TEFL, pronounced ‘teffel’, stands for “Teaching English as a Foreign Language”. The teaching of English in an environment where English is not already the predominant language, such as in a non-English-speaking country, to someone whose first language is not English Example: Teaching English to non-English speaking Thais in Thailand.

TESL, proncounced ‘tessel’, stands for “Teaching English as a Second Language”. The teaching of English in an environment where English is the predominant language, to someone whose first language is not English (Example: Teaching English to non-English speaking immigrants in England or the US).

TESOL, pronounced ‘teesol’ , stands for “Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (or) Teaching English as a Second or Other Language”. This acronym might be a substitute for TESL more than for TEFL. It is sometimes preferred over TESL because English can be a third, fourth or fifth, etc. language to a student.

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