Benefits for Hispanic Children
While SALSA is designed for all children, it has special benefits for
the Hispanic child. One of the most exciting results of the data
gathered from SALSA in the classroom is a marked increase in
participation by Hispanic children. Over and over again, Hispanic
children who were a minority in their classrooms moved from being
reserved to participatory when SALSA became part of their classroom
experience. Suddenly, the Spanish-speaking children were the "experts,"
helping classmates and even their teachers with vocabulary and
pronunciation. For many Hispanic children, SALSA is an affirming and
Testing and Evaluation
As evidence of how innovative and imaginative SALSA is in introducing
Spanish language and culture, the series was selected for
inclusion in the Iowa/Nebraska Technology Challenge Grant. This
$6.5-million study was funded by the U.S. Department of Education,
and among other elements evaluated the use of technology-driven
foreign language instruction. The study was conducted over
GPB Education and New Media (formerly PeachStar Education Services) recognizes the importance of continuing evaluation. A recently completed study by the Division of Educational Studies, Emory University, reports that children enjoy SALSA whether
they watch it in school, in an after-school program or at home.
Children especially enjoy the opportunity to learn Spanish; the
animated character, Salsa; and the use of familiar stories, humor and
repetition. Educators described SALSA as "superior" to other
educational video programs designed for this age viewing audience.
The Emory study also revealed that SALSA nurtures cultural
appreciation. SALSA portrays Hispanic people and cultures positively
and non-Hispanic children gained appreciation of and respect for
Hispanic people and cultures. Hispanic children gained increased
self-esteem and cultural pride and the series promoted interaction
between non-Hispanic and Hispanic children. One teacher commented that
"[My] students are not familiar with other cultures... SALSA has
been a wonderful multi-cultural experience for the students."
In addition, SALSA helped children acquire core Spanish vocabulary and
reinforced the skills of children with a prior knowledge of Spanish.
Children used Spanish vocabulary in other contexts. The series also
helped Spanish-speaking children learn English and exposed teachers to
core Spanish words and phrases. One child said, "[SALSA] gave Hispanic
families a show for their families to see."