Creating opportunities for students to engage in positive peer interactions is important because these interactions benefit students’ motivation to learn, and their social, linguistic, and cognitive development. Peer interactions are particularly important for supporting English language learners’ (ELL) because they are often at risk for academic difficulties. This study explored teachers’ and students’ perspectives of peer interaction, and it calculated the amount of time students engaged in peer interaction during the school day. Data included teacher and student interviews, class observations, and an online teacher survey. Results indicated that teachers believe peer interaction opportunities are important and they provided opportunities for students to engage in peer interactions. English language learners interacted with monolingual students and ELLs alike, and they did not gravitate toward other ELLs. Finally, ELLs did consider the issue of language differences and they preferred to speak primarily English at school and Spanish at home with parents. Implications and future research are presented.
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