Is TESOL an ESL certificate?

The world of teaching English to non-native speakers is awash with acronyms. To help categorize the acronyms they have been put into a series of headings.


  • TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language
  • TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • CELTA = Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults
  • CTBE = Certificate in Teaching Business English
  • CTEYL = Certificate in Teaching English to Young Learners
  • DELTA = Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults
  • TESL = Teaching English as a Second Language

So to answer the question of the title, TESOL is a certification awarded for the teaching of English, so in that respect it is an ESL certification.

Teaching Methods

The following represent a few of the more popular teaching methods.

  • CLT = Communicative Language Teaching: This teaching method has interaction at the core of its teaching and learning goals.
  • ESA = An English teaching methodology with the three elements of Engage, Study and Activate as its base.
  • PPP = Presentation, Practice, Production: A teaching methodology similar to ESA but which lacks the flexibility of the ESA method.
  • TBL = Task-Based Learning: A teaching method focused on learning a language through the completion of certain tasks.
  • CLL = Community Language Learning: A method where students decide what to talk about and the teacher stays outside of the group and provides help when necessary.

ESL teaching categories

In addition to the main teaching of English as a second language ESL there are further sub-categories.

  • EAL = English as an Additional Language
  • EAP = English for Academic Purposes
  • ESP = English for Specific Purposes
  • EYL = English for Young Learners

Classroom Activities (not acronyms but commonly used terms)

  • Chants = an exercise where students repeat a language point in a rhythmic way.
  • Drill = an exercise where students repeat words or phrases after the teacher chorally or individually.
  • Gap-fill = an exercise where students have to fill the missing parts of a text with the correct word. The missing words are usually provided in a separate box.
  • Information-gap = an exercise where one student has information the other needs. The information is obtained by asking the right questions.
  • Matching exercises = an exercise where students have to match a vocabulary word and a picture, a question and an answer, two halves of a sentence etc.
  • Role-play = an exercise where students pretend to be in a particular situation and act out roles in that situation. For example shop assistant and customer.

Teaching Programs

  • EPIK = English Program in Korea: A program to place English teachers in schools in certain parts of South Korea.
  • JET = Japanese Exchange and Teaching Programme: A program to place English teachers in schools around Japan.

Miscellaneous mix

  • CEF = Common European Framework
  • L1 = a student’s first language or mother tongue.
  • L2 = the language a student is learning.
  • Language level = the ability in English a student has e.g. beginner, intermediate etc.
  • STT = Student Talking Time
  • Syllabus = a list of the language items a student will study and be expected to learn during a number of classes.
  • TTT = Teacher Talking Time

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