Faculty & Staff

P. Zitlali Morales, PhD

Associate Professor

Dr. P. Zitlali Morales is Associate Professor of Curriculum & Instruction in the College of Education, and affiliated faculty of the Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She examines the language practices of Latinx youth and linguistic interactions of students and teachers in bilingual classrooms. Her research interests include the education of emergent bilingual students, language ideologies, language and identity, and education policy. Dr. Morales is co-PI of a National Science Foundation funded project studying the digital literacy practices and transnational ties of immigrant youth. 


2010 - PhD, University of California, Los Angeles, Education

1998 - BA, Stanford University, Cultural Anthropology; History (minor)

Research & Teaching Interests

Dr. Morales examines the language practices of Latinx youth and linguistic interactions of students and teachers in bilingual classrooms. She views language acquisition from a sociocultural perspective as participants learning to use language through the use of cultural practices, and specializes in additive models of language acquisition for emergent bilinguals. Her current research focuses on preparing teachers to meet their multilingual students' needs by leveraging the language and cultural knowledge that students bring to the classroom. Other research projects include exploring the learner identities of linguistic minority students in Spanish-English dual immersion programs and studying how language ideologies affect the context of schooling for immigrant students and multilingual learners. Dr. Morales is co-PI of a National Science Foundation funded project, “Literacy and New Communication Technologies in Contexts of Transnational Migration” studying the digital literacy practices and transnational ties of immigrant youth. She is affiliated faculty of the Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) program at UIC.


Selected Publications

Morales, P. Z., & Rumenapp, J. (2017). Talking about language in pre-school: The use of video-stimulated recall with emergent bilingual children. Journal of Multilingual Education Research, 7(4), 19-42.

Martínez, D. C., Morales, P. Z., & Aldana, U. S. (2017). Leveraging communicative repertoires using classroom discourse analysis as a tool for equitable learning. Review of Research in Education, 41, 477-499. doi:10.3102/0091732X17691741

Morales, P. Z. (2016). Transnational practices and language maintenance: Spanish and Zapoteco in California. Children''s Geographies, 14(4), 375-389.

Morales, P. Z. (2016). From ethnographic surveillance to relationship: Contemporary tensions and possibilities in community based anthropological research. Introduction to Special Issue. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 47(1), 3-4.

Morales, P. Z., Meza, R., & Maravilla-Cano, J. (2016). Latin@ students in a changing Chicago: Current disparities and opportunities within public schools. Association of Mexican American Educators Journal, 10(1), 107-129.

Morales, P. Z., Trujillo, T., & Kissell, R. (2016). Educational policy and Latin@ youth. In S. L. Nichols (Ed.), Educational policies and youth in the 21st century: Problems, potential, and progress (pp. 3-22). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishers.

Morales, P. Z., & Razfar, A. (2016). Advancing integration through bilingualism for all. In E. Frankenburg, L. Garces & M. Hopkins (Eds.), School Integration Matters: Research-based Strategies to Advance Equity (pp. 135-144). New York: Teachers College Press.

Morales, P. Z., & Rao, A. B. (2015). How ideology and cultural capital shape the distribution of Illinois' bilingual education programs. Online commentary. Teachers College Record. Date Published: September 28, 2015 http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18139.

Rao, A. B., & Morales, P. Z. (2015). Addressing the linguistic and cultural needs of English learners through culturally responsive pedagogy. Mid-Western Educational Researcher, 27(4), 296-316.

Morales, P. Z., & Monzó, L. D. (2014). Ethical dilemmas of emerging Latina researchers: Studying schools serving Latin@ communities. The Qualitative Report, 19(79), 1-14.

Martínez, R. A., & Morales, P. Z. (2014). "¿Puras groserías?": Rethinking the role of profanity and graphic humor in Latin@ students' bilingual wordplay. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 45(4), 337-354.

Morales, P. Z., & Aldana, U. S. (2010). Learning in two languages: Programs with political promise. In P. Gándara & M. B. Hopkins (Eds.), Forbidden language: English learners and restrictive language policies (pp. 159-174). New York: Teachers College Press.

Gutiérrez, K. D., Morales, P. Z., & Martinez, D. C. (2009). Re-mediating literacy: Culture, difference, and learning for students from non-dominant communities. Review of Research in Education, 33, 212-245.



Honors & Awards

STAR (Scholars of Color Transitioning into Academic Research) fellow, Literacy Research Association, 2011-12, 2012-13

Scholar Grant, Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy (IRRPP), University of Illinois at Chicago, 2012

Professional Affiliations & Activities

American Anthropological Association (AAA): Council on Anthropology and Education (CAE), Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists (ALLA)

American Education Research Association (AERA)

Illinois Association for Multilingual Multicultural Education (IAMME)

Literacy Research Association (LRA)

National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE)

Journal of Literacy & Social Responsibility (Editorial Board)

Language Arts (Editorial Board)


Courses Taught

482 Assessment and Instruction: A Multilingual/Multicultural Perspective


CI 481 or ED 258; or consent of the instructor

Methods and materials for teaching English language learners (ELLs) in bilingual/ESL classrooms. Emphasis upon curricular and methodological practices, assessment for academic placement, and instruction.

481 Foundations and Current Issues in Educating English Language Learners


Junior standing or above

Philosophical, theoretical, socio-cultural and educational examination of learning and achievement issues that culturally and linguistically diverse students face in American schools. Field work required.

594 Special Topics in Education


Consent of the instructor.

Exploration of a topic not covered in existing course offerings. May be repeated if topics vary. Students may register in more than one section per term.

579 Bi-Literacy: Theory, Research, and Practice


Consent of the instructor

Theoretical foundations, research paradigms, and issues focusing on bilingual and bi-literacy practices in and between home, school and community contexts.