Young girl smiling in class Close up head shot of boy in school Girl holding hand up, with teacher at white board
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Terminology

There are many acronyms used to refer the teaching of students for whom English is not the first language. 

The purpose of this short section is to clarify these.

     
ESL English as a Second Language  This term is used to refer to learners who have one other language. English is therefore a second language. They are learning English in an English-speaking country 
EAL English as an Additional Language This term is used to refer to learners who may have more than one other language. English is therefore an additional language and may be a third, fourth etc… language. They are also learning English in an English-speaking country
EFL English as a Foreign Language This term refers to learners who are learning English in a country where English is not the first language. They are therefore learning English in order to use it in another country
ESOL English for Speakers of Other Languages This term is generally used to refer to classes for learners of English in an English speaking country. It is mostly used for adult classes but may also be used in post-primary schools
TEFL Teaching English as a Foreign Language This term refers to teachers who are teaching English in a country where English is not the first language
TESOL Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages This term refers to teachers who are teaching English to speakers of other languages in an English speaking country
EMA Ethnic Minority Achievement This term refers to the overall provision for students for whom English is not the first language. It incorporates pastoral, language and curriculum provision
EMAS Ethnic Minority Achievement Service  This term is sometimes used to refer to the advisory and support services for schools. The support focuses on the whole student and provision for pastoral, language and curriculum needs
INTERPRET Interpret / Interpreting  This term is used when a person interprets because there is not a common language shared by others. Interpreting is oral
TRANSLATE Translate / Translation  This term is used to refer to the translation or written documents


Other Terminology

 

A Newcomer  a child for whom English is not the home language and who needs extra support in school for this reason  
Home language the language spoken at home
Translation translation is written
Interpreting interpreting is oral
BICS Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (conversational language)
CALP Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (language needed to access the curriculum)
Additional language some children may speak more than one language at home and so English is an additional 3rd or 4th language