Date of Submission



Over the past three decades, the development of religious education in Australia has been largely shaped by catechetical and curriculum approaches to teaching and learning. To date, little emphasis has been placed on the pedagogical dimension of religious education. The purpose of this research project is to explore the manner in which 'brain-based' learning theory contributes to pedagogical development in primary religious education. The project utilises an action research methodology combining concept mapping, the application of 'brain-based' teaching strategies and focus group dialogue with diocesan Religious Education Coordinators (RECs). The insights derived contribute to the formulation and validation of an appropriate pedagogical model for primary religious education, entitled the 'DEEP Framework'. The model reflects an integration of insights from brain-based theory with nuances from the contemporary Australian religious education literature. The project identifies four key, interactive principles that are crucial to pedagogical development in religious education, namely: Discernment, Enrichment, Engagement and Participation. It also recognises a fifth principle, 'an orientation towards wholeness', as significant in combining the various pedagogical principles into a coherent whole. The DEEP framework enables teachers to more successfully select and evaluate appropriate, interconnecting teaching strategies within the religious education classroom. The framework underpins the pedagogical rationale of the recently developed Archdiocese of Hobart religious education program and forms the basis for the implementation of a coherent professional development program across the Archdiocese.


School of Religious Education

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


251 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Faculty of Education

Included in

Education Commons