What is an ESL? (English as a Second Language)

What is an ESL
What is an ESL

If you’re thinking about learning or teaching English then this Question and Answer guide should help you get started. English is an international language making learning English quite popular. This guide will also assist speakers of other languages choose a programme that’s right for them. Let’s get started…

1. What is an ESL (English as a Second Language)?

An ESL refers to Language programmes developed to teach those who want to learn English as a secondary language. It generally refers to those who do not speak English as their native language. Private institutions such as ours offer these programmes to learners in small classes to help improve their vocabulary, pronunciation and general understanding of the language. Making it easier for them to speak the language. These classes can be conducted to teach learners basic conversational skills, business English as well as advanced learners who require more intensive training. There are also programmes developed to help learners prepare for tests.

2. What is the difference between  ESL and EFL?

EFL refers to English as a foreign language. The primary difference between the two is that ESL (English as a second language) is taught in English speaking countries like Canada, Australia, Britain and the United States. While the EFL is taught in a learners home country.

3. What is the difference between ESL and ESOL?

The ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) is a way for non-native speakers to improve their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills in English. It’s also a way to validate these skills through a certificate. If you are trying to gain citizenship or employment in another (primarily English speaking) country you will need to prove your ability to do so, the certification the ESOL provides is a great way to do this.
The ESL on the other hand may or may not provide you with a certificate, and can teach a variety of subjects that may or may not prepare you for business and student opportunities in a primarily English speaking country, but will improve your overall ability to interact in English.

4. What do ESL teachers do?

ESL teachers are required to assist their students improve their understanding and command of the English language. They’ll be teaching students how to use English in a real life or day to day setting, and will help them develop their communication skills either as a student, business professional or someone who wants to interact effectively in an English speaking community. 

As an ESL teacher you’ll be able to work with students from all walks of life and in any age range. Opportunities exist to teach primary school students, high school students and adult students. Your duties will include teaching a student to speak, write and read English effectively and with confidence.

5. What is the ESL test?

For Teachers: The  English Language Placement test is created for teachers. This test ensures teachers are not only able to teach their chosen subject but are also able to teach English to learners effectively.

For Learners: This is the test you will be given to see if you have good command of the English language. Your grade will determine whether you pass or fail the test and is based on several factors.

6. What is the difference between ELL and ESL?

English Language Learners (ELLs) can be enrolled in an ESL course or programme, however it’s a general term used to describe students who are currently being taught English. Whether they learn this through an ESOL, EFL or ESL programme they will be referred to as ELLs.

7. What is an ESL score?

The ESL score determines your level of command in the English language. To do this the test takes a look at your language skills as well as your reading, writing and listening skills. 


As a teacher teaching English to non-native speakers can be very rewarding but more so for students. Being an ESL student will give you the confidence and practical ability to speak and communicate in English. Learning something new can be daunting but if you have the courage and find the correct language program you’ll realise that it’s not as hard as you may think.

Begin to improve your English today with one of our several courses created for students from beginner level to those who are more advanced and everything in between. Excel in business with our business English course or take our training for pilots and cabin crew members. We also offer programmes for families and students to learn English in an interactive environment. All our students get dedicated attention because our classes are small and we offer one on one training.

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