About NCTE

The National Conference for Teachers of English Costa Rica is a collaborative endeavor between the US Embassy Cultural Affairs Office, the Ministry of Public Education, and Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano. With an impressive history spanning over thirty-eight years, these organizations have demonstrated unwavering commitment to equipping English teachers with the latest resources and trends in the field of English language teaching. NCTE serves as a platform where presenters can showcase cutting-edge research and effective practices, fostering an environment of continuous learning and professional growth. Moreover, the conference serves as a valuable opportunity for educational publishers and suppliers to exhibit their innovative teaching materials and promote their services to English teaching professionals. Throughout the years, NCTE has evolved in response to the demands of a globalized world, recognizing the ever-changing technical and methodological advancements in the field. The profound impact of this event spans generations of English teachers, both at the national and regional levels, and has played a transformative role in their professional journeys.


“Promote the dialogue among all TEFL stakeholders to share innovative strategies to enhance English acquisition in Costa Rica and the region to acknowledge 21st century global social trends.”.


“Provide public and private sector professionals and stakeholders with a cutting-edge forum hosting the latest trends to foster best practices in the ELT classrooms.”

Our History:

The National Conference for Teachers of English 1984 – 2023

Early Influencers: The first NCTE event was held in February of 1984. Being the first conference of its kind in Costa Rica, NCTE became a landmark event in the development of English teaching in the country. Under the theme “Learning Language Through Culture: TEFL for the 80s,” the first conference showcased Communicative Language Teaching, a methodology that has influenced the way thousands of Costa Ricans have acquired English. Throughout its subsequent editions, NCTE has been a forum to assess the effectiveness of ELT in the country, determining challenges and setting goals.

International Presence: NCTE has attracted renowned international experts in the field of ELT, including H. Douglas Brown, Spencer Kagan, Ruben Puentedura, Ana Uhl Chamot, Bryan Lynch, Alvino Fantini, Tony Wright, Fredricka Stoller, Dr. William Grabe, Rebeca Oxford, Dr. Lying Cheng, Lawrence Bouton, Kate Cory-Wright, Deborah Healey, Philip Haines, and Dorothy Zemac, among many others. Their talks and workshops have been a major strength of NCTE’s plenaries and workshops.

Over the decades, NCTE has witnessed pendulum shifts in pedagogy, such as Marianne Celce-Murcia’s talk on Discourse Analysis and ELT (1998) or the emergence of Task-Based Instruction in the region portrayed by David Nunan’s plenary talk “New Millennium” in 1993. Changing trends in the world of TESOL for the 21st Century have also been addressed in our plenaries through speakers like Andy Curtis (2003-2004) and Joan Kang Shin (2013, 2017, 2020). We were pleased to have Dr. Neil J. Anderson, former TESOL President, as a special guest five times (1997, 2001, 2003, 2020, and 2021) to discuss topics such as assessment, metacognition, and reading. More recently, we were honored to have the opportunity to learn from Dr. Stephen Krashen (2021, 2022, 2023).

Teacher Development has always been a staple of our sessions, with renowned guest plenary speakers on various topics, including Dr. Donald Freeman (2002, 2018), Diane Larsen-Freeman (1993, 2006), Kathleen Bailey (2003), Victoria Kimbrough (2003), Mary Ann Christison (1997), and Kathleen Graves (2000, 2005, 2018).

Local Expertise: Valuable insights have also been shared by local and regional experts in the field of ELT, such as Leonor Cabrera (1987 and 1996), Laura Demediuk (2010), Augusto de Dier (2008), Mary Scholl (2009, 2010, 2021), Luz Adriana Lopera (2012), Jonathan Acuña (2013), Dr. Allen Quesada (2002), Dr. Leyla Hasbun (1997), Dr. Clotilde Fonseca (1999), and Jonnathan Elizondo (2020, 2021), among others, who have shared their expertise at NCTE plenaries and workshops.

PD Talks: In 2016, NCTE launched a public speaker series focused on language teacher professional development called PD Talks: Professional Development Sessions. The goal was to serve the local ELT community during the interim period between conferences. Initially held every two months at the Mark Twain Library, the talks are now hosted monthly in a virtual format, expanding their reach and impact. This change in format has allowed the series to grow enormously, with the 2022 series impacting a global audience of over 1,200 teachers from 38 countries.

Recent Innovations: Over the decades, the conference has evolved to better meet the needs and realities of our participants. In 2020, the unprecedented conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic led us to hold our event in a virtual format for the first time ever, enabling the participation of more than 1,000 teachers from over a dozen countries, as well as distant regions across Costa Rica. The 2021 conference was again held remotely, with distinguished speaker Dr. Stephen Krashen delivering the two most popular workshops. In 2022, we pioneered a new hybrid format with a mix of virtual sessions and in-person plenary talks broadcast live to our audience around Costa Rica and the world.

NCTE 2023: As we enter the post-COVID era of English language teaching, our ability to adapt to new circumstances and overcome barriers to learning has never been more essential. Change has become a constant in the lives of all educators, but it should not distract us from our deeper purpose. The NCTE conference, with its theme “Inspiring Change: Reflecting on Who and What Really Matter in the ELT Classroom to Foster Versatile, Equitable, and Empowering Learning Spaces,” reminds us of the importance of focusing our efforts and priorities on what truly makes a difference—the learning potential generated through the cultivation of empathic relationships and the creation of fair, safe, and supportive environments.

This year’s conference will follow our new hybrid format, consisting of a mix of online workshops and live in-person plenary talks streamed online from our Eugene O’Neill Theater. This innovation will allow the conference to continue to grow and make an even larger impact on the English teaching community of Costa Rica and beyond.

Thank you for being a part of our journey!

NCTE Timeline: 38 Years of Innovation in Professional Development

NCTE 1 Learning Language through Culture: TEFL for the 80’s

February 20-24, 1984

NCTE 2Towards Excellence in Teaching English

February 18-20, 1985

  • Featured Speakers: Karl Drobnic, Maria Cantarero, Ruth Montalvan

NCTE 3 Meeting the Challenge

February 10-12, 1986

  • Featured Speakers: Patricia Werner, Martin Phillips, Ellen Cohen, John Shepherd

NCTE 4 Tradition and Innovation: Working Together for Success

February 9-11, 1987

  • Fetured Speakers: William Carroll, Leonor Cabrera, Eve Chambers Sánchez, Richard Boldon, Rebeca Bundy, Ted Gehr, Richard Hoffman, Judith Leverone, Joan Theine

NCTE 5Curriculum Goes Communicative

February 9-10, 1988

  • Featured Speakers: Marjorie Terdal, Federick Jenks

NCTE 6 Growing as Professionals: Learning from Ourselves and Others

February 2-4, 1989

  • Featured Speakers: William Carroll, Kristine Dluhy

NCTE 7Ready for the Nineties?

January 25-27, 1990

  • Featured Speakers: Fred Davidson, William Carroll

NCTE 8Making the Nineties Happen

January 25-27, 1991

  • Featured Speakers: Sarah Hudelson, Grace Woodman, Carolyn Ryffel

NCTE 9Facilitating Successful English Language Learning: Essential Elements

January 28-30, 1993

  • Featured Speakers: Diane Larsen-Freeman, Brian Linch, Tony Wright

NCTE 10Keeping in Tune with EFL

January 26-28, 1994

  • Featured Speakers: Dr. Richard Day, Dr. Tony Wright, Dr. Alvino E. Fantini

NCTE 11English Today for a Successful Future

January 25-27, 1995

  • Featured Speakers: Dr. Marilyn Rosenthal, William Ancker, Michael Vaughan

NCTE 12 Sustainable Development in ELT

January 24-26, 1996

  • Featurd Speakers: Dr. Mary Lou McCloskey, William Ancker, Leonor Cabrera

NCTE 13 Languages and Communication in an Integrated World

January 29-31, 1997

  • Featured Speakers: Dr. Neil J. Anderson, Dr. Lawrence F. Bouton, Dr. Mary Ann Christison, Dr. Brian Tomlinson, Dr. Leyla Husbun, Dr. James Robinson

NCTE 14Creating Autonomous Language Learners

January 21-23, 1998

  • Featured Speakers: Marianne Celce-Murcia, Dr. Geraldine de Berly, Dr. Anna Uhl Chamot, Michael Jerald, David Eastment

NCTE 15A New Millennium: Reflecting on ELT Teaching Goals

January 27-29, 1999

  • Featured Speakers: Dr. David Nunan, Kay Davis, Jodi Crandall, Dr. Steven Gaies, Clotilde Fonseca, Michael Lewis

NCTE 16 A New Era: New Directions and Challenges

January 26-28, 2000

  • Plenary Speakers: Dr. Jodi Crandall, Dr. Rebeca Oxford, Dr. Ron Schwartz, Dr. Sabino Morera, Bonnie Brown, Dr. Thomas Ricento, Dr. Kathleen Graves

NCTE 17Pathways to Excellence

January 24-26, 2001

  • Featured Speakers: Dr. Neil J. Anderson, Janet Orr, Dr. Silvia Sánchez, Dr. Sandra Savignon, Anabelle Hernández, Carolyn Ryffel

NCTE 18 Globalization and ELT: The Challenge

January 23-25, 2002

  • Featured Speakers: Dr. H. Douglas Brown, Dr. Donald Freeman, Dr. Allen Quesada, Mary Meyer, Dr. Brock Brady, Angela Llanas

NCTE 19ELT: A Bridge to Cultural Understanding

January 22-24, 2003

  • Featured Speakers: Dr. Neil J. Anderson, Dr. Andy Curtis, Victoria Kimbrough, Dr. Kathleen Bailey

NCTE 20 Pursuing Standards for a Competitive World

January 28-30, 2004

  • Featured Speakers: Dr. Liying Cheng, Kami Lee, Mary Louise Baez, Paul Davies, Dr. Mary Ann Christison, Dr. Andy Curtis, Dr. William Grabe, Dr. Fredricka Stoller, Dr. Adrian Palmer, Dr. Edwin Marin

NCTE 21Towards a Socially Responsible Pedagogy

January 26-28, 2005

  • Featured Speakers: Dr. Kathleen Graves, Dr. Lesley Opp-Beckman, Dr. H. Douglas Brown, Dr. Peter Medgys, Ronald Flores

NCTE 22ELT: Integrating Principles and Practices

January 24-26, 2006

  • Featrued Speakers: Dr. Christine Coombe, Dr. Diane Larsen-Freeman, Dr. Kathryn Koop, Dr. Samantha Mace

NCTE 23Crossing Frontiers for Innovative Teaching

January 24-26, 2007

  • Featured Speakers: Dr. Barbara Bangle, Dr. Mary Lou McCloskey, Mickey Rogers, Kate Cory-Wright

NCTE 24Empowering Tomorrow’s Leaders

January 23-25, 2008

  • Featured Speakers: Dr. Raouf Mama, Evelyn Smith, Augusto De Pier, Tony B. Harden

NCTE 25 Learning: Enlightening Our Inner Self

January 21-23, 2009

  • Featured Speakers: Mary Scholl, Laura Alicia Meza Martinez, Dr. Spencer Kagan, Ricardo Romero Medina, Joann Miller

NCTE 26 Learning: Opening Minds with a New Set of Keys

January 27-29, 2010

  • Featured Speakers: Mary Scholl, Dr. Jozef Merkx, Andreina España, Beatrice Palls, Laura Demediuk

NCTE 27Teaching: A Dignifying Experience

January 26-28, 2011

  • Featured Speakers: Roxana Chevez Herra, Kate Cory-Wright, Dr. Deborah Healey, Lauren Evans, Dr. Leon Zuna

NCTE 28 ELT: An Art in Itself

January 25-27, 2012

  • Featured Speakers: Luz Adriana Lopera, Phillip Haines, Dorothy Zemach, Laren Evans, Julie Watson

NCTE 29Reflecting on Learning to Learn

January 23-25, 2013

  • Featured Speakers: Elizabeth Camargo, Maria Weinri, Laura Demediuk, Andre Vermeulen, Dr. Joan Kang Shin

NCTE 30 NCTE: Three Decades of Pioneering in Educational Opportunities

January 22-24, 2014

  • Featured Speakers: Johnathan Acuña Solano, Dr. Liz England, Greg Davies, Lindsay Clandfield

NCTE 31New ELT Paradigms: Dare to Join the Change

January 27-29, 2016

  • Featured Speakers: Ana Isabel Campos, Dr. Neil J. Anderson, Anne Katz, Adrian Palmer, Mary Louise Baez, Dr. Mary Ann Christison, Marianela Granados

NCTE 32Skills to Inspire 21st Century Young English Learners

February 3, 2017

  • Featured Speakers: Dr. Joan Kang Shin, Dr. Jodi Crandall

NCTE 33Developing Global Competence in the English Classroom

January 24-26, 2018

  • Featured Speakers: Dr. Donald Freeman, Dr. Kathleen Graves, Lewis Lansford, Diane Schmitt, Dr. Norbert Schmitt, Mary Scholl, Margaret Rose Grigsby

NCTE 34 Innovation Made Simple: Everyday Tech in the English Classroom

January 25 and 28-30, 2019

  • Featured Speakers: Jair Felix, Fabian Corrales, Sergio Mondragón, Darragh O’Grady

NCTE 35 Insights to Navigate the Learning Disruption in English Language Teaching

June 11-14, 2020

  • Featured Speakers: Dr. Joan Kang Shin, Nik Peachey, Betsy Parrish, Dr. Gilly Salmon, Dr. Laura Baecher, Dr. Deborah Healey, Dr. Keith Folse, Dr. Ruben Puentedura

NCTE 36Building a Community of Practice to Enhance and Transcend English Language Teaching and Learning

May 20-23, 2021

  • Featured Speakers: Dr. Stephen Krashen, Aziz Abu Sarah, Dr. Neil J. Anderson, Nicky Hockly, Dr. Deborah Healey, Dr. Keith Folse, Dr. Laura Baecher

NCTE 37Reimagining ELT: The Innovation Journey to Empower Teachers and Learners in Times of Constant Change

May 25-28 and 28-30, 2022

  • Featured Speakers: Dr. Keith Folse, Dr. Ruben Puentedura, Betsy Parrish, Karen Beer Dr. Stephen Krashen, Ruben Salgado, Nik Peachey, Fernanda de Oliveira

NCTE 38Inspiring Change: Reflecting on Who and What Really Matter in the ELT Classroom to Foster Versatile, Equitable, and Empowering Learning Spaces

June 7-10, 2023