What is an ESL program?
English as a second language (ESL) is often used for non-native English speakers learning English in a country where English is commonly spoken. English as a foreign language (EFL) is used for non-native English speakers learning English in a country where English is not commonly spoken. The term ESL has been misinterpreted by some to indicate that English would be of secondary importance. However, it simply refers to the order in which the language was learned, consistent with the linguistic terminology of second-language acquisition. The term ESL can be a misnomer for some students who have learned several languages before learning English.
English as a language has great reach and influence; it is taught all over the world. In English-speaking countries, English language teaching has evolved in two broad directions: instruction for people who intend to live there, and instruction 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. Although English is the principal language in both the US and the United Kingdom, it differs between the two countries, primarily in pronunciation and vocabulary. For example, some words and phrases that are inoffensive in the US are offensive in the UK and vice versa.
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 who are often deprived of the English language. English as a Second Language (ESL), also called English as a Foreign Language (EFL), is an English language study program for nonnative speakers. Most ESL programs have small classes so that students receive individual attention from their teachers. Students study English and also participate in the cultural and social activities of the school and community where they study.
The goal of an ESL program is to improve the students’ level of English. ESL classes teach different language skills, depending on students’ English abilities, interests, and needs. All programs teach the following: conversational English, grammar, reading, listening comprehension, writing, and vocabulary.
Many people go to ESL schools to prepare for study at a College or University. In this case, students can choose an intensive program that teaches academic English. Other students study at ESL schools to improve their English for travel or social purposes. They can study in General English classes to practice conversational English and learn the skills necessary for communicating in many different situations. Business English courses are also available for students who want to learn the specific vocabulary and communication skills necessary for doing business in English.