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Difference Between ESOL and ELL


ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)
ESOL are English teaching programs used for teaching English to speakers of other languages or for people whose native language is not English. In many countries, including the U.S., U.K. etc., people come to earn a living. They may or may not know the English language even enough to communicate properly. In the U.S., ESOL programs help the children in primary and secondary schools. The teachers teaching in these classes are trained and have to work with smaller classes. They also provide assistance to children in other languages for subjects other than English like math and science where the student finds it difficult to grasp the subject due to the language barrier.

There are many private, academic institutes which also help in teaching the English language to students who are on special Visas and help them learn the language so that they can get better jobs, etc. after their education is over. These students are either adolescents or adults. These institutes provide English language programs to college-bound students, students who are already attending college, or professionals who need help with the English language. Sometimes before a student attends a technical or community college he/she is offered an ESOL program so that he/she can improve the proficiency in the language.

Sometimes ESOL sessions are provided by the public library for people who would like to learn or get help with English. Teachers can be either local teachers or the librarian, and they charge a fee for teaching.
Sometimes ESOL programs are offered by churches and volunteer organizations and refugee centers to help immigrants learn the English language in a way that they do not have to pay for it.

ELL (English Language Learners)

We just discussed about different programs which are run to help the students whose native language is not English. To learn English and to help them in academics in primary or secondary schools, or even adults and adolescents in getting through college or getting better jobs, these programs are used. The students who attend these special classes for learning the English language are called ELL students or English Language Learners.

ELL students face a lot of difficulties in the classes and are easily identified as they, at first, keep very quiet in the class due to the communication problems and slowly warm up to the class. These students come from many diverse cultures and the language as well as the culture also provides a barrier to them in learning. For example, it has been seen that Chinese students give a lot of importance to teacher lectures but do not consider class interaction and discussion as important.

In learning English, ELL students face difficulties in pronunciation and syntax. For example, German and Spanish students have many similar words in their language as English, but students from Asia are acquainted with languages which are not at all like English.


The main difference between the terms “ESOL” and “ELL” is that ESOL is an English learning program, “English for Speakers of Other Languages.” “ELL” stands for the students who are learning the English Language or are enrolled in these programs, “English Language Learners.”

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