UCI Department of Education

Rahila Munshi Simzar

Ph.D. Student
School of Education

Email: rmunshi@uci.edu


Rahila is a Ph.D. student specializing in Educational Policy and Social Context (EPSC) with concurrent interests in Learning, Cognition, and Development (LCD). Her research interests are in student and teacher motivation, urban school policy and program implementation, algebra course placement policy, and critical practice and social justice agendas.

Rahila received her undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics Operations Research with a minor in English from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2007. She continued at UCLA to receive a Master's degree in Education in 2008. Her thesis research in socio-cultural learning theory was used to investigate secondary student helping behavior in mathematics. Her findings led her to practice a pedagogy that facilitated cooperative groups in which students explore mathematical concepts through a series of investigative group tasks. She spent the following three years teaching at West Adams Preparatory High School in Los Angeles, where she also served as the Mathematics Department Chair and the School of Business and Enterprise Lead Teacher. In her third year teaching she successfully piloted the school's first AP Statistics course.

Rahila is currently a fourth year doctoral student researching algebra course placement policy and its association with students’ motivation and affect for mathematics. Specifically, this research is conducted using a linguistically and culturally diverse sample to reflect her interests in examining urban communities with majorities of minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged students. Thus far Rahila has combined her teaching experience and interest in student motivation in mathematics to produce a textbook chapter that guides pre and in-service teachers towards critically teaching mathematics (specifically Algebra) to enhance students’ motivation. With a passion to help improve inner-city urban adolescents’ experiences in mathematics, her future goals are to further bridge her teaching experience and research interests in mathematics policy and adolescent motivation for mathematics with social justice agendas. 

Published Work

Simzar, R.M. & Domina, T. (2014). Attending to student motivation: A recommendation for improving accelerated mathematical learning across diverse learners. Under review for publication in Critical Practice in P-12 Education: Transformative Teaching and Learning. William Paterson University: IGI Global.

Munshi, Rahila (2011). “An educator’s perspective on evidence of quality teacher practice.” Xchange Publication and Resources for Transforming Public Schools. Retrieved from http://centerx.gseis.ucla.edu/xchange-repository/spring-2011/the-briefing-room/#ucla-alumni-voices-teachers-on-evidence-of-teacher-quality-written-responseshttp://www.forbes.com/sites/ashoka/2013/02/15/how-should-we-rebuild-the-u-s-education-system/

Selected Conference Presentations

Simzar, R.M., Domina, T., Tran, C. & Conley, A.M. (2013, May). Eighth grade algebra course placement influences on student motivation. Poster presented at the Association for Institutional Research. Long Beach, CA.

Simzar, R.M., Domina, T., Tran, C., & Conley, A.M. (2013, April). Eighth grade algebra course placement influences on student motivation. Paper presented at the American Education Research Association. San Francisco, CA.

Simzar, R.M. “Eighth grade algebra course placement influences on student motivation.” Paper presented at the Eastern Sociological Society 83rd Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, March 2013.

Simzar, R.M. “Course placement influences on student motivation.” Poster presented at the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, Washington, DC, March 2013. 

Simzar, R.M. “Eighth grade mathematics course placement influences on motivation.” Paper presentated at the 2012 Harvard Graduate School of Education Student Research Conference.

Munshi, Rahila, Huy Chung, and Elizabeth van Es. “Learning to learn from teaching: A model for learning from analysis and reflection of one’s own teaching.” UCLA Mathematics Department Philip C. Curtis Jr. Center for Mathematics and Teaching 2011 Conference. Los Angeles, CA. 

Munshi, Rahila, Frank Avila, Bailey, M., Monique Evans, and Cathy Klein. “What makes a successful inner city school math teacher? Recommendations from Experience.” UCLA Mathematics Department Philip C. Curtis Jr. Center for Mathematics and Teaching 2010 Conference. Los Angeles, CA.

Munshi, Rahila, and Nikki Dang. “Bringing it all together: Classroom activities, technology, and mathematics exploration.” Center X UCLA Mathematics Project 2009 Supporting Teachers to Increase Retention Mini-Conference. Los Angeles, CA.

Academic Distinctions

Faculty Mentor Program (FMP) Fellowship School of Education School of Education Nominee and Honorable Mention Award Recipient (2013-2014)

Innovative Evaluation Research (IERA) UCEC Mosaic Award (2012)

Education Alumni Association Fellowship (2007-2008)

National Dean’s List (2007)

Wilson Teaching Fellowship (2006)

Community Teaching Fellowship (2006)

Media Relations

Forbes Magazine Interview: "How Should We Rebuild the U.S. Educational System?"

Curriculum Vitae