Language Education Policy Studies
An International Network
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Making Empathetic Multilingual Environments in Schools (MEMES) 

Rationale: Resources for Educators of Multilingual Students

The resources and information on these pages is the first level of support for teachers & other educators who deal with multilingual classrooms. Another section focuses on displaced & refugee students: Here you will find information about various conflicts and other factors that lead to migration. You will also find information about languages spoken by displaced persons. Another page has policies in various countries that host refugees & displaced persons. Other pages have lesson plans, MEMES for educational use, and reference links. This project is inspired by and draws on the work of this website and more recent work in displacement: indigenous and then refugee and other (im)migrant student language education.

The goal of a 'policy' like MEMES--Making Empathetic Multilingual Environments in Schools is to offset the current status quo of 

1) disappearing languages and standardized education, in a context of 

2) a planet of displacement & slums—racism, violence, poverty, and destruction of sustainability. 

The 21st century is a century of massive displacement (in which we live!), with millions forcibly displaced, causing shifting demographics; and increasingly standardized schooling plus ubiquitous technology. Media campaigns devictimize those who are displaced and even governments or empathetic educators face restraints such as funding and testing. Memes today are the popular word for pictures with captions, often shared in Facebook or other social media. However, the idea of memetics runs deeper than today’s memes. Memetics involves the replication of culture and its ideas, human cultural transmission analogous to genes. Perhaps we need new memes. Rather than evoking milliseconds of recognition, the memes proposed are purposeful and meaningful and the acronym helps us draw attention to this project. Thinking of the planet let us learn a lesson by watching a futuristic movie called Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets; to work toward multilingual indigenous-based education where teachers, students, and parents are the policymakers. In the movie there is a space station that humans built to co-exist after the earth became uninhabitable in 2020, eventually the space station had to leave earth's gravity and co-exist with other species in the universe (Watch this unfold in embedded video below). It is then about interplanetary PEACE and the many species that co-exist by sharing languages and knowledge; which they do on ALPHA space station. (Watch the video link to the right to see Alpha and hear the description (from minutes 2:20 to 3:39 of); a space station where all the different species collaborate and pool knowledge in their languages.)

The next page is about plurilingual pedagogy or Translanguaging classroom strategies. 


  • MEMES Rationale (this page)
  • Strategy: Translanguaging
  • Lesson Plans
  • References & Links
  • Conflict Info: Syria
  • Conflict Info: Afghanistan
  • Conflict Info: Yemen
  • Conflict Info: Rohingya
  • Displacement: Central America
  • Displacement: Caribbean
  • Displaced Languages
  • Host Country LEP: Turkey
  • Host Country LEP: Pakistan
  • Host Country LEP: Sudan
  • Host Countries LEP: Europe
  • Host Country LEP: U.S.
  • Host Country LEP: Canada
Video Link:

Minutes 2:20 to 3:39 describe Alpha:


Bessen, L. (Producer & Director). (2017). Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. France: Europacorp.

This web page has a copyright. It may be referred to and quoted, or reproduced and distributed for educational purposes according to fair use legislation only if the following citation is included in the document:

This information was originally published on the website of the International Network for Language Education Policy Studies ( as

Harrison, K. M. (2017). Making Empathetic Multilingual Environments in Schools. In F. V. Tochon (Ed.), Language Education Policy Studies (online). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin—Madison. Retrieved from: (access date). 
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