Framed by literature regarding classroom interactions that affect students’ cognitive processing, this study provided an integrative approach to understanding distracting instructor and student communication. Participants qualitatively reported on either a distracting peer (n = 90) or instructor (n = 127). The responses were coded using anti-citizenship behaviors and instructor misbehaviors. One additional category emerged that extends the instructor misbehavior literature. Participants completed a new distraction scale and a cognitive load scale. Our results revealed differences in frequencies for each behavior, but all instructor and student behaviors were equally distracting and had similar negative influences on students’ cognitive load. Implications for instructors to manage these distracting behaviors are discussed.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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