In the last four years, with the implementation of the policy of integration of the Syrian refugee students into the public schools in Turkey, there has been a significant rise in the number of Syrian students in mainstream classrooms. Based on the analysis of the discourses of Turkish teachers and students about Syrian students, this study examines the ways in which attitudes towards the Syrians in the Turkish community are reflected into the classroom context and also the ways that such attitudes shape intergroup communication as well as contribute to the construction of collective identities within the multilingual classrooms in Turkish schools. Using linguistic ethnography as a methodological approach, data were collected through classroom recordings of natural interactions, teacher interviews, informal conversations and ethnographic classroom observations. Analysis of teacher and student discourses reveals how negative portrayals of the Syrian students as guests, outsiders, deprived, incompetent, cheaters and liars are being constructed and how those adversely affect communication and teaching practices within the classrooms. The authors argue for the need of the development and implementation of holistic educational policies in the country taking multiculturalism and multilingualism as pivotal points and focusing not only on language instruction but social integration as well. © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2021.1900422
ISSN: 13603116