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Photo of Morales, Dr. P. Zitlali

Dr. P. Zitlali Morales

Associate Professor

Affiliated Faculty, Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS)

Curriculum & Instruction


Building & Room:

3234 ETMSW


1040 W. Harrison St. (MC 147), Chicago, IL 60607

Office Phone:

(312) 996-8144


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 Latina/o/x youth and linguistic interactions of students and teachers in bilingual classrooms. Her research interests include the education of emergent bilingual students, the language ideologies of immigrant communities, theories related to language and identity, and language education policy. Dr. Morales is the co-editor of the book, Transforming Schooling for Second Language Learners: Theoretical Insights, Policies, Pedagogies, and Practices by Information Age Publishing. Dr. Morales is coordinator of the Literacy, Language, and Culture (LLC) doctoral program in the College of Education. She is also the coordinator of the Bilingual and ESL endorsement at UIC.

Selected Publications

Pacheco, M., Morales, P. Z., & Hamilton, C. (Eds.) (2019). Transforming schooling for second language learners: Policies, pedagogies, and practices. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. Click here for the book

Morales, P. Z., Saravia, L. A., & Pérez-Iribe, M. F. (2019). Multilingual Mexican-origin students’ perspectives on their indigenous heritage languages. Association of Mexican American Educators Journal, 13(2), 91-121. doi:10.24974/amae.13.2.430

Morales, P. Z., & Maravilla, J. (2019). The problems and possibilities of interest convergence to advance multilingualism for all. Theory Into Practice. doi:10.1080/00405841.2019.1569377

Morales, P. Z., & Hartman, P. W. (2019). Positioning Spanish-language and African American Language (AAL) speakers as knowledgeable and valuable contributors in the language arts classroom. Theory into Practice, 58(3), 236-245. doi:10.1080/00405841.2019.1607654

Rumenapp, J., Morales, P. Z., & Manfredini Lykouretzos, A. (2018, November). Building a cohesive multimodal environment for diverse learners in the preschool classroom. Young Children, 72-78.

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. Click here to access the article

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. doi:10.1080/14733285.2015.1057552

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

Service to Community

Zitlali “Lali” Morales, Associate Professor, Curriculum & Instruction in the College of Education, is featured in an on-air Spanish interview with Univision Chicago, discussing bilingual education. She outlines the issues students and their families face and how dual immersion helps students develop both of their languages academically. To see the Spanish language interview:

¿En qué se diferencian los programas de educación bilingüe y los de doble inmersión o duales?

Notable Honors

2021, Graduate Mentoring Award, Behavioral and Social Sciences Division, UIC


2010 - PhD, University of California, Los Angeles, Education
1998 - BA, Stanford University, Cultural Anthropology; History (minor)

Research Currently in Progress

Centering Racialized Pre-Service Teachers: A Proleptic Re-Design of Teacher Education for Leveraging Linguistic Diversity

Spencer Foundation Large Grant

P.I. Danny C. Martinez, University of California, Davis; Co-PI Ramón Antonio Martínez, Stanford University

Despite increasing diversity among teachers, teacher education programs (TEPs) remain geared towards White teachers, marginalizing teachers of color by ignoring their experiential knowledge and perspectives. This tension is especially evident in courses focusing on linguistic diversity that prepare racialized pre-service teachers (PSTs) to work with racialized students. Such language-focused courses represent potentially generative spaces for re-imagining and re-designing teacher education experiences to center racialized pre-service teachers. But how might we center racialized PSTs in courses that aim to prepare them to work in linguistically diverse classrooms without essentializing their experiences and without erasing important intra-group heterogeneity and variation?

This three-year social-design experiment will focus on three cadres of racialized PSTs from three separate TEPs, documenting their learning across a range of experiences and engaging them as co-designers of their own learning and pedagogy. Participants will be recruited from our respective language-focused courses that centralize sociocultural perspectives, where linguistic diversity is viewed as a resource for learning. This proposed re-design seeks to transform learning experiences and environments to promote equity for racialized PSTs and their future students. This study will contribute to empirical and theoretical foundations for preparing racialized pre-service teachers to teach in culturally and linguistically diverse contexts.

Spencer grant awarded to UIC researcher to rethink teacher preparation for racialized youth