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What’s The Difference Between TEFL, TESOL, and TESL?

TEFL, TESOL, and TESL mean the same thing!

  • TEFL: Teaching English as a Foreign Language
  • TESOL: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • TESL: Teaching English as a Second Language

There is absolutely no difference between TESOL, TEFL, and TESL courses. These acronyms mean the same thing and any institute trying to differentiate their courses based on acronyms is very misleading. Some organizations say that if you want to teach English abroad, you should go with a TEFL course, but you should take a TESOL course if you want to teach English immersion programs at home. This is not true, so this page will present more information about TEFL, TESOL, and TESL.

Video: What is TESOL, TEFL, and TESL?

Are There Any Differences Between TESOL, TEFL, and TESL Methods?

The methodology of TEFLTESOL, and TESL is the same. Whether you want to teach English abroad or teach in an English immersion program in North America, the Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) method prevails all over the world. In fact, the CLT method can be used to teach any language!

There are different approaches that branch off CLT. The main ones used in ESL immersion programs in North America, ESL textbooks, and professionally run ESL schools around the world are the Communicative Approach and Task-Based Learning approach.

International TEFL, TESOL, TESL Accreditation Overview:

Any organization saying that there is a difference between TEFL, TESOL, and TESL is not telling the truth. What matters is the quality of the program, the tutors, and the accreditation. The TESOL, TEFL, and TESL acronyms do not infer any meaning on quality. For example, there are universities and recruitment agencies from Toronto who advertise that to teach English abroad candidates need a TEFL course instead of a TESOL course because they sell online TEFL courses without accreditation. The reason that such courses are not accredited for teaching jobs in Canada is exactly because they are easy to complete and don’t teach any lesson planning skills. Some online TEFL courses may be more expensive than the cheap Groupon TEFL courses because they carry a brand of a reputable university, but what matters most for your career growth is quality and accreditation.

TESL Canada is the leading accrediting organization in Canada and one of the most reputable organizations in the world. They have set standards all the way from standard 120-hour courses to master degrees. TESL Canada recognizes institutes and universities that offer TESOL, TEFL, and TESL courses. Course providers are free to choose the acronym they want and a wide range of TESOL, TEFL, and TESL courses meet the same TESL Canada standard, regardless of the acronym the course provider has selected for their program. What matters is meeting the standards set by TESL Canada and providing quality training.  TESL Canada is equivalent to the UK-based CELTA and Trinity CertTESOL certification, so you can use your TESL Canada certification to teach English abroad or in a native-speaking country.

Trinity CertTESOL is the renowned certification course accredited by Trinity College London. You can use your Trinity CertTESOL certification to teach English abroad or teach English at home. As with TESL Canada, Trinity accredits TESOL, TEFL, and TESL courses all over the world. For example, some Trinity CertTESOL courses in Europe run by the name of TEFL, while the 5-week on-site course offered in Toronto by Coventry House International is a TESOL course. Moreover, the same TESOL course offered by Coventry is recognized by both TESL Canada and Trinity CertTESOL.

Read More: Compare TESOL certification by career path and teaching destination

So, Which TEFL, TESOL, TESL Course Is Right For You?

Advanced Courses for Gap-Year Teachers, Immersion ESL Teachers in Canada/USA, K-12 ESL Teachers Worldwide, and Online ESL Teachers

OnTESOL offers advanced CELTA-equivalent certification courses for people who want a credential that gives them the flexibility to go abroad, teach immersion ESL in Canada or the United States, or work remotely as an online ESL teacher. All our courses cover core grammar, phonology, and methodology modules for teachers interested in teaching English in countries where there are strict requirements for certification.

If you want to get certified quickly to teach English abroad, the 120-hour Advanced TESOL certification course is enough to meet job and visa requirements. This course is also recognized by TESL Canada at their Standard Level 1 so you will also be certified to continue teaching at home, provided that you meet all of the requirements set by TESL Canada. The syllabus of the 120-hour Advanced TESOL certificate course is very similar to the Trinity CertTESOL / TESL Canada on-site course offered in Toronto by our parent school Coventry House International.

If you want a comprehensive course that includes a live component and a variety of extra specialist courses, the 168-hour Hybrid TEFL Certificate course includes our innovative live 10-hour Lesson Planning Workshop and three specialists on teaching English to young learners, teaching English online, and teaching English in foreign countries.

Read More: What Type of TEFL Certification Do I Need to Teach In…?

TEFL Certification - Get Certified Online to Teach English Abroad

Courses for Experienced ESL Teachers

OnTESOL also offers an advanced TESOL diploma course developed that is recognized by TESL Canada for their Professional Standard 2 certification. The syllabus of the 250-hour Advanced TESOL Diploma program is more comprehensive than the 5-week Trinity CertTESOL / TESL Canada course offered by Coventry House International.

We also offer a variety of specialist courses for people who want to be better prepared for teaching English to young learners, Business English courses, IELTS preparation courses, or specialize in teaching English online!

creating ESL handouts

Read More: Career Opportunities Guide

Get A TEFL / TESOL Certificate that matches your career goals
and qualify for jobs worldwide!

Our online TESOL / TEFL courses have been accredited by TESL Canada since 2003.
Earn a credential that is accepted abroad and in native English-speaking countries.