This website has been and is designed and is maintained by me, michelle, an English teacher in Spain, working for state-run language schools. I pay for talkingpeople.net and talkingpeople.es out of my own pocket and do not charge any fee for sharing this resource. This means I'm supporting a non-profit educational project. Teachers' and students' contributions plus the links to work by artists, thinkers, activists, and all kind of interesting people are making TP a really interesting place! This is also part of a larger web project: Mujer Palabra
I try to use US American English, but due to the fact that I live in Europe, the influence of British English is also felt. I suppose I use a kind of international standard which sounds closest to US American English. For more on this check out these FAQ and our section World Englishes (top navigation bar).
The reason why as a teacher I use the communicative / transformative / collaborative methods (see FAQ page 2) and why as an individual I share my knowledge, skills and resources is because I'm a social activist, who believes all of us can do something to make this world a better place, starting with keeping busy with learning, thinking and communicating on issues we are interested in, instead of destroying ourselves or others and using all our time to do things we don't enjoy or like. Also, I believe that the key for a better world is in human communication, because it is related both to thought and human relationships. If we understand the importance of being able to communicate in intelligent, effective, sensitive, nonviolent ways, that'll have direct impact on what our societies are like. Last, my beliefs have all to do with human rights and nothing to do with religion - they are political, they are about this world, not spiritual. I don't know of any religion which has not considered women a second-class human being. I believe religion has done a lot of harm to human intelligence and to us all and that being spiritual doesn't need that.
I studied/earned a living in Australia, the USA and in Spain. I worked (as a volunteer pacifist activist mainly) in Mexico, in the open war region of Central America in the 1980s and in the UK after that. I attended pacifist/feminist international meetings in the UK, Spain, Brazil, Uruguay, Belgium, Germany, Sweden. I have traveled to other countries or in Spain just for the love of traveling. Now I surf the Net, because bodies wear out with time! And I believe the Internet, zillions of people sharing their passions and skills, is a true historical priviledge in this violent and unjust world, so I'm really happy about it all.