Teaching English is defined by who you teach and where it is that you teach. Teaching English to students whose first language is not English but who live in an English-speaking country such as Canada or Australia is teaching English as a Second Language (ESL).
English as an Additional Language (EAL) is not always a second language (it could be a third or fourth); thus, EAL is preferred. Teaching English to students whose first language is not English who live in countries or regions not considered English-speaking, countries where English is regarded as a foreign language is called teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL).
What Is the Reason for the Distinction
The different terms clarify the context, or learning environment, in which the students are studying the language. EAL students live in English-speaking countries, meaning that their study of English is either a part of their schooling, to advance their credentials, or as a way for them to learn how to live in their community as a new migrant, how to catch the bus and buy groceries, etc.
Students learning English in this context will have exposure to the language outside of the classroom, such as with people in the community, on television or radio, and through readily available books and magazines. It will be a language they will most often speak and use in their daily lives, even if they speak their first language at home with their family.
Speaking first languages at home paradoxically helps in learning English, so always recommend parents maintain their first language with their children if possible.
Teaching Culture as an EAL Teacher
When we teach a language, we also introduce culture as the two are inextricably entwined. Your context (including who your students are) as an EAL teacher will dictate the level of cultural teaching you will want to include in your program.
For young children growing up in an English-speaking culture, not many explanations will be needed; they will probably learn as they go. Older children and teenagers will have access to the culture outside of school. They probably won’t look to you for help in interpreting and understanding situations; they will most often turn to their friends or colleagues for that.
Simply letting these students know that you are there for them if they need it would probably be enough support for older children unless they recently arrived, in which case more assistance in understanding their new culture may be required.
However, adults who have migrated to a new country will need you to be a cultural ambassador and explain how the society functions and what is expected in particular circumstances.
This article was written by Editorial Staff and originally published on WP Newsify.