Cult of Personality Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Help your students understand cult of personality. Students will connect the term to modern and historical leaders who used propaganda to maintain power.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define and use the term cult of personality
  • identify leaders whose reign is marked by cult of personality


This lesson will take approximately 45-90 minutes.

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.


Materials needed: clip of song Cult of Personality by Living Colour and copy of lyrics to display, chart paper, markers

  • Activate prior knowledge by asking students to define the term 'cult of personality.' Play the song Cult of Personality by Living Colour while displaying the lyrics. Then ask how the song helps them understand the phrase better.
  • Formulate a class definition of the term and write it on cart paper.
  • Read the lesson What is a Cult of Personality? - Definition & Examples as a class.
  • After reading the 'Cult of Personality' section of the lesson, review the class definition to determine if there need to be any adjustments.
  • Have students turn and talk to a partner to see if they can name public figures that this might apply to other than the ones listed in this lesson.
  • Continue reading the Kim Jong-un section of the lesson. Pause to ask students:
    • Do you think Kim Jong-un is a good example? Why?
    • What are some of the dangers of a cult of personality?
  • Finish reading the lesson.
  • Ask students the following questions:
    • What are some tactics that were employed by Hitler to build his cult of personality?
    • Why would a leader want to indoctrinate his/her people?
    • How would you respond if you saw this happening in your community?
    • Do you think other people besides politicians can have a cult of personality? Justify your answer.
  • Use the lesson's printable worksheet to check for understanding.

Chiefs of Propaganda

Materials needed: computer/internet/printer, video recorders, poster board, markers

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