The American Association for Teaching & Curriculum
In the United States, most areas of scholarly investigation emerged as recognized fields of study about a hundred years ago. One of the events that made this possible was the founding of national learned societies devoted to the advancement of scholarship in their respective fields. Examples of the newly formed learned societies are the American Historical Association (1884), the American Economic Association (1885), the American Philosophical Association (1901), the American Political Science Association (1903) and the American Academy of Religion (1909).
The scholarly field of teaching and curriculum, however, was not represented in the formation of the early American Scholarly organizations, even though university departments that encompassed both the scholarly and the professional study of teaching and curriculum had been established prior to the end of the nineteenth century. Several types of groups were formed eventually, those concerned primarily with the rights and responsibilities of teachers (unions), ones recognizing honor performance (e.g. Kappa Delta Pi) and organizations whose members’ interests are primarily K–12 content and methods (e.g. ASCD, IRA) or had a narrow focus in one field of education, such as philosophy or education policy.
An important historical event in the development of organizations dealing with the scholarly field of teaching and curriculum was the founding of the American Association for Teaching and Curriculum (AATC) on October 1, 1993. The members of the AATC believed that the time was long overdue to recognize teaching and curriculum as a basic field of scholarly study, to constitute a national learned society for the scholarly field of teaching and curriculum (teaching is the more inclusive concept; curriculum is an integral part of teaching–the “what to teach” aspect). In the larger universities, faculty members identified with this field of scholarly study typically affiliated with departments of curriculum and instruction, teacher education, or elementary and secondary education. Jack Laska became the first secretary–treasurer of AATC. AATC continues to produce scholarship in teaching and curriculum and serve the general public through its conferences, journals, and the interaction of its members.