Lesson Plan: Pope Francis TED Talk

Pope Francis surprised the conference guests (and the world) when he offered the first TED talk by a pope. TED stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design.” It is a conference that is popular among tech startups, science enthusiasts, and Silicon valley entrepreneurs. The talks given during these conferences are distributed online and often have viral messages that spread and inspire communities of people around the world.

The Holy Father used this popular new medium to spread a message of inclusion, hope, and kindness to a world increasingly focused on the individual. He called for a “revolution of tenderness,” that starts with just one person: you.

Introduce your students to the Holy Father’s message by showing them the video of the talk and inviting them to welcome his inspiring words into their hearts so that they can go out into the world and take up his challenge to be a people of hope.

Holy Father TED Talk Lesson Plan

Lesson Objectives:

  • SWBAT summarize the Holy Father’s message in the TED talk he titles “The Future Is You.”
  • SWBAT think of ways they can live out the pope’s message in their everyday lives.

Lesson Activities:

1. Introduce TED Talks 

Provide a brief introduction and background on TED talks. Visit the TED website for more information: www.ted.com/about/our-organization.

2. Watch Pope Francis’s TED Talk 

Have the students watch Pope Francis’s TED talk with you. In typical Pope Francis fashion, there are three main ideas: interdependence, solidarity, and a revolution of tenderness. Have the students take notes on those three main ideas or use these topics as a guide:

  • Why them and not me? (1:27)
  • Include Everyone (2:35)
  • Solidarity and Science (4:27)
  • Parable of the Good Samaritan (7:52)
  • Christian Hope (11:27)
  • Revolution of Tenderness (13:16)

You can also use this graphic organizer I created for students to use as they watch the video:

Download the TED Talk Handouts


Note: Pope Francis does not speak very good English. The students will have to follow along with the subtitles, which can be a challenge for younger readers. It also makes it challenging to take notes without pausing the video. You can print out a transcript of this talk on the TED website.

3. Discuss the TED Talk 

Once your students finish watching (or reading) Pope Francis’s TED talk, spend some time discussing the video as a class. You can give these questions to them to write a response or use them for an in-class discussion:

  • How does asking yourself “Why them and not me?” make you feel? Why?
  • Where is solidarity needed most in the world today? Why?
  • How does the Parable of the Good Samaritan apply to the world today?
  • What did Mother Teresa mean when she said, “One cannot love, unless it is at their own expense”?
  • What can you do today to bring about the revolution of tenderness? This week? This month? This year?

You can also download these questions as a worksheet that can be printed out for the students to write their own responses:

Download the TED Talk Handouts


These handouts are already available to members of The Religion Teacher

Lesson Assessment:

To show you that the students have understood the message the Holy Father offered in his TED talk, have them complete a two-sided exit card response to the following:

  1. What are three important messages that Pope Francis wished to communicate through his TED talk?
  2. How will you bring about a revolution of tenderness?



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About Jared Dees

Jared Dees is the creator of The Religion Teacher. He is the Content Marketing Manager at Ave Maria Press and the author of 31 Days to Becoming a Better Religious Educator, To Heal, Proclaim, and Teach, and Praying the Angelus.


  1. Maria Gavila says:

    Thanks for keeping us updated on the Ted Talks. Just heard about it myself. You are generous with your work.