Back to Blog

Introducing: The TEFL Lab’s Glossary of Common Acronyms

professional development Mar 07, 2022

Whether you’re brand new to the EFL career path or have been around for a while, there’s no denying the confusion that exists around the countless acronyms that plaster the lesson plans, job postings, certification courses, staff meetings, and social media posts that we encounter every day.

Why do I need to learn what all these acronyms mean?

Let’s be honest, being the one person in a staff meeting, Facebook group, or TEFL certification course to ask what an acronym means after it’s been tossed around 14 times in the conversation is not a situation most of us would be excited to find ourselves in.

Still, the acronyms exist, and we need to understand them and use them in order to learn more about our teaching practice, identify the learner populations we serve, and implement instructional strategies that are relevant to the needs of the learners in our classroom.

These acronyms help us have conversations about what we’re doing in the classroom, what materials we’re using, who we’re teaching, what types of activities we’re planning, and more. While daunting to learn in the beginning, they make our work describable and researchable, and that’s invaluable!

What’s the best way to get familiar with these acronyms?

Well, the good news is that you don’t need to memorize all of them. Depending on who you teach, the curriculum you use, and the objective of the courses, you might not use some of these at all! Others, however, will become constant companions (lookin’ at you, TEFL). Some might float around in the periphery of your teaching practice, where you know what they mean but don’t actively use them because they don’t apply to your teaching context.

There’s no perfect list to end all lists when it comes to the TEFL field, and you’re going to love this: with ongoing research comes new acronyms all the time! Wild, right? But you don’t need to sweat it, because we’ve compiled a free and easy to use glossary of common acronyms you’ll encounter in the TEFL career field. The best part? Each glossary entry also includes some search suggestions if you want to read up on where/why/how/when a given acronym is used. And because there are new acronyms popping up here and there, and it’s possible we’ve left some terms out that are extremely specific to one country or one niche teaching field, our printable glossary (found in our Extra Tools section of our Business English resources) also comes with pages to add your own notes and terms that you encounter in your own teaching context!