Lesson Plan: For Teachers: The Pope as Cultural Icon
Ask students to define the term
"icon." Ask students for examples of people who could be considered icons.
After you have an extensive list, ask students to organize the names into
different categories - Religious, Entertainment, and Politics. As a class,
write an R, E, or P beside each name to designate the category into which that
Compare the number of names found in each category. Lead the class in a discussion around why so many of our icons are found in the entertainment category.
Tell students that they will be examining the differences and similarities between the Pope and other public figures such as entertainers and politicians.
Outline the Opportunity
Working in groups, students will
identify specific appearances by public figures that they have either attended,
or seen in the media (for example, a concert, a speech, an overseas visit).
Each group should present their list of examples to the class.
Have the students browse the topic The 1984 Papal Visit on the CBC Digital Archives website to identify the main elements and activities of the Pope's visit. Next, have students come together in their groups and identify some of the common elements between the events/activities of the Papal visit and the public appearances of other public figures that they have already listed.
Revisit and Reflect
Working in the same groups, have students choose one of the public appearances made by the Pope and one of those made by another public figure (this must be a specific event). Now have the students list the differences between the two events. As a group the students will apply and answer the following questions to both of the events they have chosen:
What was the purpose of the event(s)?
What type of activities happened at the event?
How, if at all, did the event benefit the people who attended? How did it benefit society in general?
Have each group organize its answers on chart paper and present these to the class. Once all groups have presented, have a class discussion to decide what the most important difference is between the Pope's appearances and those of other public figures.
Have students identify a public figure (other than the Pope) who they feel contributes to society in a positive way and write a response paper explaining their ideas about this person.