Field Note: Embedding Social and Emotional Learning in Literacy and Teacher Training in Afghanistan
This field note contributes to understanding of the challenges in and opportunities for supporting social and emotional learning (SEL) in the education in emergencies context, with a particular focus on embedding social and emotional skills into literacy learning in the early grades of primary school. In Afghanistan, the current reality is that many children and their teachers have been exposed repeatedly to adversity and highly stressful situations, such as attacks on their schools. Research shows that exposure to crises affects learning and the wellbeing of students and teachers alike. In this article, we describe how SEL was embedded in the early grade literacy curriculum and teacher training in Afghanistan, and in education support systems and practices. We further elaborate on the challenges faced and lessons learned throughout this process. The experience of integrating SEL into an early grade literacy curriculum has been positive, and initial feedback on the approach suggests that it promises to continue to be so. However, further research is needed in both Afghanistan and other contexts to more fully understand the impact of embedding different SEL practices in early grade reading materials and classrooms, and in preservice and in-service teacher training. Note: This field note was written prior to the change of government in Afghanistan in August 2021.