English Language Support Programme (Trinity Immigration Initiative)
  English Language Support Programme » Background to the Project

English as a Second Language (ESL)

Given the complexity of the challenge facing students from immigrant background in acquiring both the language of instruction and the academic subject content required by the curriculum, the term English as a Second Language (ESL) is used in opposition to the recent appearance of the term, English as an Additional Language (EAL). 
The curricular and school-centred linguistic demands of acquiring English as the language of instruction are both so enormous and unrelenting that many language support teachers and coordinators consulted consider that the use of the word ‘Additional’, with its notional undertones of choice, fails to capture the complexity of the process.


Some terminology:

    ESL - normally used when referring to the teaching of English, in an English- speaking country, to people whose native language is one other than English.
    • EFL commonly used when referring to the teaching of English, in a non-English-speaking country, to people whose native language is one other than English.
    • ESOL is the acronym for English to/for Speakers of Other Languages. Some prefer this term to the traditional ESL and EFL, as it takes into consideration that some learners may already speak a second language, i.e., they may be working on their third, fourth or fifth language.
    • EAL – English as an additional language is the preferred term for ESL in the UK. It is also the term which is used by DES and the NCCA.
   What's new?

We are delighted to host the Toolkit for Diversity in Post Primary Schools which aims to help schools create and sustain a welcoming and inclusive environment for students and parents from all backgrounds and ensure equal success for all.

Please click on the link below

whole school approaches


english language award The ELSP won the 2009 European Award for Languages - click here for details

Jury's comments "Feedback from involved teachers very positive about motivation of students and this is motivating for teachers...Very impressed with project...Valuable idea transferable to e.g. Gaelscoileanna."

Remember, these units are further supplemented with a wide range of appropriate language learning and self-study activities suitable for post-primary students to do individually, in pairs or in small groups.
We again acknowledge Gill & Macmillan for their permission to reproduce certain short texts in some of these Units.


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English Language Support Programme, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland

The English Language Support Programme is part of the Trinity Immigration Initiative (funded by AIB)