words, there isn’t one specific “TEFL” or “TESOL” company, college or qualification (beware anyone who tells you differently!). Rather, there’s a number of providers that offer courses and qualifications in TEFL or TESOL – as well as numerous TESOL / TEFL jobs, teachers, students and schools.


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