Elka Todeva, PhD

Elka holds a doctorate in English applied linguistics and a master’s degree in British and American literature, English linguistics, and simultaneous interpretation. At SIT Graduate Institute since 1993, she teaches and does research in the areas of second language acquisition, English applied linguistics, critical pedagogy, language analysis, multilingualism, teacher cognition, and ecological approaches to teaching. A native of Bulgaria, Elka began working in the US as a visiting Fulbright scholar. Her publications include The Multiple Realities of Multilingualism: Personal Narratives and Researchers’ Perspectives (Mouton de Gruyter, 2009), three ESL textbooks, two English dictionaries, and numerous articles on language acquisition and learning, English linguistics, discourse, brain-friendly teaching, multimedia, and reflective practices.

Elka has taught and supervised in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, and Latin America, and is equally enthusiastic about teacher training and working with ESL/EFL students. A speaker of multiple languages, she advocates plurilinguistic approaches to language teaching that take advantage of students’ prior knowledge and experiences. Her various courses and projects encourage teachers to become public intellectuals who initiate or participate in discussions around language planning, language and identity, language and power, multilingualism, and the role of English in the era of globalization.

Elka has been invited to speak at conferences around the world. Her most recent keynotes were in Uruguay, Mexico, Nepal, India, and the US. She has worked as a simultaneous interpreter at over 120 international events, including the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and various UNESCO conferences. She has also been engaged with several international organizations for free and fair elections.

Her passions outside work are modern art, interior design, and music.

View Dr. Todeva’s full CV.

Selected Publications

  • Grammaring: An almost holy trinity of genuine communication, playful focus-on-form and demand high pedagogy; Proceedings of the 8th Foro de Lenguas, Montevideo, Uruguay, 2016 Administración Nacional de Educación Pública (ANEP). 2016
  • Paradigms of enrichment in language and teacher education; TEC 2015, a British Council Publication, Hyderabad, India
  • Riding the waves and scaling the mountains: ecological approaches to ELT; Proceedings of the 20th NELTA conference, Kathmandu, Nepal, 2015

Research Interests:

Expedited learning, teacher cognition, embodied cognition, ecological approaches to teaching, brain-friendly learning and teaching, grammaring, interdisciplinary cross-fertilization, plurilinguistic pedagogy, scaffolded reflection, locally constructed knowledge and the changing power dynamics between center and periphery, Demand High Teaching


  • PhD, University of Sofia
  • MA, University of Sofia
Elka Todeva, PhD

SIT Graduate Institute



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