The National Conference for Teachers of English is a joint initiative of the U.S. Embassy Cultural Affairs Office, the Ministry of Public Education, and the Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano organization in Costa Rica. In 2018, the conference entered its thirty-third year, and English Language Fellow Trenton Hagar delivered a workshop to support. Hagar’s training aimed at helping teachers promote global competence, including linguistic and sociolinguistic competence, through engaging students in the development of personal, community, and global cultural awareness. This workshop discussed activities teachers can utilize to engage the knowledge, skills, and attitudes students require to be successful in the 21st century EFL classroom and lead students beyond a superficial understanding of global competence. These concepts are not always new to English teachers, but applying them in an EFL class can be. “I’ve heard of this but it seemed overwhelming to me…I feel better about using this with my students now,” as one participant said.
Due to the growing importance and usage of English in a globalized world, the demands on English teachers are ever-increasing. Teachers are now being called on to promote global competence—the ability to appropriately and effectively communicate and interact with others—within students. The significance of the workshop came in that it will help teachers build their students’ understanding of global competence at levels appropriate to their growing cultural awareness.