A Guide To What Is TESL
By admin - Sun Apr 29, 9:41 am
Article by Adrianna Noton
What is TESL? It is the abbreviation for Teaching English as a Second Language. This is distinguished from the more common Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). It applies to a particular teaching context where an individual’s first language isn’t English.
TESL, followed by the name of a country, can refer to a national federation of teachers and providers in some countries, such as Canada. It is also the commonly used term in the USA and Australia, where many immigrant populations need to acquire English. Classes are given by teachers working in private language schools, through government programs as well as by private tutors.
The term has been criticized as speakers may already speak two languages before they begin English classes. However, the use of “a” second language does not presume that English is necessarily “the” second one for those individuals. These days, there are more non-mother tongue speakers of English as there are native speakers.
As the world becomes more and more a global village, increasing numbers of children are being raised as multilingual individuals. English is no longer considered a foreign tongue, but simply an additional one. In some cases, particularly in the international schools, children may study three or more languages from primary upwards.
Learning English enables these populations to function in Anglophone societies. With this new skill, they are able to deal with administrative matters, follow a school curriculum and interact socially. In the case of those fortunate enough to attend an international school, their multilingual abilities open many new doors in terms of career opportunities.
Teachers working in this area have at their disposal many cutting edge methods. Classes tend to be student-centred and are highly participatory. A good instructor will keep his own speaking to a bare minimum whilst maximizing student talking time.
Teaching skills required include an appreciation of how a student’s mother tongue interferes with the acquisition of English. This will help the teacher to identify learning difficulties and address them during class. Some languages are structured similarly to English which makes it easier to learn. Others are vastly different.
Emphasis will often be put on developing speaking skills with the sounds of the language being conveyed through various means. With children, it may be though board games or song. For adults, simple poetry and various interesting exercises are used to familiarize the student with the sounds.
At other times, an instructor may be present in the classroom giving extra support to those needing it. Other individuals may require support in specialist academic areas such as in the writing of a thesis. Business people may ask for instruction to be given on their factory or on office premises.
“What is TESL?”, can be clearly explained in a few words. Training to become a TESL teacher, however, takes time and dedication since most native English speakers never learn the grammar and linguistic properties of their mother tongue. There are many opportunities to train, both on-line and by attending a school in person; they open the doorway to a varied and rewarding career.
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