This paper compares the oral and visual representations which 12 to 13-year-old students produced in studying computer games as part of an English and Media course. It presents the arguments for studying multimodal texts as part of a literacy curriculum and then provides an overview of the games course devised by teachers and researchers. The analysis of a group interview and a set of six drawings is designed to highlight the relationship between knowledge of games gained outside the classroom and knowledge developed through formal study; the role of gender in students’ interpretations of games; and the literacy practices manifested in different forms of texts, in particular visual texts. Judith Butler’s notion of performativity is used alongside a multimodal theory of sign-making to argue that the way students interpret and produce texts is socially motivated to achieve a certain subjectivity within the context of the classroom and the peer group. The conclusion examines implications for the study of games in English and Media classrooms, particularly with regard to the teaching of genre.
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