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What Do All the ESL Acronyms Mean?
Every industry has its acronyms and teaching English is no exception. If you’re new to the world of language teaching, you might very well find this a little confusing. Let me go over most of the acronyms you’re likely to come across in teacher ads and education articles:
EBA: Adult Basic Education (Canadian version of GED).
LAW: The ACT is the most widely accepted college entrance exam in America. It assesses the general academic development of high school students and their ability to complete college-level assignments. The multiple-choice tests cover four skill areas: English, math, reading and science. The writing test, which is optional, measures skills in planning and writing a short essay.
CAI: Computer-assisted instruction (like CALL but not necessarily for English language teaching).
CALL: Computer-assisted language learning (using computers to teach English).
CELTA: Certificate in Teaching English to Adults (Cambridge). Very popular in Europe and accepted elsewhere as an alternative to TESOL, particularly if the school follows a UK curriculum or uses UK teaching materials.
Certificate IV in TESOL: This is the Australian version of the TESOL certificate. See below for the definition of TESOL.
CELTYLE: The Certificate in Teaching English to Young Learners is the Cambridge version of the TEYL. See TEYL below.
SIDE: Certificate for Overseas Teachers of English (UK course for non-native English teachers). This has been replaced by ICELT. See below.
DELTA: A Cambridge diploma program that takes CELTA to a deeper level.
FTA: English as an additional language (where people already know two or more – like in Europe).
EEC: Early Childhood Education (you need this to work in a daycare).
THE F : English as a foreign language (People have generally had little or no exposure to English. Plus a European term.
ERIC: United States Education Resource Information Center (excellent online resource for teachers).
SLA: English as a second language (people have generally been exposed to English).
ELT: Teaching (or training) of the English language.
ESOL: English for speakers of other languages (generally interchangeable with ESL/EFL).
ESP: English for Special Purposes (English for New Immigrants/Survival English, Academic English, Business English, Accounting and Financial English, Legal English, Medical English, Technical English, Tourism and Hospitality English).
EDG: General education diploma (high school diploma for adult students mainly in the United States).
ICELT: Certificate in Service in English Language Teaching. This is a new course offered by Cambridge ESOL to replace COTE. See above. It is aimed at experienced teachers who may not have as comprehensive a basic training as they should, who wish to deepen their understanding of the teaching process, or who have moved away from language teaching for a time.
IELTS: International English language testing system. This is a British English test used primarily for entrance to college and university. It is popular in UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. They are making inroads into North America. The test is criticized in Canada because the British accents used in the listening test are so different from Canadian accents. IELTS recently launched a site in the US, so hopefully the accent issue is being resolved and it will spread north across the border.
K-12: From kindergarten to 12th grade.
ket: This Cambridge Key English test is a poplar test of basic English in foreign schools at lower secondary level. Students will generally be at the elementary ESL level. The PET follows him. See PET below.
ANIMALS: The Preliminary English Test is a Cambridge test for intermediate level ESL students. Often given in schools the year following the KET.
P/SAT: PSAT/NMSQT stands for Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. This is a standardized test that provides first-hand practice for the SAT Reasoning Test(TM).
RSA: Royal Society of Arts. The University of Cambridge took over the administration of its RSA course and renamed it CELTA. See CELTA above.
SAT: Academic aptitude test. American colleges use it as an entrance test. It tests English skills, reasoning and mathematical problem solving.
TEFL: Teaching English as a foreign language
TEFLA: Teaching English as a foreign language to adults
TESL: Teaching English as a second language
TESOL: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (usually interchangeable with ESL/EFL)
YOUR : Teaching English for Special Purposes
TEYL: Teaching English to young learners (combining ECE and ESL). Now Cambridge has released its version called CEYTL
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language (used for university entrance for foreign students mainly in North America)
TOEIC: Test of English in International Communications (used by companies mainly to test the English of new employees)
WALL: Web-assisted language learning (using the Internet to teach English)
Did I miss any? I did but tried to give readers the main ones. If you think there are others that should be added to my list, let me know and I’ll add them.
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