ESL (English as a Second Language) is about learning or teaching the English language in an English speaking country. In the United States, students take ESL classes because English is not their first language, and they may want to find a better job to prepare them for American high school or university classes. A benefit of studying ESL is that the language of the community at large is English. So finding natural opportunities to use English is easy.
EFL (English as a Foreign Language) is about learning or teaching the English language in a non-English speaking country. Students take EFL classes because they want to study or travel to an English speaking country. Or their school or job may require them to learn English. A difficulty of studying EFL is that the language of the community at large is not English. So finding natural opportunities to use English is difficult.
There are several types of ESL and EFL classes. One kind is general or survival English where students learn basic skills needed for living in an English speaking community, such as may be needed for greeting people, for shopping, for banking, or for the doctor’s office. Another type of class, English for Specific Purposes (ESP), focuses on a very specific and limited set of skills, such as what a waitress would need for waiting tables, or what a salesman would need for selling a product. Similarly, high schools and colleges may offer courses focusing on English for Academic Purposes (EAP) to provide students with the English skills necessary for success in the school. These courses may be simply called ESL courses, which can be confusing since there are several types of ESL.
In the United States, Intensive English Programs (IEPs) prepare students for full participation in the university by accelerating their English acquisition and fluency and by providing them with strategies for cultural competence and success in degree programs. Courses are offered at several different levels to ensure that instruction is neither too easy nor too difficult. Exiting such programs may require simply passing prescribed classes or passing standardized tests such as IELTS, TOEFL or TOEIC.
Concordia’s AIEP is a type of ESL program. Courses move at an accelerated pace to prepare students for full participation in the university. If you are looking for ESL courses with an academic focus, for EAP courses, or for an IEP, look no further. You found us.