Many different people in all sorts of situations have influenced us throughout our lives. Some of these influences where at times when we cannot remember, and some as recent as five minutes ago. Not only do we not remember all of our influences, but we also do not recognize all of our influences because many factors in our lives affect us subconsciously. In this paper I am relating some of the major influences of my life to some of the ideas expressed by Vygotsky. As I understand it, scaffolding is one of the major ideas. Just like a construction scaffold is a temporary means of support, Vygotsky’s idea is a way of influencing someone, especially a child, by temporarily showing the person the idea and then allowing them to do the work. It is a way to support someone in their learning process but not holding them up.
Throughout my early ages it is really hard to determine who influenced me. Looking at myself as a young adult, I can definitely look at myself as being influenced tremendously by my father. However, when I was really young (until about age 10) my dad was really into the restaurant business as a General Manager of Prime ‘n Wine. Because of this he was never home during the normal hours of a day, so I am not too sure when I gathered this influence. So, I think my next biggest influence during that time, which I can remember well, was my grandfather and Uncle Dave who I would call to come play ball with me at any time of day and they would come (lived very close). Like my father, I also see some of my major characteristics (some of the not too good ones) from my mom’s side of the family (Grandpa and Uncle Dave). These characteristics would be my short temper, my quick irritation, and my punctuality. Even still, it is hard to point these characteristics out as from that side of the family because my father is also short tempered and “quick to lash his tongue”.He can be agitated easily and when he is, there is not fear to state all feelings out loud, toward anyone. Another characteristic I have picked up through the influence of my entire family (both sides) is my knack to criticism. My mom’s side of the family can be considered very racist at times, and prejudice against many “minorities”. There are different reasons, which might not be very justifiable. Though my father’s family isn’t “Racist” they, combined with my mom’s family have put an influence on me to definitely believe in true equal rights, where a law doesn’t state a right for a “minority” group or homosexuals just to ensure it for them. This may not seem like a big influence, but it is one of my strongest beliefs.
My biggest influence on my life right now has been my high school band director, Tom. Tom helped me out a lot over my four difficult years of high school when I went through a couple bad depression times along with difficulties with social life. The main reason I think Tom as my biggest influence is that because of him, and how he taught me, I am now wanting to be a high school band director. He taught me the many useful ways to talk to people, listen to people, deal with people, and most importantly—be a good person.
By the way I understand Vygotsky, Tom definitely was a scaffold for my learning. He never forced me into doing stuff, he never did the things for me, and most importantly he made me think on my own. He gave me the foundation of my listening and communication skills, but then he simply followed me through the learning path, letting me go on my own, but never allowing me to fall to greatly and be hurt tremendously by it. My parents were more hands on, keeping me on tract and almost always pushing me in the right direction. This definitely wasn’t bad because it gave me the base of my personality right now, but it gave me the need for someone to come along and teach me even more, such as Tom.