Organizational Profile and History
With nearly 3,500 members, the American Association of Teachers of German is for teachers of German at all levels of instruction and all those interested in the teaching of German. Founded in 1926, AATG believes that bringing the language, literature, and cultures of the German speaking world to all Americans is a vital humanistic endeavor, which serves an essential national interest.
With members in all 50 states and nearly 20 countries, the American Association of Teachers of German is the only individual membership organization in the United States dedicated to the teaching of the language, literature and culture of the German-speaking countries. The AATG has 58 local chapters which support a variety of local projects with activities focused on public relations, professional development, and teacher and student immersion. Members represent elementary, middle-junior high school, high school, college/university, community colleges, and heritage language school teachers. 44% percent of AATG’s members teach at the pre-collegiate level, 34% post-secondary, and 22% are currently not teaching.
The AATG is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of 10 members including a president, vice-president, treasurer, presiding officer of the chapter presidents’ assembly, and six regional representatives. The teaching level of Board members is balanced and alternates between post-secondary and pre-collegiate at each election. The Board of Directors meets in November during the AATG Convention held in conjunction with the ACTFL Convention and World Languages Expo. The AATG employs five staff members in offices located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey outside Philadelphia.
The American Association of Teachers of German strives to:
- Promote the highest quality of the teaching and research of the language, literature, and cultures of the German-speaking world, and expand teaching and research at all levels and in all settings.
- Define and promote the highest standards for teachers and learners of the language, literatures, and cultures of the German-speaking world.
- Emphasize the importance and obligation of providing increased access to, and equity in, all German program offerings at all levels for all students, including those from multiracial, multicultural, and multiethnic backgrounds, and for students in diverse geographic settings.
- Foster relationships within the language teaching profession, the teaching profession in general, and the educational establishment at large.
- Communicate to policy makers and the public the rationale, substance, and value of learning German, as well as the conditions for effective language teaching and learning.
- Strengthen the structure of the Association and its communication with its members.
- Continue to improve the quality of present services and to develop programs for a diverse membership.
The AATG was founded in 1926 by college and high school teachers in the New York city area. On December 18, 1926, the first meeting of the organizers took place at Columbia University. Major work on the constitution took place in 1927, and the publication of the first issue of the German Quarterly in January 1928. In that first issue, AATG president Camillo von Klenze from the College of the City of New York wrote: "…it becomes imperative for us teachers of German to use every legitimate means of improving the position of German in our schools, colleges, and universities. The first step …is the formation of an organization embracing all teachers of German in every part of the country. Only by enthusiastic cooperation can we hope to accomplish anything tangible.” The AATG continues a strong tradition of supporting teachers of German from pre-kindergarten to graduate programs in American universities.
AATG is a key partner to a number of organizations supporting the teaching and learning of German in the US. AATG is a member of the American Council on the Teachings of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), the Joint National Committee for Languages/National Council for Languages and International Study (JNCL/NCLIS), the Modern Language Association, the National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Association (NFMLTA), the National Standards for Foreign Language Collaborative, and the Internationaler Deutschlehrerverband (IDV).
AATG was recognized by the International Federation of Language Teacher Associations / Fédération Internationale des Professeurs de Langues Vivantes (FIPLV) with the FIPLV International Award Certificate of Honour 2018 for its distinguished contribution to language teaching and learning, as well as for supporting teachers and language teacher associations in the USA and around the world.