PalFish Free Talk – A specific type of English Teaching

Converse with a range of ESL students

I first started using PalFish Free Talk in late 2019 and to date it has been rewarding. Certainly I’ve found free talk teaching an enjoyable way to converse and interact with students. Additionally, you’re able to teach students of wider ages than the PalFish Official Kids Course (OKC) role. In addition to the student developing their English, free talk is often a learning experience for yourself.

What do you talk about?

You might choose to prepare material, yet usually I let the student decide which the direction of the conversation. This approach is beneficial, because you display adaptability and improvisation whilst helping students feel comfortable. Further, by focusing on relatable subjects, the conversations are likely to be more productive for the student. For instance, culture, travel, food, sport, university study and personal interests are subjects I frequently discuss. Additionally, I have had students request assistance with English tests like IELTS and TOEFL. Prior knowledge of these qualifications is useful in helping the student prepare, of which I continue to gain understanding. PalFish also allows teachers to design their own lessons for students to buy.

Assessment of Students on PalFish Free Talk

Though calls are ‘loose’ in structure compared with OKC classes, you could incorporate teacher led elements like appraisals. For instance, assessing pronunciation, conversational skills, vocabulary and intonation are good indicators of a student’s English level. Furthermore, you should write a brief review after the ‘class’ so the student has some feedback. I like to send a short message accompanying a review as this provides opportunity for scheduling a follow up call. Many students like to leave you a review, I’ve been lucky to receive some pleasing ones (below).

Examples of reviews and comments I’ve sent and received respectively.

Call format and Scheduling

An advantage of the free talk format is being able to choose audio or video call. I recommend treating each call individually as the preference of the student will differ. I relish the variety, for instance, using video call for visual displays or audio for referring to prompts. The appointment system is flexible and enables teachers to accept calls when they desire. Yet, students could schedule a class with you in advance (private message) or just call you spontaneously. Above all, ensure you display your availability so students know when they can call you. You can do this by toggling the ‘start tutoring’ and ‘stop tutoring’ button to the right of your profile picture.

Your Home Screen on PalFish – here my profile is offline as the ‘start tutoring’ button hasn’t been activated.

PalFish Pay Rates and Class Length Suggestions

As a free talk teacher you can select a per minute price (RMB) as your ‘standard rate’ and ‘trial rate’. To do this click on ‘Me’ at the bottom right of your home screen and then ‘Set your rate’.

Simply click on either rate and adjust it as highlighted in the next screenshots.

PalFish advises you set a low starting rate as I mentioned in my DaDa and PalFish comparison. Once you become proficient and develop a following, consider raising your standard rate. In addition, marketing yourself gives an opportunity to obtain more classes and earn more money. Certainly, making a good impression increases the chance of the student undertaking further classes with you.  

How long are PalFish free talk conversations?

Ultimately, call length is determined by the student as they essentially have an ‘e-wallet’ containing payment credits. My longest free talk has been 90 minutes but many students prefer a shorter time which is understandable. From the screenshot of my reviews you can see the call duration on the right hand side. Generally these average around 30 minutes, an optimal time to cover discussion. If you have free time, you could commit to a longer conversation and thus earn extra income. To reiterate, free talk is flexible so you can decide on appropriate class length to suit you both.

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