How to support English language learners with formative assessment
- Tips & Strategies
Some people would say abbreviations and acronyms make life easier. Well, if you google these insidious capital letters for ELT, you might be surprised. There are tons of them! And yeah, they unify teaching standards and sometimes save us time, but to remember all of them could be a pretty tricky task.
So, let’s start small. The first abbreviation you see in this text is ELT. ELT stands for English Language Teaching. It is used especially in Britain to refer to the teaching of English as a second language or English as a foreign language. In North American usage this is often referred to as TESOL.
It is most often used by educators, publishers, and training programs, whilst professionals usually use ESL or EFL.
Talking about these, EFL is defined as “English as a Foreign Language” and ESL — “English as a Second Language”.
ESL is a basic term with several somewhat different definitions. In a loose sense, English is the second language of anyone who learns it after learning their first language in infancy in the home. Using the term this way, no distinction is made between second language, third language, etc.
However, English as a second language is often contrasted with English as a foreign language. Someone who learns English in a formal classroom setting, with limited or no opportunities for use outside the classroom, in a country in which English does not play an important role in internal communication (China, Japan, and Korea, for example), is said to be learning English as a foreign language.
Someone who learns English in a setting in which the language is necessary for everyday life (for example, an immigrant learning English in the US) or in a country in which English plays an important role in education, business, and government (for example in Singapore, the Philippines, India, and Nigeria) is learning English as a second language.
Still, there is no agreed term for the field of English teaching. The acronyms ESL and EFL, TESL became widespread in the 60s and 70s. Obviously, because of their convenience, the new ones appeared and started circulating all over the world.
TESL is an acronym for Teaching English as a Second Language, used either to describe the teaching of English in situations where it is a second language or to refer to any situation where English is taught to speakers of other languages.
TESOL means Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.
The acronym can be used to refer both to the US-based organization of that name and to describe the teaching of English in situations where it is either a second language or a foreign language.
In British usage this is more commonly referred to as ELT, i.e. English Language Teaching, and TEFL is an acronym for Teaching English as a Foreign Language, used to describe the teaching of English in situations where it is a foreign language. This term is becoming less frequently used than TESL, or TESOL.
In this short guide, we collected a full list of the most common abbreviations and acronyms regarding Language, Teaching at schools, Methodology, Testing, and International Teaching Qualifications. Of course, it may be hard to memorize everything, but you can always keep this blog close at hand to check any abbreviation you come across.
In language teaching and learning, abbreviations cover linguistics/language, language skills, teaching-learning methodology, assessment, and the education business. Many come from:
So, first and foremost, we shall start with the language. For sure, it’s the main material we are working with. The common abbreviations defining English are:
We already mentioned ELT, ESL, and EFL. Here are some additional abbreviations:
EAP: English for Academic Purposes
English language courses designed to help learners study, conduct research, or teach in English, usually in universities or other post-secondary settings. Such courses may prepare students to take tests such as TOEFL or IELTS, they may prepare students to be able to deal with listening, speaking, reading and writing demands in academic courses, and may also address study skills.
EAP is a branch of English for special or specific purposes and based on the study of how language is used for academic purposes.
ESP: English for Specific Purposes
The role of English in a language course or programme of instruction in which the content and aims of the course are fixed by the specific needs of a particular group of learners. For example courses in English for academic purposes, English for science and technology, and English for Nursing. These courses may be compared with those which aim to teach general language proficiency, English for general purposes.
EYL: English for Young Learners
Elementary school children's learning of English in the context where English is a second language or a foreign language.
In many schools, we address the director of studies as the DOS/DoS. (S)he has a DOS assistant — an ADOS.
In the classroom, there might be a SB (smart board) and an OHP (overhead projector), which uses OHTs (overhead transparencies). Most acronyms at school, however, deal with courses:
The proficiency of a teacher is distinguished by his/her knowledge, experience, talent, and methodological skills. Here we’ll start with some basic ELT terms. These abbreviations are often used in teacher training courses like CELTA:
Let’s take a look now at abbreviations and their meanings for teaching approaches, interactions, skills, instructions, etc.
|BICS||Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills|
|CALP||Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (formal content material, academic learning)|
|ELA/ELD||English Language Acquisition/Development|
|SUP||Separate Underlying Proficiency (being good in the L2 is different from being good in the L1, therefore we can’t use the L1 to help people learn the L2)|
|TEL||Threshold Level English (the level where people start to communicate independently)|
At some point in language learning, students need to check their knowledge. Depending on the purpose, they may want to take a test to obtain the right level of language for a job or university admission, or to get a residency visa, or whatever.
Anyway, tests are the best way to provide feedback, and good results give the best contentment and motivation. In this section you will find abbreviations for types of exams and organizations.
Firstly, the level of English is assessed by
CEF/CEFR: Common European Framework of Reference for language levels, language performance levels now widely used around the world
The best way to declare your professionalism as a teacher is to get qualified. Besides, finding work as an English teacher without training and qualifications can be more difficult. Very often, pay rates also depend on the qualification.
Choosing a modern training program could be confusing. So, here are some well-known courses and certificates that are based on years of experience and provide trainees with qualitative knowledge and skills in the teaching and learning area:
Currently, Cambridge does not offer CELT-P, CELT-S, CELTYL preparation courses. However, if you have already received one of them, it is valid.
Additionally, you should be careful in such cases:
We hope you found this guide useful and that it will help you enrich your teaching routine and vocabulary, as well as feel free to use any ELT abbreviation you come across. Remember also to always make sure that you and your audience know the exact meaning of the abbreviation or acronym in context and to not overuse them to avoid confusion.
Learn more about teaching
CELTA certified teacher of General English
How to support English language learners with formative assessment
10 activities for developing listening skills
Finding Your Place: Top Resources to Find Job Opportunities Abroad
Using songs for teaching English
Planning a writing lesson
A positive approach to language mistakes