What is TEFL?
TEFL is the dynamic, fast-growing field of Teaching English as a Foreign Language. The field of TEFL is growing dramatically as people around the world strive to become proficient in English, the international language of communication and information, education, business and trade, technology and travel.
TEFL takes you around the world. Teaching English as a Foreign Language involves teaching EFL (English as a Foreign Language) to non-English speakers who live outside of English-speaking countries. EFL teachers can also use their TEFL skills teaching EFL to international students in English speaking countries.
TEFL, TESL, TESOL, TEAL – What’s the difference between certificates?
These are common acronyms in the English teaching field. There is some difference in meaning, but they are often used interchangeably. Certificates offered by many different programs may be labelled TESL, TEFL, TESOL or TEAL, but the labels are not copyrighted and so their use doesn’t guarantee any particular amount or kind of training.
TEFL stands for “Teaching English as a Foreign Language.” Programs that use this label usually place emphasis on teaching English to people living outside of English-speaking countries.
TESL means “Teaching English as a Second Language.” The term TESL is more commonly used when learners of English are studying within a community in which most residents speak English, for instance in ESL programs for new immigrants to English-speaking countries. However, there is a lot of overlap between TESL and TEFL. Many people with TESL certificates are teaching successfully in TEFL environments, and vice versa. Good teaching methodology is good teaching methodology, whether a teacher is TESL-trained or TEFL -trained.
TESOL is a more general term, meaning “Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.” TEAL is also broad: “Teaching English as an Additional Language.” Many people prefer TESOL and TEAL to TESL and TEFL because TESOL and TEAL are more neutral and inclusive terms.
When researching a training program in TESL, TEFL, TESOL or TEAL, your key questions should centre not on the acronym used on a certificate, but rather on the number of course hours, the qualifications of the TESL/TEFL/TESOL/TEAL instructors, the contents and level of challenge of the program, and the reputation that the program has gained in the larger professional community of ESL/EFL/ESOL/EAL teachers. If you can, consult professional ESL teachers’ associations and well-regarded English language schools in the training program’s geographical region to ensure that you have unbiased information about its quality and suitability for your own career or travel plans. Don’t assume that a TESL or TEFL program’s website is a reliable source.
What is the University of Saskatchewan’s TEFL Certificate?
Our TEFL certificate ensures that you have successfully completed two courses, Communicative Language Teaching I and II, which together give you the essential skills that you need to teach the English language effectively. Because our TEFL certificate is university-based and ladders into our longer, TESL Canada-recognized CERTESL program (Certificate in Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language), it's a great way to find international adventure while taking the first steps towards a rewarding Canadian career in TESL. Employers can research our TEFL certificate easily and are reassured by our academic home within a respected Canadian university.