ESL Program Vocabulary & ELL Terminology

Must know ESL terms and terminology when working with English Language Learners ELLs

Hello everyone,
Have you ever been confused after having a conversation with a colleague or administrator about one of your English Language Learners (ELLs)?  Did some of the English as a Second Language (ESL) acronyms or phrases confuse you when teaching, discussing, and/or sharing information about English Learners?  
You are not alone.  

There are so many terms in education and they are constantly shifting. 
I have compiled a list of terms to help wade through the confusion.  This is just a beginning ELL glossary, so to start with, here is some must-know ESL terminology.

Terminology when referring to students:

English Language Learner (ELL) ~

refers to students who are learning English as a second language.  It includes anyone who doesn’t speak English fluently or who is still acquiring English.

Limited English Proficient (LEP) ~

refers to a student’s language level.  LEP was employed for years to label children as English Learners. Now replaced by terms like ELL.

Early Childhood English Language Learner (ECELL) ~

refers to a student below age 5 who is acquiring English as a second language.

Language minority (LM) ~

refers to a student from a family where a language other than English is spoken. It does not signify how well the student speaks or understands English.

Terminology when referring to programs:

Content-based E.S.L. ~

refers to a model of language education using content curriculum, activities, study skills, and strategies of second language learning to teach English. 

English as a Second Language (ESL) ~

refers to English language programs (push in and pull out) that focus on instruction in English to English Learners. 

English to Speakers of Other Languages(ESOL) ~ 

refers to language courses at the elementary and secondary levels.  It can be also used with Adult ESL classes. 

English for Specific Purposes (ESP) ~

refers to instruction in or the learning of English for a certain segment of business or a particular career.  

Immersion Method ~ 

refers to a  program model where children are submerged in English.  The English learner is put in English classes without a model, program, or any structure in place to learn English.  The English learner is to learn English by being surrounded by or immersed in the language.

Technology Enhanced Language Learning (TELL) ~ 

refers to a method of teaching and learning English using a variety of technology and electronic media.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) ~ 

refers to a teacher training program for teachers of English as a Foreign Language.

Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL)  ~ 

refers to teacher education programs to teach English as a Second Language.

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) ~ 

refers to specific education for teachers who teach English language learners.  This can also refer to the professional tests to certify a teacher in ESL. 
I hope this list will help you out in your next conversation about English Language Learners or ESL programs!
Happy Teaching,

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