Brent Smith

Brent Taylor Smith

Brent Taylor Smith


Born in Mississippi and raised in Ohio, Brent moved to the Bay Area in 1993 where he was first exposed to teaching as a VISTA volunteer in the Oakland Unified School District. An honors graduate from UC-Davis, Brent previously worked in a research foundation at Thammasat University in Bangkok before returning to San Francisco for his TESOL studies. He currently lives in Orinda with his wife, with whom he shares a passion for international travel, oceans and beaches, global service, and watching their young son grow.

Presentation Abstract:

Writing Prompt Selection in the ESL Classroom: An Inquiry into Student Choice

Within various writing situations in academic university settings, non-native English speaking students are often asked to choose a writing prompt upon which their writing performances will be evaluated. Based upon what criteria do these NNS use to select their essay choices? Does offering a choice of prompts provide the students a degree of motivation? Although the presenter would like to believe that prior knowledge and interest are the primary impetuses in selecting a writing prompt, he was curious if and what other parameters (such as ease of topic and prolificacy of the prompt) might be coming into play. The intent of this inquiry capstone project is to evaluate ESL students’ perceptions concerning having the ability to choose their own writing prompts, to examine how the selections are made and to ask what implications might be drawn from the process.

By Angela G

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