Faculty & Staff

Aria Razfar, PhD


Aria Razfar coordinates the Project ELMSA grant, preparing Chicago-area teachers to deliver culturally relevant instruction, while his personal research interests focus on the sociocultural dimensions of language and its meaning to human development.


2003 - PhD, University of California, Los Angeles, Education
1997 - MS, University of Southern California, TESL
1995 - BA, University of California, Los Angeles, Linguistics & Philosophy

Research & Teaching Interests

Razfar's research interests are grounded in sociocultural theories of language, learning, and human development. In particular, he draws on linguistic anthropological perspectives such as language socialization and language ideologies for the purposes of understanding learning and development in urban schools. He teaches courses in the Bilingual/ESL program as well as doctoral courses in Language, Literacy, and Culture. Dr. Razfar's work is anchored in communities whose language practices have been historically marginalized in many formal and official spaces of society; thus, there is an explicit social justice character to his research. He currently serves as a principal investigator or co-PI on several nationally funded grants aimed at improving teaching and learning for English Language Learners in urban contexts. 

Selected Publications


Razfar, A. & Rumenapp, J.C. (2013). Applying linguistics in the classroom: A sociocultural approach. NY, NY: Routledge Press. 



Razfar, A. (2013). Multilingual mathematics: Learning through contested spaces of meaning making. International Multilingual Research Journal, 7 (3), 175-196.

Vomvoridi-Ivanović, E., & Razfar, A. (2013). In the shoes of English language learners: Helping educators understand some complexities of language in mathematics instructio through a baseball activity. Journal of Teaching for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics, 5 (1), 7-15.

Razfar, A. (2013). Dewey and Vygotsky: Incommensurability, intersections, and the empirical possibilities of metaphysical consciousness. Human Development, 56(2), 128-133.

Razfar, A. (2012). Discoursing mathematics: Using discourse analysis to develop and sociocultural and critical perspective of mathematics education. The Mathematics Educator, 22(1), 39-62.

Razfar, A. (2012). Language ideologies and curriculum studies: An empirical approach to 'worthwhile questions.' Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 28(1), 127-140.

Razfar, A. (2012). Narrating beliefs: A language ideologies approach to teacher beliefs. Anthropology of Education Quarterly, 43(1), 61-81.

Razfar, A. (2011). Action research in urban schools: Empowerment, transformation, and challenges. Teacher Education Quarterly, 38(4), 25-44.

Razfar, A. (2011). Ideological challenges in classroom discourse: A sociocritical perspective of English learning in an urban school. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 8(4), 344-377.

Razfar, A. (2011). The linguistic re-turn: The moral and practical imperative of “language” in curriculum studies. Journal of the American Association for the  Advancement of Curriculum Studies, 7(2), 1-37.

Razfar, A., & Leavitt, D. (2011). Developing metadiscourse: Building mathematical discussions in an urban elementary classroom. The Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 11(2), 180-197.

Razfar, A., & Rumenapp, J.C. (2011). Developmental context(s): Mediating learning through language ideologies. Human Development, 54(1), 241-269.

Razfar, A., & Simon, J. (2011). Course-taking patterns of Latino ESL students: Mobility and mainstreaming in urban community colleges in the United States. TESOL Quarterly, 45(4), 595-627

Razfar, A. (2010). Repair with confianza: Rethinking the context of corrective feedback for English learners. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 9(2), 11-31.

Razfar, A., & Yang, E. (2010). Sociocultural theory and early literacy development: Hybrid language practices in the digital age. Language Arts, 88 (2), 114-124. 

Razfar, A. (2009). Reframing Language in curriculum studies. Journal of Curriculum & Pedagogy, 6 (1), 63-67.

Razfar, A. (2008). Developing technological literacy: A case study of technology integration in a Latina liberal arts college. AACE Journal, 16(3), 327-345. 

Razfar, A. (2005). Language ideologies in practice: Repair & classroom discourse. Linguistics & Education, 16 (4), pp. 404-424.

Razfar, A. & Gutierrez, K. (2003). Reconceptualizing early childhood literacy: The sociocultural influence. In Hall, N., Larson, J., Marsh, J. (Eds.). Handbook of Early Childhood Literacy. London: Sage.

Razfar, A. (2003). Language ideologies in ELL contexts: Implications for Latinos and higher education. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education2(3), 241-268.

Honors & Awards

2014 - Researcher of the Year "Rising Star" Social Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago 

2005 - National Association of Bilingual Education, Outstanding Dissertation Finalist

2004 - National Council of Teachers of English Promising Researcher

Professional Affiliations & Activities

American Education Research Association, Annual Policy & Procedures Committee

American Association of Applied Linguistics

National Council of Teachers of Education