The selecting phase of playbuilding with Aboriginal Pedagogies is the third section of a learning sequence for Stage 5 drama.

Deconstruct reconstruct: Watch first

Aboriginal ways of learning

Image: Deconstruct Reconstruct, Story Sharing, Land Links

Teaching strategies

As students begin to select and structure ideas, they will be actively involved in deconstruction and reconstruction of improvised material to create their intended dramatic meaning.

If possible, show students a recording of a successful group devised performance from their own school community. If these are not available, choose an appropriate group devised performance online, such as The Arts Unit – Lunch Bites (0:00 – 21:08) or NESA 2016 HSC OnSTAGE performance: The Dying Swan (3:15 – 15:02). As a class, students then deconstruct the elements/parts that make the performance work as a whole. Take time to do this in detail and refer explicitly to the Deconstruct Reconstruct drum symbol. Explain that ‘watch first, then do’ is an important way of learning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Students make a visual mind-map of these group performance parts (elements of drama and conventions) to refer to and use when constructing their original place-based performances.

Through rapid and repeated devising, sharing and feedback cycles, students make choices about the purpose of their performance and the intended audience response. Students need to have a clear reason for sharing this story of place with the local/school community.

They use this intent to guide their selection of:

  • role and character
  • situation
  • style
  • space
  • movement
  • mood and atmosphere.

When sharing their devised material, encourage students to deconstruct the parts and question the meaning in a constructive way when offering and reflecting on feedback.

When students have generated and selected 4 minutes or more of material, they can move into the structuring phase of devising. This may happen at different stages for each group.


Please note:

Syllabus outcomes and content descriptors from Drama 7–10 Syllabus (2003) © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2017.


  • Drama 7-10
  • Stage 5

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
  • Teaching, Learning and Student Wellbeing
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