Teaching Students About Kim Il Sung


Understanding the historical context and significance of key political figures can help students grasp the development and trajectory of nations. Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea, is one such figure who greatly impacted his country’s history. Engaging students on the subject will foster their critical thinking skills and better prepare them to comprehend today’s complex world.

1. Contextualize Kim Il Sung in World History

Start by providing context on how Kim Il Sung rose to power amid global events occurring in the early 20th century. Discuss World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War with a focus on how they influenced the political landscape in Korea, ultimately leading to Kim’s leadership.

2. Discuss Ideological Foundations

Introduce students to the Juche ideology, which is key to understanding North Korea under Kim Il Sung’s rule. Discuss its principles of self-reliance and nationalism, and analyze how it shaped the country’s politics at home and abroad.

3. Review Key Events and Decisions under Kim Il Sung’s Rule

Focus on crucial decisions made during his tenure, including policies related to agriculture, industry, and foreign relations. Delve into his pursuit of a nuclear program and various military engagements, as well as his cult of personality that endures even after his death.

4. Compare North Korea with South Korea

A great way to contextualize Kim Il Sung’s legacy is by comparing North Korea with South Korea, considering they had similar conditions before their division. Examine the differences in political systems, economic progress, and social development between these two neighbors.

5. Human Rights Issues

Discuss the human rights situation in North Korea during Kim Il Sung’s rule and its repercussions that persist today. Introduce sources like first-hand accounts from defectors or reports from international organizations.

6. Analyze His Lasting Influence

Analyze how Kim Il Sung’s decisions still reverberate within North Korea, impacting its political, economic, and social spheres under his successors Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un.


Teaching students about Kim Il Sung provides invaluable insights into North Korea’s history and the geopolitical issues that formed it. By fostering discussion on his role in shaping the nation’s development trajectory, students will have a more thorough understanding of how political figures and events contribute to a nation’s legacy.

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