Background: To help immigrant and refugee adolescents experiencing a severe academic delay cope with adversity, a school-based intervention combining drama workshops and language awareness activities was piloted in two classrooms.
Method: A qualitative analysis of participant observations was performed and the Strength and Difficulty Questionnaire and its Impairment Supplement was administered before and after the intervention. The observations were carried out in two Montreal high schools serving an underprivileged neighbourhood of immigrants, involving two classrooms of underschooled adolescents (n = 27) and two classes of similarly underschooled adolescents chosen among other teachers interested in the intervention, who accepted to participate as a comparison group (n = 28).
Results: The adolescents shared their experiences of adversity and felt empowered by the workshops. Self-reported impairment decreased in the intervention groups.
Conclusion: The protective effect of creative language activities for immigrant and refugee youth should be further investigated.