Dawan Coombs

Associate Professor, English

4097 JFSB


Research Areas: , ,

Teaching Experience

My teaching philosophy centers on the notion of learning through modeling, dialogue, and collective inquiry. In dialogical classrooms students learn as they transact with texts, teachers, and one another. As a result, I try to facilitate opportunities for authentic inquiry, open dialogue, and reflective conversations in safe environments where all class members’ contributions are valued—even when (and especially if) they do not all agree.


My work centers on understanding the intersections of literacy and identity among secondary students in English and reading classrooms. Through the lens of dialogical theories, I examine effective ways to support struggling readers with their social, cognitive, and affective challenges. This same theoretical lens allows me to participate in ongoing professional conversations concerning the role of identity in teacher education and the preparation of future English teachers.

Selected Publications

  • Fecho, Bob, Dawan Coombs, Trevor Stewart, and Todd Hawley. New Teachers Embracing Wobble in Standardized Schools: Using Dialogue and Inquiry for Self-Reflection and Growth. Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group, 2021.
  • Coombs, Dawan. “Head Fakes, Offensive Schemes and Counter Plays: Why Motivation Matters for Adolescent Reading.” English Journal, vol. 109, no. 4, 2020, pp. 46-54.
  • Stewart, Trevor, Dawan Coombs, Bob Fecho, and Todd Hawley. ”Embracing Wobble: Exploring Novice Teachers’ Efforts to Enact Dialogic Literacy Instruction.” Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, vol.63, no. 3, 2019, pp. 289-297.
  • Coombs, Dawan and Rachel Faye Knecht. “Lives on Display: Artifacts of Hope in the Classroom.” English Journal, vol. 108, no. 2, 2018, pp. 20-30.
  • Coombs, Dawan and Caroline Howard. “What Kind of Reader Are You? Self-Regulating Middle School Reading Practices.” Voices From the Middle, vol. 24, no. 4, 2017, pp. 70-76.
  • Coombs, Dawan. “More than ‘Just’ Sports: Using Young Adult Sports Literature to Examine Power and Privilege.” SIGNAL Journal, vol. 39, no. 1, 2016, 18-27.
  • Coombs, Dawan and Maichael Mayans. “Insider or Outsider? Using YA Literature and Experiential Learning to Understand the Other.” The ALAN Review. vol. 43, no. 1, 2015, pp. 45-55.
  • Coombs, Dawan and Devery Bellingham. “Using Text Sets to Foster Critical Inquiry.” English Journal, vol. 105, no. 2, 2015, pp. 88-95.
  • Coombs, Dawan, Hye Yong Park and Bob Fecho. “A Silence That Wants to be Heard: Korean American Students in Dialogue with Invisibility.” Race, Ethnicity and Education. vol. 17, no. 2, 2014, pp. 1-22.
  • Coombs, Dawan. “Symbiotic Relationships: Creating Mutually Beneficial Partnerships Between Fiction and Nonfiction in the Classroom.” ALAN Review, vol. 41, no. 1, 2013, pp. 7-15.
  • Coombs, Dawan. “School Culture, Struggling Adolescent Readers, and the Dialogical Self.” International Journal of Dialogical Science, vol. 7, no.1, 2013, pp. 11-36.
  • Coombs, Dawan and Kate Goodwin. “Give Them Something to Talk About: The Role of Dialogue in Mentoring Relationships.” English Journal, vol. 102, no. 3, 2013, pp. 58-64.
  • Coombs, Dawan. “Using Ricoeur’s Mimetic Process to Examine the Identities of Struggling Adolescent Readers.” English Teaching: Practice and Critique, vol. 11, no. 1, 2012, pp. 82-103.


My citizenship responsibilities complement my scholarship and teaching through advocacy aimed at educating teachers and community members about the needs of struggling readers, promoting teaching practices that support readers and aiding teachers’ development as professionals and scholars within the profession. I also seek opportunities to work with university, state, and local educational stakeholders to support secondary education programs and policies.

Citizenship assignments

Brigham Young University Secondary Education Coordinator

BYU English Teaching Program Advisor

Utah Council of Teachers of English Board Member

Utah State Board of Education Committee to Revise the English/Language Arts Endorsement Committee Member

DAILY 8:00-11:50 a.m.
4188 JFSB
ENGL 377
TTh 8:00-9:15 a.m.
ENGL 378
TTh 3:00-4:15 p.m.
4186 JFSB
ENGL 379
TTh 9:30-10:45 a.m.
ENGL 476

ENGL 479
M 4:30-6:30 p.m.