This study focused on whether and how teachers implemented the principles of culturally relevant and sustaining pedagogies and the challenges teachers faced while trying to implement these principles with Syrian students in Turkey. The study was built on the four components of pedagogies: academic achievement; cultural competencies; sociopolitical consciousness; and the sustainability of culture. Qualitative data were obtained through interviews and field notes with four teachers who had Syrian students in their classes and four Syrian students. Content analysis was used to examine the data. The findings revealed that both teachers and students had low expectations of academic achievement. Teachers conducted the teaching–learning process entirely according to the perspectives of students who were from the mainstream culture. Teachers tried to improve the cultural competencies and enhance their sociopolitical consciousness of the Syrian students; however, the attempts were limited and inadequate. Although teachers were aware of the importance of sustaining the Syrian culture, they did not know how to do so. The teachers did not have sufficient competencies or experiences to make revisions or to carry out an effective instructional process tailored to the needs of Syrian students because of an absence of skills and knowledge of multicultural education.

DOI: 10.1002/berj.3700
ISSN: 0141-1926