The Alle lernen Deutsch initiative represents AATG's long-standing commitment to affirming diversity in the study of German language and German-speaking peoples and their cultures.
The AATG recognizes the importance and the obligation of providing increased access to and equity in all program offerings at all levels of education. Through the Alle lernen Deutsch initative, AATG strives to ensure the study of German by a diverse American population taught by a profession whose members themselves reflect the racial and ethnic composition of our nation. The AATG strives to assure that the contemporary German-speaking world is accurately reflected in the instruction of German.
The American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) affirms the diversity of the citizenry of the United States and the wealth of a multicultural society. The Association recognizes the importance and the obligation of providing increased access to and equity in all program offerings at all levels of education and espouses the principle that the offerings must consciously and consistently reflect adherence to appropriate standards.
The AATG acknowledges its responsibility to ensure the study of German by a diverse American population taught by a profession whose members themselves reflect the racial and ethnic composition of our nation. We recognize our obligation to ensure that present and prospective teachers of German have access to up-to-date information on German-speaking people and their cultures. We therefore affirm the principle that the multicultural composition of the contemporary German-speaking world be accurately reflected in the instruction of German.
2010 marked 20 years since the establishment of AATG's Alle lernen Deutsch initiative to support diversity in the study of German language and German-speaking peoples and their cultures. In 1989, AATG president Renate Schulz established the Committee for the Recruitment and Retention of Minorities, a national task force charged with developing strategies on promoting the benefits of the study of German for all students at all levels. The committee was renamed the Alle lernen Deutsch committee in 2001.
Committee membership included teachers representing the broad range of K-16 instruction who reflected the diversity in the US. They formulated guidelines for developing a culturally relevant pedagogy that would advance intercultural awareness in German classes and increase the involvement of underrepresented populations in German studies.
The committee work focused on recruiting and retaining teachers and students in the German classroom from all backgrounds and providing up-to-date information for teachers to use in their classrooms which reflect the multicultural population of the German-speaking world.
The committee has presented sessions at the ACTFL Annual Convention and World Languages Expo since the early 90s, which included demonstrations of ideas for teaching German to students of color and using materials developed in summer seminars including the Neuer Blick seminars organized in Berlin. A special issue of Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German, "Focus on Diversity," was published by AATG in Fall 1992.
The work of the Alle lernen Deutsch committee is just as relevant today as it was 20 years ago. Students of color make up one third of the student population in the United States today. Nationally, it is predicted that they will be the majority of the student population by 2050. In most major cities, they already are. Students of color are underrepresented in world language classrooms in general, and in German and in upper level language classrooms in particular.
1992 - Workshop to compile materials addressing issues related to multicultural perspectives and diverse participation in the German classroom. Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German: "Focus on Diversity" (25.2, Fall 1992) highlights the outcomes of the workshop.
1994, 1995 - Workshops to develop Diversity and Multiculturalism in the German Classroom: Strategies and Resources, a resource packet, syllabi, and non-print resources by Mary Ashcraft, Paul Garcia, Margaret Hampton, George Peters, et al. Published by AATG in 1997.
1998 – Workshop From Margin to Center to create teaching materials for the film Schwarzfahrer.
2001 – Workshop to form the ground work for the Alle lernen Deutsch website.
2004 – Workshop to develop teaching units and resources on "To veil or not to veil: Germany and Islam" and "Experiences of the African Diaspora in Germany."
2005 – Workshop to create ALD Website.
2006- Workshop to develop a printed resource guide on "Making Connections with the World Community: Working at the Local Level and Beyond, Tying Students of Color to the German Classroom.”
2007 – Workshop to address the AATG Strategic Plan, update the Alle lernen Deutsch website and develop other committee projects.
2008- Workshop "Diversity in German Society and the German Classroom” to create classroom teaching materials.
2009, 2010, 2011 – "Neuer Blick, Neue Stimmen: Interkulturelles Leben und Wirken" summer seminars in Berlin to create classroom materials.
AATG celebrates Black History Month with a free publication African-Americans with German Connections filled with portraits created to introduce students, parents, and school administrators to the many African-American leaders with German connections. Use these portraits to make people aware of the connections between Germany and Historically Black Colleges and Universities and important movements in African-American history such as the founding of the NAACP. These portraits show the deep history of people of color learning and using German. A project of the AATG Alle lernen Deutsch Initiative. Download this resource.