About

Welcome to the NECTFL Community

The Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages serves educators in all languages (including classical, less commonly taught, and ESL), at all levels from kindergarten through university, in both public and private settings.   In existence since the late 1940s, NECTFL is the largest of five regional associations of its kind in the United States, representing educators from Maine to Virginia but exercising leadership nation-wide.

Today NECTFL is governed by a Board of Directors composed of 15 language educators from the NECTFL region, with additional support from the central office staff and consultants. The Board chooses a Conference Chair annually, and its committees carry out the organization’s mission of providing the best professional development in the field. Candidates for the Board are nominated by and voted upon by the NECTFL Advisory Council.

What We Do

We serve world language teachers by:
  • listening to them
  • representing their diverse views
  • bringing them together
  • nurturing their growth as newbies and veterans
  • treating them as caring friends and respected professionals

Regional Conference

NECTFL’s conferences are designed for all concerned with foreign language education, providing both outstanding professional development and the chance to interact with colleagues.  The conference attracts about 1,500 individuals who take advantage of a packed exhibit hall (over 100 companies) and schedule (over 200 sessions and workshops).  The meeting’s events include the recognition of award winners both within and outside the field.  NECTFL has honored President Jimmy Carter, Sesame Street, Congressman Rush Holt, hotelier J.W. Marriott, Senator S. Paul Sarbanes and musicians Taj Mahal and Carole Fredericks, among others.

Publications

NECTFL publishes a juried, semi-annual journal, the NECTFL Review, and occasional scholarly reports. The organization is widely recognized as providing cutting-edge leadership and translating visionary work into practical classroom application.

Origins of NECTFL

The Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (NECTFL) owes its existence to the curiosity of a young mother in the 1940’s who discovered that each of her children’s French teachers had adopted a different instructional approach. Since this young mother happened also to be the president of Barnard College, Millicent McIntosh, she was in a position to organize the first of several “Yale-Barnard French Conferences” intended to investigate whether a single, effective method for teaching the language could be devised. By 1954, those involved in this project realized that (1) it should include languages other than French, and (2) it should include educators at all levels of instruction, but especially teachers of elementary school foreign language classes.  The first meeting of the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages took place at Brown University in 1954.  Its 61st anniversary was held in Boston in spring 2014.

NECTFL has expanded its outreach, professional development and advocacy efforts through publications, workshops, research projects and other initiatives. Its prestige has been reflected in its singular ability to bring together the profession’s most prestigious leaders for world-class and ground-breaking programs while sustaining an organizational culture that is interactive, welcoming, and responsive.

Despite its unique position in the annals of the profession’s history, NECTFL has never forgotten its roots. Through representation on its Board of Directors, through its Advisory Council, through conference offerings and refereed journal articles, NECTFL maintains a commitment to the individual foreign language teacher, to collaborative endeavors, to innovation and to inclusionary politics and policies.