An increasing number of people are teaching English to classes made up of asylum seekers, refugees or those with low literacy levels. This scenario is quite different from the ‘standard’ TEFL situation and from the typical Homelingua course but understanding some of the differences (and similarities) is quite informative. If you have an ‘TESOL background’, you will probably want to think about how ‘TEFL’ is different. Here is a link to a number of Teachitworld articles.
The term ‘TEFL’ is being used less and less. Cambridge CELTA is now described as a TESOL course rather than a TEFL one (the Trinity Certificate has long been described as TESOL). However, the old distinction has some advantages as it can alert teachers to students’ needs. Consider the differences involved in teaching:
- a 20-year-old Japanese student who has had 10 years of English grammar and vocabulary but no opportunity to speak English
- a very high level German-speaking student wanting to work on academic writing for his/her masters course
- a young Polish child who has recently moved to the UK
- a female 30-year-old Somali refugee who has lived in the UK for 4 years