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Resources and Useful Information

Important Terms in TESOL

EL/ELL--English learners (EL) and English language learner (ELL) are two common terms to refer to a student who is learning English as an additional language to their first language (L1)


L1 and L2--refers to the first or home language of a student (L1), the language they learned as a child and any later language they learn (L2)


ESL/ESOL--these acronyms describe the classes taken to learn English as an additional language.  ESL stands for English as a Second Language and ESOL stands for English for Speakers of other Languages.The terms vary by region and age group

emerging bilingual--a more recent term used to describe a person learning a new language who is not yet proficient.

multicultural learners--another recent term for people learning a new language

linguistically and culturally diverse--descriptor of people who are different from the majority of their surrounding peers

TESOL--can refer to the area of instruction for professionals (Teaching English to Speakers of oOther Languages) or to the organization of these professionals (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.  The international organization of  TESOL professionals is

newcomer/new arrival--a person who has recently arrived in their new country, usually less than two years

newcomer programs--a special program designed for new arrivals, usually for students who have limited English and often limited first language literacy

SIFE/SLIFE--a student who has experienced interrupted (SIFE) or limited (SLIFE) formal education


refugee--a person who has been forced to leave their home country and meets the requirements of the United Nations (persecuted based on race, religion, national origin, or membership in a social group)

immigrant--a person who has left their home country and is now living in a new country.  A refugee is one category of immigrant.  An immigrant may be in their country with or without prior authorization.

Unaccompanied minor--an unaccompanied minor is a person under the age of 18 who enters a new country without the benefit of adult supervision.

refugee-background student--a person who came to their country through refugee-resettlement or their children

trauma-background student--a person who has experienced trauma in their past

resilience--the ability to recover from a traumatic experience

OELA--The division of the US Department of Education which oversees second language education

ORR--The division of Health and Human Services that oversees refugee issues (Office of Refugee Resettlement)

Click here for a link to the Newcomer Toolkit developed by the United Stated Department of Education.

Visit our padlet for additional resources such as past trainings, information on English language services, and government requirements for English learner programs.


Click here for a link to the English Learners Toolkit developed by the United Stated Department of Education

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