How ESL and EFL Classrooms Differ

In our country, EFL has been the standard for many years, but now more and more centers are including ESL as an alternative for traditional English teaching. In this article, the author revises some of the approaches for each type of learning.

Oxford University Press

Filling in formsIn her first guest post for OUP, Kate Bell, a writer and researcher, talks us through some of the practical differences between ESL and EFL classrooms.

You may think that teaching English is teaching English, whether you’re doing it in a Thai village or a suburban California school. And you’d be right, sort of. Many of the same textbooks, lesson plans, and online resources serve in both cases. Many English teachers go from one type of teaching position to the other, and back again. But there are fundamental differences between ESL and EFL classrooms. Understanding them will make you a more effective teacher.

An ESL classroom is in a country where English is the dominant language. The students are immigrants or visitors. The class is usually of mixed nationalities, so students don’t share a native language or a common culture. Outside the classroom, students have a specific, practical need…

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