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Photo of Razfar, Aria

Aria Razfar


Curriculum and Instruction


Building & Room:

3428 ETMSW


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.

Recent work:

Selected Publications

TED Talk:
TED. (2016, June 16). Aria Razfar: #LanguageMatters Watch it here

Razfar, A., & Rumenapp, J.C. (2013). Applying linguistics in the classroom: A sociocultural approach, 1st Edition. Routledge.

Book Chapter:
Razfar, A. (2019). Spinning Trump’s Language Policy: Cracking the Code and Transforming Identities and Ideologies. In Mariana Pacheco and P. Zitlali Morales (Eds.), Transforming schooling for second language learners: Policies, pedagogies, and practices. Research in Second
Language Learning Series. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Razfar, A. & Torres, Z. (2016). Teaching mathematics to ELLs. In Nan Li (Ed.), Teaching ELLs Across Content Areas: Issues and Strategies. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Journal Article:
Razfar, A. & Nasir, A. (2019). Re-positioning English Learners’ funds of knowledge for scientific practices. Theory into Practice 58 (3), 226-235.

Other 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.


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

Professional Memberships

American Education Research Association, Annual Policy & Procedures Committee

American Association of Applied Linguistics

National Council of Teachers of Education

Research Currently in Progress

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.