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English as a second or foreign language
English is a language which has great reach and influence; it is taught all over the world under many different circumstances. In English-speaking countries, English language teaching has essentially evolved in two broad directions: instruction for people who intend to live there and for those who do not. These divisions have grown firmer as the instructors of these two "industries" have used different terminology, followed distinct training qualifications, formed separate professional associations, and so on. Crucially, these two arms have very different funding structures, public in the former and private in the latter, and to some extent this influences the way schools are established and classes are held. Matters are further complicated by the fact that the United States and the United Kingdom, both major engines of the language, describe these categories in different terms: as many British observers have had attributed to them, the saying goes that "England and America are two countries divided by a common language."
English as a Second Language is also known as English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), English as an additional language (EAL) and as English as a foreign language (EFL). The precise usage, including the different use of the terms ESL and ESOL in different countries, is described below. These terms are most commonly used in relation to teaching and learning English as a second language, but they may also be used in relation to demographic information.
English language teaching (ELT) is a widely used teacher-centered term, as in the English language teaching divisions of large publishing houses, ELT training, etc. Teaching English as a second language (TESL), teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), and teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) are also used.
Other terms used in this field include English as an international language (EIL), English as a lingua franca (ELF), English for special purposes and English for specific purposes (ESP), and English for academic purposes (EAP). Those who are learning English are often referred to as English language learners (ELL).
EFL, English as a foreign language, indicates the teaching of English in a non–English-speaking region. Study can occur either in the student's home country, as part of the normal school curriculum or otherwise, or, for the more privileged minority, in an anglophone country that they visit as a sort of educational tourist, particularly immediately before or after graduating from university. TEFL is the teaching of English as a foreign language; note that this sort of instruction can take place in any country, English-speaking or not. Typically, EFL is learned either to pass exams as a necessary part of one's education, or for career progression while one works for an organization or business with an international focus. EFL may be part of the state school curriculum in countries where English has no special status (what linguistic theorist Braj Kachru calls the "expanding circle countries"); it may also be supplemented by lessons paid for privately. Teachers of EFL generally assume that students are literate in their mother tongue. The Chinese EFL Journal and Iranian EFL Journal are examples of international journals dedicated to specifics of English language learning within countries where English is used as a foreign language.
The other broad grouping is the use of English within the Anglosphere. In what Braj Kachru calls "the inner circle", i.e. countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States, this use of English is generally by refugees, immigrants, and their children. It also includes the use of English in "outer circle" countries, often former British colonies and the Philippines (a former US colony), where English is an official language even if it is not spoken as a mother tongue by a majority of the population.
In the US, Canada, and Australia, this use of English is called ESL (English as a second language). This term has been criticized on the grounds that many learners already speak more than one language. A counter-argument says that the word "a" in the phrase "a second language" means there is no presumption that English is the second acquired language (see also Second language). TESL is the teaching of English as a second language. There are also other terms that it may be referred to in the US including; ELL (English Language Learner) and CLD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse).
In the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand, the term ESL has been replaced by ESOL (English for speakers of other languages). In these countries TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages) is normally used to refer to teaching English only to this group. In the UK and Ireland, people usually use the term EAL (English as an additional language), rather than ESOL, when talking about primary and secondary schools, in order to clarify English is not the students' first language, but their second or third.[dead link]
Other acronyms were created to describe the person rather than the language to be learned. The term LEP (Limited English proficient) was first used in 1975 by the Lau Remedies following a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. ELL (English Language Learner), used by United States governments and school systems, was created by James Crawford of the Institute for Language and Education Policy in an effort to label learners positively, rather than ascribing a deficiency to them. Recently, some educators have shortened this to EL - English Learner.
Typically, a student learns this sort of English to function in the new host country, e.g. within the school system (if a child), to find and hold down a job (if an adult), or to perform the necessities of daily life (cooking, taking a cab/public transportation, or eating in a restaurant, etc.) The teaching of it does not presuppose literacy in the mother tongue. It is usually paid for by the host government to help newcomers settle into their adopted country, sometimes as part of an explicit citizenship program. It is technically possible for ESL to be taught not in the host country, but in, for example, a refugee camp, as part of a pre-departure program sponsored by the government soon to receive new potential citizens. In practice, however, this is extremely rare.
Particularly in Canada and Australia, the term ESD (English as a second dialect) is used alongside ESL, usually in reference to programs for aboriginal Canadians or Australians.[dead link] The term refers to the use of standard English by speakers of a creole or non-standard variety. It is often grouped with ESL as ESL/ESD.
All these ways of denoting the teaching of English can be bundled together into an umbrella term. Unfortunately, not all of the English teachers in the world can agree on just one term. The term TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages) is used in American English to include both TEFL and TESL. This is also the case in Canada. British English uses ELT (English language teaching), because TESOL has a different, more specific meaning; see above.
Several models of "simplified English" have been suggested or developed for international communication, among them:
Language teaching practice often assumes that most of the difficulties that learners face in the study of English are a consequence of the degree to which their native language differs from English (a contrastive analysis approach). A native speaker of Chinese, for example, may face many more difficulties than a native speaker of German, because German is more closely related to English than Chinese is. This may be true for anyone of any mother tongue (also called first language, normally abbreviated L1) setting out to learn any other language (called a target language, second language or L2). See also second language acquisition (SLA) for mixed evidence from linguistic research.
Language learners often produce errors of syntax, vocabulary, and pronunciation thought to result from the influence of their L1, such as mapping its grammatical patterns inappropriately onto the L2, pronouncing certain sounds incorrectly or with difficulty, and confusing items of vocabulary known as false friends. This is known as L1 transfer or "language interference". However, these transfer effects are typically stronger for beginners' language production, and SLA research has highlighted many errors which cannot be attributed to the L1, as they are attested in learners of many language backgrounds (for example, failure to apply 3rd person present singular -s to verbs, as in 'he make' not 'he makes').
Some students may have very different cultural perceptions in the classroom as far as learning a second language is concerned. Cultural differences in communication styles and preferences are also significant. For example, a study looked at Chinese ESL students and British teachers and found that the Chinese learners did not see classroom discussion and interaction as important but placed a heavy emphasis on teacher-directed lectures.
English contains a number of sounds and sound distinctions not present in some other languages. Speakers of languages without these sounds may have problems both with hearing and with pronouncing them. For example:
Languages may also differ in syllable structure; English allows for a cluster of up to three consonants before the vowel and five after it (e.g. strengths, straw, desks, glimpsed, sixths). Japanese and Brazilian Portuguese, for example, broadly alternate consonant and vowel sounds so learners from Japan and Brazil often force vowels between the consonants (e.g. desks becomes [desukusu] or [dɛskis], and milk shake becomes [miɽukuɕeːku] or [miwki ɕejki], respectively). Similarly, in most Iberian dialects, a word can begin with [s], and [s] can be followed by a consonant, but a word can never begin with [s] immediately followed by a consonant, so learners whose mother tongue is in this language family often have a vowel in front of the word (e.g. school becomes [eskul], [iskuɫ ~ iskuw], [ɯskuɫ] or [əskuɫ] for native speakers of Spanish, Brazilian and European Portuguese, and Catalan, respectively).
Learners who have had less than eight years of formal education in their first language are sometimes called adult ESL literacy learners. Usually these learners have had their first-language education interrupted. Many of these learners require a different level of support, teaching approaches and strategies, and a different curriculum than mainstream adult ESL learners. For example, these learners may lack study skills and transferable language skills, and these learners may avoid reading or writing. Often these learners do not start classroom tasks immediately, do not ask for help, and often assume the novice role when working with peers. Generally these learners may lack self-confidence. For some, prior schooling is equated with status, cultured, civilized, high class, and they may experience shame among peers in their new ESL classes.
Furthermore, it is important for teachers to be aware that many materials and assessments are not valid or reliable when used with literacy learners. And teachers must realize that ESL Literacy learners benefit from instruction and curriculum that take account of their life experiences, goals, family and workplace needs. Adult ESL Literacy learners are a specific group of learners and require direct ESL literacy instruction in order to succeed. See Bow Valley College website at http://www.esl-literacy.com/  for strategies, outcomes and approaches used in Canadian adult ESL Literacy.
There is also debate about "meaning-focused" learning and "correction-focused" learning. Supporters for the former think that using speech as the way to explain meaning is more important. However, supporters of the latter do not agree with that and instead think that grammar and correct habit is more important.
Language has a very significant role in our lives. It symbolizes the cultures in our societies where individuals interact and use it to communicate between each other. The development of transportation has influenced the global relations to be more practical where people need to interact and share common interests. However, communication is the key power to facilitate interactions among individuals which would provide them with stronger relationships. In places like America where immigration plays a role in social, economic and cultural aspects, there is an increase in the number of new immigrants yearly. “The number of non-native English speaking children in U.S. public schools continues to rise dramatically.
Even though America is one of the most diverse countries in the world, there are few languages that are commonly used such as English and Spanish. English is an international language that the majority of the people use to communicate in America and especially when it comes to an international interrelationships. Although many non-English speakers tend to practice English classes in their countries before they migrate to any anglophone country to make it easier for them to interact with the people, many of them still struggle when they experience the reality of communicating with a real anglophone. Therefore, society forces them to improve their communication skills as soon as possible. Immigrants cannot afford to waste time learning to speak English especially for those who come with certain financial issues. The most common choice people make to build up their communication skills is to take some ESL classes. There are many steps that need to be followed in order to be successful in this aspect. However, the use of the new technology makes the learning process more convenient, reliable and productive.
Computers have made an entry into education in the past decades and have brought significant benefits to teachers and students alike. The use of Computers is a tool one can use to improve his/her learning skills. Computers help learners to be more responsible for their own learning abilities. Studies have shown that one of the best ways of improving one’s learning ability is to use a computer where all the information one might need can be found. In today’s developed world, a computer is one of a number of systems which help learners to improve their language. Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) is a system which aids learners to improve and practice language skills. It provides a stress-free environment for learners and makes them more responsible.
Computers can provide help to the ESL learners in many different ways such as teaching students to learn a new language. The computer can be used to test students about the language they already learn. It can assist them to practice certain tasks. The computer permits students to communicate easily with other from different places.
The learning ability of language learners can be more reliable with the influence of the a dictionary. Learners tend to carry or are required to have a dictionary which allows them to learn independently and become more responsible for their own work. In these modern days, education has upgraded its methods of teaching and learning with dictionaries where digital materials are being applied as tools. Electronic dictionaries are increasingly a more common choice for ESL students. Most of them contain native-language equivalents and explanations, as well as definitions and example sentences in English. They can speak the English word to the learner, and they are easy to carry around. However, they are expensive and easy to lose, so students are often instructed to put their names on them.
Teaching English therefore involves not only helping the student to use the form of English most suitable for their purposes, but also exposure to regional forms and cultural styles so that the student will be able to discern meaning even when the words, grammar, or pronunciation are different from the form of English they are being taught to speak. Some professionals in the field have recommended incorporating information about non-standard forms of English in ESL programs. For example, in advocating for classroom-based instruction in African-American English (also known as Ebonics), linguist Richard McDorman has argued, "Simply put, the ESL syllabus must break free of the longstanding intellectual imperiousness of the standard to embrace instruction that encompasses the many "Englishes" that learners will encounter and thereby achieve the culturally responsive pedagogy so often advocated by leaders in the field."
ESL students often suffer from the effects of tracking and ability grouping. Students are often placed into low ability groups based on scores on standardized tests in English and Math. There is also low mobility among these students from low to high performing groups, which can prevent them from achieving the same academic progress as native speakers. Similar tests are also used to place ESL students in college level courses. Students have voiced frustration that only non-native students have to prove their language skills, when being a native speaker in no way guarantees college level academic literacy. Studies have shown that these tests can cause different passing rates among linguistic groups regardless of high school preparation.
Dropout rates for ESL students in multiple countries are much higher than dropout rates for native speakers. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in the United States reported that the percentage of dropouts in the non-native born Hispanic youth population between the ages of 16 and 24 years old is 43.4%. A study in Canada found that the high school dropout rate for all ESL students was 74%. High dropout rates are thought to be due to difficulties ESL students have in keeping up in mainstream classes, the increasing number of ESL students who enter middle or high school with interrupted prior formal education, and accountability systems. The accountability system in the US is due to the No Child Left Behind Act. Schools that risk losing funding, closing, or having their principals fired if test scores are not high enough begin to view students that do not perform well on standardized tests as liabilities. Because dropouts actually increase a school’s performance, critics claim that administrators let poor performing students slip through the cracks. A study of Texas schools operating under No Child Left Behind found that 80% of ESL students did not graduate from high school in five years.
ESL students face several barriers to higher education. Most colleges and universities require four years of English in high school. In addition, most colleges and universities only accept one year of ESL English. It is difficult for ESL students that arrive in the United States relatively late to finish this requirement because they must spend a longer time in ESL English classes in high school, or they might not arrive early enough to complete four years of English in high school. This results in many ESL students not having the correct credits to apply for college, or enrolling in summer school to finish the required courses.
ESL students can also face additional financial barriers to higher education because of their language skills. Those that don’t place high enough on college placement exams often have to enroll in ESL courses at their universities. These courses can cost up to $1,000 extra, and can be offered without credit towards graduation. This adds additional financial stress on ESL students that often come from families of lower socioeconomic status. The latest statistics show that the median household income for school-age ESL students is $36,691 while that of non-ESL students is $60,280.[not in citation given] College tuition has risen sharply in the last decade, while family income has fallen. In addition, while many ESL students receive a Pell Grant, the maximum grant for the year 2011-2012 covered only about a third of the cost of college.
ESL students often have difficulty interacting with native speakers in school. Some ESL students avoid interactions with native speakers because of their frustration or embarrassment at their poor English. Immigrant students often also lack knowledge of popular culture, which limits their conversations with native speakers to academic topics. In classroom group activities with native speakers, ESL students often do not participate, again because of embarrassment about their English, but also because of cultural differences: their native cultures may value silence and individual work at school in preference to social interaction and talking in class. These interactions have been found to extend to teacher-student interactions as well. In most mainstream classrooms, teacher-led discussion is the most common form of lesson. In this setting, some ESL students will fail to participate, and often have difficulty understanding teachers because they talk too fast, do not use visual aids, or use native colloquialisms. ESL students also have trouble getting involved with extracurricular activities with native speakers for similar reasons. Students fail to join extra-curricular activities because of the language barrier, cultural emphasis of academics over other activities, or failure to understand traditional pastimes in their new country.
Supporters of ESL programs claim they play an important role in the formation of peer networks and adjustment to school and society in their new homes. Having class among other students learning English as a second language relieves the pressure of making mistakes when speaking in class or to peers. ESL programs also allow students to be among others who appreciate their native language and culture, the expression of which is often not supported or encouraged in mainstream settings. ESL programs also allow students to meet and form friendships with other non-native speakers from different cultures, promoting racial tolerance and multiculturalism.
Learners of English are often eager to get accreditation and a number of exams are known internationally:
Many countries also have their own exams. ESOL learners in England, Wales and Northern Ireland usually take the national Skills for Life qualifications, which are offered by several exam boards. EFL learners in China may take the College English Test. In Greece English students may take the PALSO (PanHellenic Association of Language School Owners) exams.
Between 1998 and 2000, the Council of Europe's language policy division developed its Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The aim of this framework was to have a common system for foreign language testing and certification, to cover all European languages and countries.
The Common European Framework (CEF) divides language learners into three levels:
Each of these levels is divided into two sections, resulting in a total of six levels for testing (A1, A2, B1, etc.).
This table compares ELT exams according to the CEF levels:
|CEF Level||ALTE Level||NQF Level||PTE General||Trinity College London ESOL GESE||Trinity College London ESOL ISE||UBELT exam||IELTS||Cambridge English Language Assessment BULATS||Cambridge English Language Assessment BEC||Cambridge English Language Assessment General||Cambridge English Language Assessment YLE||Cambridge English Language Assessment Skills for Life|
|C2||Level 5||Level 3||Level 5||Grade 12||ISE IV||4.0-5.0||8.5-9.0||90-100||n/a||CPE||n/a||n/a|
|C1||Level 4||Level 2||Level 4||Grade 10,11||ISE III||3.0-3.5||7.0-8.0||75-89||Higher||CAE||n/a||Level 2|
|B2||Level 3||Level 1||Level 3||Grade 7,8,9||ISE II||2.0-2.5||5.5 - 6.5||60-74||Vantage||FCE||n/a||Level 1|
|B1||Level 2||Entry 3||Level 2||Grade 5,6||ISE I||1.5||4.0 - 5.0||40-59||Preliminary||PET||n/a||Entry 3|
|A2||Level 1||Entry 2||Level 1||Grades 3,4||ISE 0||1.0||n/a||20-39||n/a||KET||Flyers||Entry 2|
|A1||Breakthrough||Entry 1||Level A1||Grade 2||n/a||<1.0||n/a||0-19||n/a||n/a||Movers||Entry 1|
Most people who teach English are in fact not native speakers. They are state school teachers in countries around the world, and as such they hold the relevant teaching qualification of their country, usually with a specialization in teaching English. For example, teachers in Hong Kong hold the Language Proficiency Assessment for Teachers. Those who work in private language schools may, from commercial pressures, have the same qualifications as native speakers (see below). Widespread problems exist of minimal qualifications and poor quality providers of training, and as the industry becomes more professional, it is trying to self-regulate to eliminate these.
Teachers teaching adult ESL in Canada in the federally funded Language Instruction to Newcomers (LINC) program must be TESL certified. Most employers in Ontario encourage certification by TESL Ontario. Often this requires completing an eight month graduate certificate program at an accredited university or college. See the TESL Ontario or TESL Canada websites for more information.
Most U.S. instructors at community colleges private language schools and universities qualify to teach English to adult non-native speakers by completing a Master of Arts (MA) in TESOL. Other degrees may be a Master in Adult Education and Training or Applied Linguistics. This degree also qualifies them to teach in most EFL contexts. There are also a growing number of online programs offering TESOL degrees. In fact, "the growth of Online Language Teacher Education (OLTE) programs from the mid-1990s to 2009 was from 20 to more than 120".
In many areas of the United States, a growing number of K-12 public school teachers are involved in teaching ELLs (English Language Learners, that is, children who come to school speaking a home language other than English.) The qualifications for these classroom teachers vary from state to state but always include a state-issued teaching certificate for public instruction. This state licensing requires substantial practical experience as well as course work. In some states, an additional specialization in ESL/ELL is required. This may be called an "endorsement". Endorsement programs may be part of a graduate program or may be completed independently to add the endorsement to the initial teaching certificate.
An MA in TESOL may or may not meet individual state requirements for K-12 public school teachers. It is important to determine if a graduate program is designed to prepare teachers for adult education or K-12 education.
The MA in TESOL typically includes second language acquisition theory, linguistics, pedagogy, and an internship. A program will also likely have specific classes on skills such as reading, writing, pronunciation, and grammar. Admission requirements vary and may or may not require a background in education and/or language. Many graduate students also participate in teaching practica or clinicals, which provide the opportunity to gain experience in classrooms.
In addition to traditional classroom teaching methods, speech pathologists, linguists, actors, and voice professionals are actively involved in teaching pronunciation of American English—called accent improvement, accent modification, and accent reduction—and serve as resources for other aspects of spoken English, such as word choice.
It is important to note that the issuance of a teaching certificate or license for K-12 teachers is not automatic following completion of degree requirements. All teachers must complete a battery of exams (typically the Praxis test or a specific state test subject and method exams or similar, state-sponsored exams) as well as supervised instruction as student teachers. Often, ESL certification can be obtained through extra college coursework. ESL certifications are usually only valid when paired with an already existing teaching certificate. Certification requirements for ESL teachers vary greatly from state to state; out-of-state teaching certificates are recognized if the two states have a reciprocity agreement.
Common, respected qualifications for teachers within the United Kingdom's sphere of influence include certificates and diplomas issued by Trinity College London ESOL and Cambridge English Language Assessment (henceforth Trinity and Cambridge).
A certificate course is usually undertaken before starting to teach. This is sufficient for most EFL jobs (see TEFL for an extended discussion of travel-teaching) and for some ESOL ones. CertTESOL (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), issued by Trinity, and CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults), issued by Cambridge, are the most widely taken and accepted qualifications for new teacher trainees. Courses are offered in the UK and in many countries around the world. It is usually taught full-time over a one-month period or part-time over a period up to a year.
Teachers with two or more years of teaching experience who want to stay in the profession and advance their career prospects (including school management and teacher training) can take a diploma course. Trinity offers the Trinity Licentiate Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (DipTESOL) and Cambridge offers the Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults (DELTA). These diplomas are considered to be equivalent and are both accredited at level 7 of the revised National Qualifications Framework. Some teachers who stay in the profession go on to do an MA in a relevant discipline such as applied linguistics or ELT. Many UK master's degrees require considerable experience in the field before a candidate is accepted onto the course.
The above qualifications are well-respected within the UK EFL sector, including private language schools and higher education language provision. However, in England and Wales, in order to meet the government's criteria for being a qualified teacher of ESOL in the Learning and Skills Sector (i.e. post-compulsory or further education), teachers need to have the Certificate in Further Education Teaching Stage 3 at level 5 (of the revised NQF) and the Certificate for ESOL Subject Specialists at level 4. Recognised qualifications which confer one or both of these include a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in ESOL, the CELTA module 2 and City & Guilds 9488. Teachers of any subject within the British state sector are normally expected to hold a PGCE, and may choose to specialise in ELT.
Native speakers will often be able to find work as an English teacher in Chile without an ESL teaching certificate. However, many private institutes give preference to teachers with a TEFL, CELTA or TOESL certificate. The Chilean Ministry of Education also sponsors the English Opens Doors program, which recruits native English speakers to come work as teaching assistants in Chilean public schools. English Opens Doors requires only a Bachelors degree in order to be considered for acceptance.
Note that some of the terms below may be restricted to one or more countries, or may be used with different meanings in different countries, particularly the US and UK. See further discussion is Terminology and types above.
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English as a second or foreign language