Language Education Policy Studies
An International Network

LEP by World Region

LEP by World Region

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Making Empathetic Multilingual Environments in School (MEMES)

This page is a work in progress by Kristine Harrison, drawing on the work of this website and more recent work in indigenous and then refugee and displaced student language education.

Part One: The Rationale (Part Two: Translanguaging

(Brief Abstract) This page (the rationale) draws a parallel between a futuristic movie called Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets; and multilingual indigenous-based education where teachers, students, and parents are the policymakers. The movie is about a space station that humans built to co-exist after the earth becomes uninhabitable, eventually it has to leave earth's gravity and co-exist with other species in the universe. 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.

 The goal of a 'policy' like MEMES is to offset the current status quo of disappearing languages and standardized education in a context of a planet of slums—racism, violence, poverty, and destruction of sustainability. 

The 21st century is the century of massive displacement, with millions forcibly displaced; shifting demographics and standardized schooling. Media campaigns devictimize those who are displaced and even empathetic governments or 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, memetics runs deeper than today’s memes. Memetics involves the replication of culture and its ideas, human cultural transmission analogous to genes. Maybe we need new memes. Rather than milliseconds of recognizance, the memes should be purposeful.

(More to come)

Watch the video below (not the embedded one but above), the description of Alpha is from 2:20 to 3:39; a space station where all the different species collaborate and pool knowledge in their languages.

Part Two is about Translanguaging and includes actual strategies.



Minutes 2:20 to 3:39 describe Alpha:


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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