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Teacher Education

Dyan Watson

Associate Professor

  • Dyan Watson
    Nina Johnson

Academic Spotlight

Listen: Dr. Watson discusses teaching and race on Here’s Something Good podcast

Teaching for Black LivesDyan Watson co-edits influential new book, Teaching for Black Lives. “Teaching for Black Lives is a Handbook for all educators, students, and families who truly care about Blackness and the intersections of learning, teaching, and race.” - Dyan Watson

UPDATE 9/18/2018: Grammy award-winning artist Macklemore and 3-time NFL Pro Bowler Michael Bennett have teamed up to purchase and distribute copies of Teaching for Black Lives to every middle and high school social studies and language arts teacher in Seattle Public Schools.

UPDATE 6/1/2020: The Washington Post spotlights ‘Teaching for Black Lives’ as “a handbook to fight America’s ferocious racism in (virtual or face-to-face) classrooms”

Black Lives Matter Week of Action February 2019

“When you systematically deny the dignity of one group, your dignity is also compromised,” she says. “So, I believe that once all folks start to respect and regard black people as human and as worthy of the respect and honor that other races sometimes see, then we all are going to benefit.” - Dyan Watson

Dr. Dyan Watson is the social studies coordinator for the secondary program in teacher education. Watson began her professional career as a GED instructor for young mothers in Portland and then taught social studies at Sunset High School in Beaverton, Oregon. There she developed and taught the first African American history course, and helped create and implement a school-within-a-school program for freshmen and sophomores.

Watson primarily teaches methods classes for preservice social studies teachers and research methods classes for doctoral students. She is also an editor for Rethinking Schools.

Personal Statement

I believe in teaching that is grounded in an understanding of and respect for students’ cultural backgrounds and cultural resources. As such, my classroom is a place where both the students and the teacher learn and teach. Together, we push each other to critically assess learning and the world.

Areas of Expertise

Qualitative research methods, race and teaching, equity and social justice, teacher research.

Current Research

Dr. Watson’s primary research focus is exploring how teachers semantically encode race, and the intersections of race and teaching. Her latest project can be found at


  • Christensen, L., Hansen, M., Peterson, R., Schlessman, E., and Watson, D. (Eds) (2012). Rethinking Elementary Education. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools.
    • Benjamin Franklin Gold winner in the Education category of the Independent Book Publishers Association
  • Watson, D. (2012). Message from a black mom to her sonRethinking Schools 26 (3), 16-18.
  • Watson, D. (2011). What do you mean when you say urban? Rethinking Schools 26 (1), 48-50.
  • Watson, D. (2011). “Urban, but not too urban”: Unpacking teachers’ desires to teach urban students. Journal of Teacher Education 62(1).
  • Watson, D., Charner-Laird, M., Kirkpatrick, C. L., Szczesiul, S. A., & Gordon, P. (2006). Effective teaching/Effective urban teaching: Grappling with definitions, grappling with difference. Journal of Teacher Education 57(4), 395-409.

Academic Credentials

EdD Harvard University MAT, BA Willamette University