My name is Javier Maldonado, and I am the founder of Vivavoce Classics. I hold a long degree (Spanish Licenciatura, a five years course) in Classical Philology from the University of Granada and a M.A in Classics from King’s College London. I also have studied Ancient and Medieval Philosophy for two years at the Instituto de Filosofía Edith Stein –I.A.P., also in Granada. Along with this, I have attended several trainings on second language acquisition and spoken Latin and Koine Greek at the Polis Institute over a number of summer courses in the Pontificial University of the Holy Cross at Rome. I already started my path to Latin and Greek fluency as early as July 2012 as a way of developing my oral fluency in these languages. My aim has always been to help other students develop a competent level of reading fluency through complete linguistic immersion.
I have spent most of my professional life working in the United Kingdom as a teacher of modern languages (Spanish) as well as Latin and Greek, and at a variety of teaching institutions. My have exerted my teaching practice in a variety of educational frameworks, with students ranging from secondary school students to adult independent learners. Before I moved back to Spain, I worked as a tutor of Latin, Ancient Greek and ancient literature courses in City Lit, London. There, I had the pleasure to teach a module on Spoken Latin, which was a very successful initiative for the college. At the same time roughly, I decided to move online to start my own teaching business, Vivavoce Classics.
My mission | Why learn classics at Viva voce?
Vivavoce aims to provide training in classical languages for students who wish to become fluent in reading Latin and Ancient Greek. Vivavoce is more than a pure online tutoring center, it embodies a personal project. It is how I believe I can serve people who wish to access the great works of the past.
Through my personal academic and career path in life, I have studied and taught different aspects of the classical tradition, ranging from philosophical works to literary genres such as oratory and poetry. However, when it comes to the tackling the study of ancient languages like Latin and Greek, more often than not I find a problematic conception. People tend to think that the learning of these languages has to be somewhat hard and arduous, since they seem to require from the student a higher level of memorization and an ability to grammar-decode before he can develop a reading fluency. In many occasions, this kind of attitude contributes to a wrong conceptualization around the study of classical languages, namely that they should be a pursue for only an academic or intellectual elite. It is almost as if only a small minority of “gifted” students could become “good at Latin”, and the rest had to give up the hope fluency at reading. That is not the case, no more than it should be with any other modern language.
At Vivavoce Classics, I offer you a different learning experience which is shaped following other modern foreign languages teaching practice, where active use of the language and linguistic immersion play a key role. I strongly believe that there is nothing intrinsically difficult in the study of Latin or Greek, other than the traditional grammar-translation approach, focused on language acquisition over grammar understanding, vocab lists memorization and “decoding”. A different kind of approach will not only make your learning experience more enjoyable, and hence more motivating, but more importantly will increase the efficiency of your study. You see, Vivavoce‘s mission is precisely that, to bring Latin alive and give you an immersive experience of the language, where you will listen to, and speak the language itself, where Latin does become alive.
Another second aspect of my mission is to make the study of classical languages and their literature widely available for students regardless of their geographical situations and schedules. Whether you are a professional with a crazy or tight timetable, your geography limits your access to physical courses, or you simply feel more confortable learning from your own home, I can bring that learning experience to you!