Written by: Zarina Markova, South-West University, Blagoevgrad
The 8th  International and 12thNational ATECR conference took place from 14 to15 September 2012 in the picturesque historic town of Hradec Králové 2012 , in North-Eastern Bohemia, the Czech Republic. It was housed in a convenient place in the centre of the town – the new building of the Pedagogical Faculty, University of Hradec Králové, which seemed to accommodate everybody: conference participants, presenters and organizers, exhibitors and potential customers while offering enough space for coffee breaks and the reception. Everything seemed to work smoothly thanks to the energetic team of student assistants, many of whom are would-be teachers of English initiating themselves into the wider ELT community.
There were over fifty talks and workshops on various aspects of English language teaching and learning, with learning technologies slightly predominating. As the conference title suggests, they were focused on new approaches to the same old areas of interest:  teaching the language skills, culture, literature and intercultural competence, test preparation, using coursebooks, differentiated instruction. A recurrent motif of the sessions was the reappraisal – of teaching practices, materials, attitudes, involvement. The presenters were from different backgrounds: teachers, teacher trainers, materials writers. My first impression was that too much weight was given to presentations on behalf of publishers. However, this seemed to be in tune with the conference participants’ desire to follow the latest trends in English language teaching and publishing.

With Asuman Eray (Turkey), Daria Paro (HUPE Croatia), Molly McCord (MITESOL Michigan, USA) and Snezana Filipovic (ELTA Serbia) in the centre of Hradec Kralove.

The conference was both informative and enjoyable. It proved to be an exciting blend of professional discussions and  informal talks, cross-cultural   communication and entertainment. To me the highlights were the Thursday dinner, a delightful opportunity to get to know Olga, Pavla and Mihal form the ATECR committee and Asuman, Daria, Molly and Snezana from the partners’ associations, and Friday morning, when Jiří Heger took us on an unforgettable tour round Hradec Králové. Many thanks to all the organizers for an inspiring event. Many thanks to BETA for choosing me as their official representative for the 8th International and 12th National ATECR conference.