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What Do All the ESL Acronyms Mean?
Every industry has its own characters and Teaching English too. If you are new to the world of linguistics, you may find this very confusing. Let me show you some of the most common acronyms you’ll come across in advertising for teachers and educational materials:
FATHER: General Education (Canada’s GED).
ACT: The ACT is the most widely accepted college entrance exam in America. It assesses the academic performance of high school students and their ability to complete college courses. The multiple-choice test covers four skill areas: English, math, reading, and science. The Writing Test, which is optional, tests the ability to prepare and write a short essay.
CAI: Computer Aided Instruction (such as CALL but not necessarily for English language teaching).
CALL: Computer Assisted Language Learning (using computers to teach English).
CELTA: Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (Cambridge). Most popular in Europe and some accepted as an alternative to TESOL, especially if the school follows the British curriculum or uses British teaching materials.
Certificate IV in TESOL: This is the Australian version of the TESOL certificate. See below for a definition of TESOL.
CELTYL: The Certificate in English Language Teaching for Young Learners is the Cambridge version of TEYL. See TEYL below.
COTE: Overseas English Teacher Certificate (British course for non-native English teachers). This has been updated by ICELT. See below.
DELTA: A Cambridge-based diploma program that takes the CELTA to an advanced level.
EAL: English as an Additional Language (where people already know two or more – like in Europe).
ECE: Early Childhood Education (You need this to work in a daycare center).
EFL: English as a Foreign Language (People often have little or no knowledge of English. More European words.
Eric: Educational Resource Information Center in the USA (a great online resource for teachers).
ESL: English as a Second Language (People usually have some knowledge of English).
ELT: English Language Teaching (or Education).
ESOL: English for Speakers of Other Languages (often replaced by ESL/EFL).
ESP: English for Special Purposes (English for New Immigrants/ Survival English, Academic English, Business English, English for Accounting and Finance, Legal English, Medical English, Technical English, English for Tourism and Hospitality).
G.E.D.: General Education Diploma (High School Diploma for mature students especially in the USA).
ICELTS: In-service Certificate in English Language Teaching. This is a new course offered by Cambridge ESOL to replace COTE. See above. It is for experienced teachers who may not have the necessary formal training, who want to develop their understanding of teaching or who have been away from language teaching for some time.
IELTS: International English Language Testing System. This is a British-based English test that is used mainly for college and university entrance. It is popular in the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. They are entering North America. The test is criticized in Canada because the British vocabulary used in the Listening test is very different from the Canadian vocabulary. IELTS has recently launched a website for the USA so I hope that the issue is addressed and this will spread north across the border.
K-12: Kindergarten to Grade 12.
KET: The Essential English Test from Cambridge is a basic test of English in schools outside secondary school. Students are usually at the Elementary ESL level. PET follows. See PET below.
PET: The Preliminary English Test is a Cambridge test for ESL students at the intermediate level. They are usually given in schools the year after KET.
P/SAT: PSAT/NMSQT stands for Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. It is a standardized test that provides automated practice for the SAT Reasoning Test (TM).
RSA: Royal Society of Arts. Cambridge University took over the leadership of their RSA course and called it CELTA. See CELTA above.
SAT: Educational Aptitude Test. US colleges use this as an entrance exam. It tests English language skills, reasoning and math 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 (often replaced by ESL/EFL)
TSP: Teaching English for Special Purposes
TEYL: Teaching English to Young Learners (combines ECE and ESL). Now, Cambridge has released their version called CEYTL
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language (Used for university entrance for foreign students especially in North America)
TOEIC: English Test in International Communications (used by companies mainly to test the English of new employees)
RICE: Online Language Learning (using the Internet to teach English)
Have I ever disappeared? I did, but I tried to provide a large readership. If there are any that you think should be added to my list, let me know and I will add them.
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