It is estimated that in a year’s time (2020), there will be more than 2 billion English-language students all over the world. So if you are thinking of teaching English to either young learners or adults in your home country or abroad, you may be familiar with what is TEFL. After all, it means Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and it is one of the most common acronyms you will come across in this industry.
Even if you knew what TEFL stands for, this article will delve deep into what TEFL is by giving you a detailed description and looking at why people decide to teach English. In Part 2 of this What Is TEFL series, more information about TEFL will be shared, specifically about what most people still don’t understand, and Part 3 in the series of articles will look at how you can have fun, travel the world, and work as an English teacher. Without further ado, let’s dive in.
What is TEFL?
Teaching English as a Foreign Language entails a teacher (most frequently one whose native language is English) teaching English to students whose first or primary language is not English.
There are also some other terms that are used synonymously with TEFL to refer to the same thing; however, there are some small distinctions between the first two below and TEFL. These terms are:
- TESL: Teaching English as a Second Language. The main difference between TEFL and TESL is that with the former, you teach English to students whose third, fourth, or even seventh language is English, and with the latter, English is their second language.
- TESOL: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Technically, this term applies when EFL teachers teach English to non-natives in an English-speaking country.
- Teaching English abroad.
Reasons for TEFL
You might be considering TEFL for your own personal reasons, but there are some common ones too.
Here are 7 reasons for TEFL:
1. Immersion in a country, culture, and language
When teaching English abroad, you get to travel to and live in a country, which is very different from only being a tourist in one. You can learn a new language (or two), immerse yourself in a new culture by learning its customs, traditions, and history, and try new (sometimes weird, sometimes amazing) food.
2. Travel opportunities abound
With TEFL, you get to teach and travel the world. Opportunities do not only exist for where you can travel to, but also when: during festival times, school breaks and holidays, in between contracts, and so forth.
3. It is good for your career and enhances your résumé/CV
Even if you don’t want to make teaching English your fulltime career from now until you retire, the skills that you learn as a teacher, from thinking on your feet and tailoring your language usage for different audiences to speaking in front of people, are transferable to most other working environments.
4. A career change
Perhaps you are not happy with your current job and looking to do something else for a while. TEFL gives you an opportunity to try out a new career and there are many training and education options available. Check out these online TEFL and CELTA courses.
5. Save money/Pay off debt
Depending on where you want to teach English, the compensation is quite good, and with the lower cost of living in some teaching English destinations, you can easily save some money and/or pay off any debt(s) you may have.
6. Always wanting to be a teacher
Maybe you have always wanted to be a teacher and have a passion for the English language. Well, teaching English is a perfect way to live out both!
7. Work flexi hours
You will be able to organize your time in most teaching jobs. Depending on where you work, weekends are oftentimes free and you can negotiate the number of hours you teach. You also sometimes have breaks in between classes in which you can explore your new home, grab a bite, or do your lesson planning.
As you learned in this article about What is TEFL, teaching English is commonly referred to as TEFL, TESL, or TESOL and there are many reasons and benefits why people choose to work in this industry.
Still interested? Look out for the next articles in this series so that you can know all there is to know about TEFL and be convinced why TEFL is for you.